The Untold Truth Of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool
"Life is an endless series of train wrecks with only brief commercial-like breaks of happiness." So says Deadpool, and the release of the movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth was this exact fleeting moment of happiness, giving us a brief respite from all the other irregularities that we experience on this gigantic floating rock known as Earth. Finally, the world provided us with an honest superhero: one who wasn't afraid to point out the silliness and hilarity of the comic book movie genre as a whole. He might have looked like a budget Spider-Man, but he was a real hero in all our hearts.
The story of how the "Deadpool" movie made its way onto the big screen is much like Wade Wilson himself: funny, long-winded, and as frustrating as trying to use a fork around Magneto. It's a tale that made people cry, smile, and even threaten to join the DC Universe out of anger. So grab a chimichanga, kiss the Hugh Jackman poster on the wall, and join us as we uncover the truth about Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool.
Ryan Reynolds isn't like Deadpool in real life
For many people, it's hard to separate Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool. The two are so intrinsically linked that even a majority of fans admitted in a Reddit poll that it's his voice they hear when reading the comic books. It also probably helps that Reynolds has made a career out of playing fast-talking and quirky comedic characters who could easily be described as Deadpool-esque.
While Reynolds is undoubtedly funny like Deadpool, that's really where the comparison ends, as his co-star Brianna Hildebrand told E! News. "There's a conception that he's a lot like Deadpool, but he's just really funny and a really big sweetheart, actually," Hildebrand said. "My favorite times on set were when he brought his kids because he became 'mushy dad,' and it was really cute." In all likelihood, if Reynolds walked around on set and ran off his mouth like his screen counterpart, chances are good that someone would have socked him by now.
David S. Goyer's Deadpool?
It's no secret that "Deadpool" was in production hell for the longest time. While Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had been working on the script since 2010 (via Variety), the timeline goes further back than that. In fact, it goes all the way back to the aftermath of "Blade: Trinity." While that production was marred with bizarre stories and incidents, it had one bright spot in that it brought writer-director David S. Goyer and Ryan Reynolds together.
"I want to do something else with Ryan Reynolds because I really loved working with him," Goyer revealed at a roundtable interview (via IGN), adding that both New Line Cinema (which backed the "Blade" movies at the time) and Marvel wanted to work with Reynolds as well because "there aren't a lot of actors anymore that can do credible action and be funny and that are also good actors." The film in question was "Deadpool," which Goyer was set to co-write and direct. However, the movie wouldn't have been allowed to connect with Weapon X or Wolverine in any way because the X-Men belonged to 20th Century Fox at the time. Turns out the rights issues ended up becoming a bigger stumbling block than initially expected, all but scrapping Goyer's plans. Eventually, Fox brought Reynolds into the fold as Deadpool, casting him in 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
One of the best lines was improvised
There are numerous iconic lines scattered throughout "Deadpool" — it's like a laugh-a-minute extravaganza where everything is really funny. Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick received praise for their outstanding script, but it was a collaborative effort as the actors were encouraged to improvise and come up with their own lines, as revealed in a cast interview for DesdeHollywood.
Ryan Reynolds confessed that he was happy to see some of his improv make the final cut, especially this line: "It's funny there's only two of you, it's like the studio couldn't afford another X-Man," which was rather apt as Deadpool arrived at an empty-looking X-Mansion. In a separate interview with Yahoo, Reese revealed that everyone cracked up laughing when they heard it for the first time, and even former 20th Century Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos declared it his favorite line from the film. Well, at least Fox had the ability to laugh at its own cheapness, right?
Ryan Reynolds came up with all of Deadpool's lines in one movie
Ryan Reynolds' first rodeo as Deadpool didn't go according to plan. While "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" promised to dive deep into Logan's past, including his history with Wade Wilson, the results were mixed, to say the least. For some reason, the Merc with a Mouth was turned into Weapon XI — supposedly, one of the most powerful mutants around. Unfortunately, he looked more like Baraka from "Mortal Kombat" than everyone's favorite chimichanga aficionado.
Reynolds did what he could with what he was given, and most fans agreed he was an excellent choice to play Deadpool. The actor revealed that he actually shaped the character in a more significant way than expected. "It was during a writers' strike, so all my dialogue in that movie I wrote," Reynolds told GQ. "I mean, in the stage directions it just said, 'Deadpool shows up, talks really fast, and makes a lot of jokes.'" That said, Reynolds knew that there would be fan backlash to how Deadpool turned out at the end of the film and warned the studio about it. Alas, his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Tim Miller left Deadpool because of Ryan Reynolds
Not only was "Deadpool" a triumph for Ryan Reynolds, but it was also a major success for director Tim Miller. While he had been widely recognized for his outstanding work in special effects and animation, the 2016 superhero movie marked his live-action directorial debut — and what an introduction it was! As a result, fans were excited to see what Miller and Reynolds would cook up for the sequel, with a bigger budget and greater financial support.
Unfortunately, the dream team didn't return for the sequel as Miller made way for David Leitch to take over directorial duties. In a later interview with KCRW (via Men's Health), Miller confirmed what everyone had long suspected: there was a fallout between him and Reynolds. "It became clear that Ryan wanted to be in control of the franchise," Miller said. "You can work that way as a director, quite successfully, but I can't. I don't mind having a debate, but if I can't win, I don't want to play. And I don't think you can negotiate every creative decision, there's too many to make." Miller seems to have a knack for attracting control freaks, as he experienced the exact same thing with James Cameron when he directed "Terminator: Dark Fate."
Ryan Reynolds chose Green Lantern out of spite
Let's face it: Ryan Reynolds is no stranger to comic book franchises. Whether it was a guest appearance on "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" or starring as Nick Walker in "R.I.P.D.," it's clear that the Canadian actor has a passion for these properties. However, there's no doubt that Deadpool is the role that's the closest to his heart, especially since it took so long to get it right.
The back and forth between Reynolds and the studio throughout the 2000s and 2010s is a story that's worthy of its own documentary, as the actor refused to give up on the film being made. There was a point, though, when he decided to give them an ultimatum, as he revealed to GQ. "Right before I took 'Green Lantern,'" Reynolds said, "I wrote a letter to my executive at Fox saying, 'I'm gonna take this movie "Green Lantern" if you guys aren't gonna make "Deadpool." I'm at the altar, about to say "I do" to somebody else, but tell me you want to spend the rest of your life with me, because I want to spend the rest of my life with you.'"
The response he received wasn't positive, stating that there was no intention to make the film. So he went on to make "Green Lantern." Fortunately, that movie bombed, so there was a second chance for Reynolds and Fox to renew their vows.
How Ryan Reynolds convinced Brad Pitt to join Deadpool 2
"Deadpool 2" had its fair share of surprises, such as Alan Tudyk and Matt Damon as two self-referential hillbillies, but Brad Pitt's blink-and-you-miss-it appearance as Vanisher was all that everyone was talking about afterwards. Pitt had actually been in consideration to play Cable before he was forced to step aside due to scheduling conflicts (via ComicBook.com). The question is, how did the production convince the Academy Award-winning actor to make a cameo as one of the most forgettable comic book characters in the world?
That was all down to Ryan Reynolds, as he explained to Entertainment Tonight: "I was told all he wants is a cup of coffee and I said, 'Like a franchise or just one individual cup of coffee?' And I was told one individual cup of coffee, which was really his way of saying, 'I'm doing it for nothing.' And it was a total solid and the nicest thing anyone could do." Maybe Reynolds will return the favor and appear in the inevitable "Ocean's Fourteen" in exchange for a mochaccino.
Who leaked the Deadpool test footage?
Despite the rumors of "Deadpool" being in active development for years, the tipping point for fans was when test footage leaked in July 2014 (via Den of Geek). Suddenly, the awful memories of the character in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" were dead and buried, as the nearly two minutes of footage perfectly encapsulated everything that the wacky merc was all about in the comics. While there might have been a few calls for the "Deadpool" movie to be made before, the demand became rapturous after the footage dropped online.
It was never revealed who actually leaked the footage, nor is anyone ever likely to come forward and admit it either. However, Ryan Reynolds gave an indication of who it could be to DesdeHollywood. "There has been a lot of speculation about that," he said, "and all I can say is that it was one of the four of us: Me, Rhett Reese, Tim Miller or Paul Wernick. Somebody did it." Naturally, we all have a good idea of who the culprit was here, but don't worry, we won't tell.
Ryan Reynolds cried when he saw the suit
Once Fox decided to give the thumbs-up to a "Deadpool" movie, the pressure was on, since the budget was tight and the deadlines even tighter. As Ryan Reynolds revealed to Yahoo, there were 10 months in between the first day of filming and the actual release date. With no time to lose, Reynolds and Tim Miller knew they didn't have long to get the suit right.
The nerves dissipated when they finally saw the suit for the first time. "[Costume designer Russ Shinkle] had it there in this perfect light, sitting on a mannequin," Reynolds explained. "And we cried. We just wept." Miller added that when he saw Reynolds in costume, he instantly knew that everything was going to work — and he bawled again. Truth be told, anything would have been better than the MMA fighter-meets-Drax look from "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
The epic Deadpool prank
The leaked test footage indicated something important: "Deadpool" needed to be rated R, no matter what. The dirty jokes and action wouldn't hit as hard if they needed to be toned down to appeal to a wider audience and sell Happy Meals. The good news was Ryan Reynolds agreed. While he knew it was a challenge to convince Fox to release a mature comic book movie, he understood and accepted the assignment.
On April 1, 2015, Reynolds revealed on his Twitter account that the rating was being pushed back to PG-13 (via Digital Spy). Of course, Film Twitter reacted in a civil and compassionate manner upon receiving the news, never once tweeting out obscenities or outrage. Reynolds had the last laugh, though, as it was revealed that this was an elaborate prank for April Fools' Day, and "Deadpool" would still be rated R. Honestly, we should just all log off social media on April 1.
Paying writers to be on set
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were on the "Deadpool" journey with Ryan Reynolds for six years. How many other writers would stick around on a project that had more false starts than Vince McMahon's XFL? Their patience was eventually rewarded, with the film entering production and their game-changing script being the foundation for the next era of superhero movies.
Since Reese and Wernick had been part of the team from the get-go, Reynolds wanted them on set to provide their input and see the fruits of their labor. However, Fox didn't want to cough up the extra cash to have them present, so Reynolds paid out of his own pocket to have his collaborators around, as revealed by Reese on Geeking Out (via NME). "We were on set every day," he said. Considering the $782.6 million that "Deadpool" made at the box office (via Box Office Mojo), the studio should have certainly reimbursed the star for his expenses later on.
Training with a weapons expert
As a mercenary, Mr. Pool is an expert at all sorts of combat — whether it be military grade or hand-to-hand shenanigans. While "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was like a Christmas stocking stuffed with coal, the sight of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool handling his katana swords better than Leonardo against the Foot Clan showcased his absolute commitment to the cause. As the actor revealed to The National Post, he spent time with a katana expert on both the "X-Men" film and "Deadpool," sharpening up his skills.
"I remember my first day, the guy who was training me looked a lot like a guy who was going to make a necklace out of my teeth," Reynolds said. "That was sort of the gold standard that was set from early on." The training paid off as some of the best action scenes in the "Deadpool" films were a cut above the rest in the genre, mostly thanks to Wade Wilson's shiny blades.
Wade Wilson's makeup made someone cry
"You look like an avocado had sex with an older, more disgusting avocado." Weasel's insult was incredibly cruel (and visceral), but there's no denying that Wade Wilson's mug caught everyone off guard the first time they witnessed it. Makeup artist Bill Corso deserves all the credit in the world for successfully transforming Ryan Reynolds' face in such a convincing and unsettling way, since he even managed to frighten the actor's young daughter.
"It just made my daughter cry every time she came to the set," Reynolds told Yahoo. He added that the makeup process would take up to four hours every day and that the mask could get "itchy and sweaty." However, the discomfort was ultimately worth it — not just for the results on screen, but also because he could peel off his face at the end of the day and chuck it at the crew for a laugh. Um, has anyone told Leatherface that his dream job is waiting for him?
Ryan Reynolds kept the Deadpool suit
Isn't it weird that Ryan Reynolds always seems to have the red-and-black Deadpool suit nearby whenever he needs it? There's a reason for it. As Reynolds told Yahoo: "There was no way I was not gonna leave with a suit." It might sound like Reynolds employed a five-finger discount here, but the reality is a lot less juicier.
Reynolds was a producer on the "Deadpool" film, so technically he does have some claims on owning the suit. Perhaps more importantly, he's involved in a bulk of the franchise's marketing, which often requires him to be dressed in character, so it makes logical sense for him to have the suit in his closet. Fox didn't seem to have a problem with it either, since he practically became a brand ambassador in exchange for a single suit. Considering the "Deadpool" movies have made over a billion dollars for the studio, it was always unlikely that the execs would complain too much about it.
A terminally ill fan was the first person to see Deadpool
As much as Deadpool is all about the laughs and action on screen, Ryan Reynolds has used his influence as the comic book character to make a difference in other people's lives. He meets many children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and leaves a lasting impact. As it turns out, the children do the same to Reynolds as well.
Back in 2016, Reynolds posted an emotional tribute to Connor McGarth after the 13-year-old died of cancer (via E! News). The two had met through the foundation after McGarth made a wish to be the first person to see "Deadpool," and Reynolds and his team obliged. "I traveled up to Edmonton, Alberta, to surprise him with a rough cut of the film," Reynolds said. He added that even though the film wasn't complete, he "never felt luckier to get to be Wade Wilson" as he saw McGarth's joy at watching the movie.
Ryan Reynolds has creative control and casting approval
Considering how much time and energy Ryan Reynolds has invested in the "Deadpool" franchise, it's clear that many people view him as the brains behind the operation. That said, he's still working with a studio, and everyone knows that the person who signs the checks is the one who gets the final say. Well, about that ...
As per The Wrap, a new deal was negotiated between Reynolds and Fox after the success of the first film. Not only did the actor receive a sizable pay bump to return for the sequel, but he also secured creative control and casting approval. Undoubtedly, this also explains why the rift between him and Tim Miller was only going to go one way in the end. It'll be interesting to see if this deal is still in effect with Deadpool under Marvel Studios now, especially since it's no secret that Kevin Feige is the big cheese around those parts.
The Fantastic Four character in Deadpool 2
Remember, before the Disney-Fox merger, it wasn't easy for filmmakers to include whichever Marvel characters they wanted in their movies. In fact, Sony's Spider-Man Universe still throws confusing curveballs every so often as well. Deadpool had the luxury of being part of the X-Men side of things, so it wasn't too difficult to ask the powers-that-be for a few Children of the Atom to show up in his movies. But there was another Marvel franchise that Fox had on the books at the time: Fantastic Four.
Speaking to the Fourth Wall podcast (via The Playlist), Tim Miller discussed his original plan to include a rocky member of the Fantastic Four in "Deadpool 2." Instead of Colossus slugging it out with Juggernaut in the third act, the idea was to have Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, show up for clobberin' time. Reportedly, Fox had given him permission to do so as well. The only question is, would it have been Jamie Bell's Thing, Michael Chiklis' version, or a new adaptation of the character?
Blake Lively's input in Deadpool
The truth about Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively's relationship is that it isn't only reserved to friendly marital banter on social media. According to Reynolds, his wife is "really talented" and has played an active role in turning his movies into critical and financial juggernauts behind the scenes.
"She's helped me so much in 'Deadpool,' all kinds of movies that have been big successes," he revealed in a SiriusXM Town Hall (via People). "She's always got a lot of bricks in that wall." Well, since "Deadpool 3" is now officially set for liftoff with Shawn Levy announced as the director, how about giving the "Gossip Girl" actress a producer or writer credit as well? Better yet, why not introduce Lively as a character in the new film? Surely, there's room for more X-Men mutants in the X-Mansion, especially since everything is under the Marvel Cinematic Universe umbrella now and the "House of Mouse" has deep pockets. Emma Frost, anyone?
Ryan Reynolds' dual role was a secret
When "Deadpool 2" was released, many fans wondered who played the role of Juggernaut, since it certainly wasn't Vinnie Jones under the metal helmet. The CGI and voice gave nothing away, but it was eventually revealed that Ryan Reynolds pulled double duty on set and lent his talents to bring Charles Xavier's half-brother, Cain Marko, to life in this wacky film.
While it was a pleasant reveal for fans, it was also equally surprising for his castmates. Stefan Kapičić, the actor who voiced Colossus, told The Hollywood Reporter that he had no idea Reynolds was playing another character in the film. "Ryan is always there when I'm working on Colossus, helping me with the lines and giving me ideas," he said. "Then I saw Ryan getting into the CGI costume, and I'm like, 'What's going on, man? Did I miss something?'" One day, the world will witness an entire film where all the characters are played by Reynolds — like "Multiplicity" but it'll be called "Ryanplicity."
The first Deadpool-Disney pitch didn't go according to plan
As soon as Disney bought Fox, fans wondered when Deadpool would make his arrival in the "House of Mouse." Many expected him to show up in "Avengers: Endgame" or another Marvel show on Disney+, but his first crossover with the MCU (well, technically) was in a hilarious skit with Korg where they reacted to the "Free Guy" trailer. However, Ryan Reynolds had a different pitch the first time around, suggesting a much darker trajectory for the Merc with the Mouth.
"I wanted to do a short film of Deadpool interrogating the hunter who killed Bambi's mom," Reynolds revealed to IGN. "But the whole gist of it is that Deadpool is actually just a huge fan." For obvious reasons, the Disney execs turned their noses up at the idea, since it would have made Deadpool a bigger villain than Thanos in an instant. So Reynolds went back to the drawing board and pitched them the Deadpool-Korg video, which was much better received by the suits.
The Bea Arthur donation
In the comics, Deadpool loves Bea Arthur — and quite frankly, who doesn't adore the late comedy legend? "The Golden Girls" deserves just as much praise and fanfare as the likes of "Friends" and "Seinfeld," as the show remains timeless and one of the most rewatchable sitcoms of all time. The "Deadpool" film decided to respect canon and paid tribute to Wade Wilson's obsession with Arthur by having him wear a shirt adorned with her photo.
According to GQ, Ryan Reynolds paid $20,000 to use Arthur's likeness in the film. While the actor didn't confirm the amount, he said: "It was more a question of talking to the estate and the family personally and just reaching out and saying, 'We're gonna take care of this.' And there was a little donation made to her charity." It was a nice touch, because it's clear to see that Deadpool's razor-sharp wit was directly influenced by Dorothy Zbornak's sarcastic charm.
Ryan Reynolds wanted Céline Dion for Deadpool 2
Look, was anyone surprised when Céline Dion found her way onto the "Deadpool 2" soundtrack and the Merc with the Mouth performed a dance routine in the "Ashes" music video? While it might sound like a ridiculous and unexpected pairing on paper, it's a collaboration that makes all the sense in the world in Wade Wilson's strange mind.
Director David Leitch told Entertainment Weekly that he and music supervisor John Houlihan found the track "Ashes" for the movie but needed someone to record it. When he brought up the ballad to Ryan Reynolds, he only had one person in mind: a fellow Canadian. "And he's like, 'You know who we should get? We should approach Céline. She's an incredible singer, she's amazing, but she's also someone who works in the sort of subversive "Deadpool" universe,'" Leitch said. Fortunately, when the team approached Dion, she accepted since her son was a Deadpool fan and she loved the song.
The anxiety of playing Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds has been open about his struggles with anxiety, stating that it's something he's suffered with his whole life (via Variety). While making "Deadpool" was a passion project for him, it also took its toll on him mentally. "I never, ever slept," he said. "Or I was sleeping at a perfect right angle — just sitting straight, constantly working at the same time." Reynolds admitted that he put immense pressure on himself because of the fans. They'd waited so long for a movie that he felt obligated to deliver something that exceeded all their expectations.
In a separate interview with GQ, Reynolds said that he experienced "shakes" and "a little bit of a nervous breakdown" after "Deadpool" was finished. When he booked appointments to see doctors, they all told him that he was suffering from anxiety. Ultimately, Reynolds credited his wife for helping him get through it and being by his side.