Ryan Reynolds recently joined “Extra” host Mario Lopez via satellite to chat about his upcoming movie about Marvel’s famed motormouthed mercenary, “Deadpool.” The two chatted about the movie, and whether or not it will be PG-13 and “family friendly,” when their interview was interrupted by a surprise guest.
Is ‘Deadpool’ Going to Be PG-13? Ryan Reynolds Weighs In
Q: Tell us a little bit what type of challenges there was for each of you on being part of this movie, what did you face?
J: Well, you know, one big one for us, visual effects wise that we encounter and it was actually pretty exciting to deal with this, we’ve been doing the Colossus/Angel Dust fighting right now…and there was a lot of…you know, you have a 5’8 person fighting a 7’6 person who doesn’t exist, so having a total CG character with real character and having such a discrepancy between their scale took a lot of planning per shot, per move, per fight beat moment. We’re trying to kinda balance how we’re gonna deal with that. And in doing that, be able to have Gina fighting with all the power and intensity that she does oh, so well. So that was a big fun challenges that we had to work out, which we did a lot with Rob, the stunts and everybody else.
Q: So how closely you two had to work together?
J: Too close
R: Very, very close. One of our very first meetings, I’d say the very first day, I met with Tim (who’s standing outside the tent).
J (to Tim): We’re always saying good things about you!
R: Yeah, so the first day I met him and he hated me, but he lost a bet. Seriously, the 1st day I knew that there was a challenge when they showed me some of the pre-viz’s and I said that one of the biggest challenges for us to do is to really make sure that the VFX and the practical action blended well together so it becomes seamless, so we very much initiated contacting each other very early on, way before we actually started shooting. We sat down and did breakdowns like John has said: shot per shot on what was needed practically, what was needed for proxies, digital blends, so having the marriage between VFX and practical stunt execution without that kind of communication wouldn’t be successful.
J: if the execution A doesn’t work in B, the back and forth of how we come up with the stunts and when to blend VFX and when to do it practically, which also gives you cool ideas of how you can take something to a new level differently, because you’re doing these mixes and matches and thinking about them from the very beginning. It’s an awesome opportunity, and a fantastic way to work, for sure…(turns to Rob): even if it was with you.
R: I know! Also, in this day and age with the advances in VFX and utilization of motion capture and how everything is blended in…this days of film making allows you to create so many different things nowadays in whatever genre you wanna work with and John was one of the best I’ve worked with, for sure.
R: We’ll hug it out later…
Q: With the R-rating, does it allow any creative freedom for each of your respective departments?
J: That’s one of the things that really allows you a lot of freedom, marrying the two to that.
R: I would say, as far as a super hero movie, this is the best one I could ever had the chance to work on because the stuff we’re doing you’ll never see in any other that it out there right now, that’s for sure. These guys just keep coming up with crazy, messed up things and we just keep trying to push the envelope in all sorts of directions. We do, we have an incredible freedom to do a lot of things you just not normally get away with.
Q: Can you sort of tease without spoiling some of the ways you are able to embrace the R rating and do cool shit that has never been done? Because no one does R-rated superhero movies, it’s very rare…
R: In my experience, a lot of the action movies nowadays are PG13, so this was a great opportunity, once I read the script, to collaborate with Tim Miller. We really worked together to come up with some action scenes that you wouldn’t normally see on screen primarily because of the amount of brutality. This approach mixed with comedic elements is a completely different approach not only to any other Marvel movie but any other movie that we’ve seen in a while.
J: Our action is more unbuckled as it is in Winter Soldier. And not only that. The comedic bits that we do have…the way that Deadpool is able to interact with everybody else in the film is just awesome and Ryan is really good at it. Just ad-libbing and throwing out new ideas that you can’t help just to sit on the set and laugh because he just throws out new shit all the time, and each one is funnier than the next.
R: It’s a huge think tank. With the advancements in VFX and also Tim’s proficiency with animation and how he sees everything and what you can’t or can do…we’re really pushing the envelope of what you can actually do from practical action to the blends with VFX. I think story wise too, this character deserves that type of approach whereas in other versions of Deadpool I don’t think it really did justice (laugh).
J: Definitely not! (laugh). And this film definitely embraces that problem in a big way. The other thing that we also tried to do was, as opposed to other super hero movies where they take it so far the sense of reality in certain moments where it’s super hero stuff but you don’t necessarily believe that in the world we live in any way but Deadpool try to keep it grounded to a level where we recognize it’s a superhero movie with superhero things but most of the fight stuff these guys come up with and the work they’re doing, it all feels very real and very grounded until we just push it a little further. But there’s no moment where you look and say “well…it’s just a super hero movie”.
R: And that segues into the approach that suspending disbelief in a movie that normally goes well beyond what the physicality that we as human beings can understand; and taking into account reality plus 15%, allows us that type of freedom. If you watch YouTube these days, you’ll see a lot of “fail” and “success” compilations of people doing acrobatic movements. It becomes more feasible and believable that we’re constantly pushing the bounds of what we can physically do as human beings, and as we continue to push that far on a practical note that also begs us to challenge what we can do physically to portray a lot of ideas on what we see and relate to. It really lends ourselves to what is believable on screen.
J: And to be fair, we’re not doing a ton of wirework in the movie. These guys are out there doing the work, hard jumps, hard stunts, big moves…they’re doing it all with no assist at all. It’s incredible what these guys can do.
Q: We know you guys are doing a lot of on location filming, a couple of weeks you were filming on the freeway…
J: That was amazing, the crew on this movie is A+, it’s fantastic. We were able to execute a plan out there in a very short time and to get a sequence that basically plays throughout the entire movie and it’s already turning out to be amazing.
R: The fact that we did it in 10-12 days out there, and on a public transport highway, means that we had to design a plan not only to get our shots (which was a lot) but also to have our entry and exit plan. Because it was an open freeway, after a certain point, the city would only allow us to shoot there for a certain amount of time. So the planning we had for that had to be extremely effective.
J: It’s not sexy stuff, but truthfully, getting on and getting off that viaduct in under 10-15 minutes with the entire film crew is a monumental task that they cranked out everyday, and everybody would hide their gear in the cars we were working in, and there were no crew trucks on set. All the cars that are in the picture, we hid our gear inside of it, underneath it. That’s how we managed to get through it and keep it all out there, get the work done and get outta there quickly. But it was a very cool system that we had to deal with in the time-frame.
Q: Have budgetary constraints forced you guys to think outside the box and find creative solutions to problems that you might be able to throw money at otherwise?
J: There very few movies out there where money is not your problem. We’re definitely NOT a Marvel Captain America, Avengers or any of that stuff. We cost a third of the shield (laughs). Yeah, we definitely have that, but that’s part of what helped us to stay more in a grounded state and really helped us guided to keep that stuff more in the real world and not try something so fantastic as
A: we can afford it and B: by the end of the day, it makes it all play a lot better.
R: Creativity is spawned from restraint. If you have all the luxury of spending as much money as you can, yeah, you can throw money at something but that doesn’t necessarily give you the best product either. So working with what you have to make the best that you can do, and I think we have a lot of creative people on this movie, so it’s amazing.
J: Again, going back to what Robert was saying earlier, we’re not giving the lip service. The team we have is an awesome team and everybody is so in to working together, it makes it fun to figure out how we’re gonna do the work and find out what makes it possible. Because if you don’t have that level of communication and interaction of all the different groups putting it together it just doesn’t work.
Q: How involved is Ryan Reynolds in doing his own stunts?
R: He’s been involved in quite a bit. We used his own physicality to what he can do. Obviously we have doubles. But this is the type of movie that allows us to use abilities of highly skilled acrobats, which Ryan is not. However, the way he participates in the action outside of his own physicality, is with his ideas. Because he participates in the movement, we get the comedic elements out of them as well. But you’ll see in the movie, he also has an incredible fight scene that was very intense that you wouldn’t expect from this movie. He definitely did train with us and he did execute moves that are within his physicality and skill set… But the luxury of having a mask allows us the freedom to put him in and have him “not” be in, so hopefully we created a seamless transition between when you see Deadpool as Ryan and Deadpool as double and you won’t be able tell the difference. That’s our goal. He’s a physical guy for sure, and he’s involved in every bit of the action as much as we can have him do safely. And his personality in general, like “Let’s go for it, let’s do it!”, he really likes to be involved, he wants to be a part of what’s going on, not only in the actual visual work, but he’s involved when we talk about making cool moves.
Q: How many VFX shots are you planning for right now?
J: How many are we planning or how many we think we’ll have??! (Laughs) Both…We planned for 700+ and we’ll probably be something between 800 or 900 is my guess. Which in today’s day and age is a pretty manageable number…and VFX is a funny thing, there’s plenty of shots that hopefully will never be noted as a VFX shot. But that has an effect on numbers. But that’s generally what we are planning around. For me, in doing VFX my goal as a supervisor is I’ll be happy if you never noticed I’ve worked on the show at all.
R: I’d be happy with that…
J: We worked really hard on our side to A: get what we can in camera, to keep everything in camera and on set. Then, when we do follow it up with our metal man (Colossus), between what we capture and what we’re shooting you know…we have a guy that is 6’11″guy that we make him wear platform shoes to get him up to 7’6″. He’s huge.
R: Manute Bol…
J: Any bigger and you can’t even shoot the guy! We were like: Let’s embrace it, we have shots shooting everybody else and you just see him from the chest down. We’re trying to do a lot of things on set to people interact with them like we have the guy and we’ll put him in there for all our shots, but is very important to me that everything is captured in camera.
Q: Is there a particular sequence that you guys are most excited about to finally see it on the big screen? J: The end of the movie has some pretty amazing stuff. We’ve been dialing it in for a while. We can’t talk about this but is a great final fight between our hero and our villain and how that all culminates and we’re trying to put just enough in the end of it to have a big superhero end to it, but at the same time, budgetary wise not to go so over the top like crashing big spaceships down into a city and exploding buildings.
R: What are you referring to…? (laughs)
J: But there’s so many bits.
R: Yeah, there’s so many scenes, it’s hard to pick one…the freeway sequence is amazing, the final fight and the Colossus vs. Angel Dust…
J: The firefight scene is gonna be amazing. And there’s so many elements in this movie that is very hard to pick just one. I mean…we all got into this business because we’re passionate people with what we do, so to pick a single one I find very hard to do because each and everyone of them have a different challenge. The fire one was a huge, huge challenge…more than actually can appear to be.
R: There’s a bunch of scenes that make everything complicated…
J: Which is cool, because they’re great opportunities and problem solving chances…and the end result is gonna be awesome. And likewise for all of our stuff. And one that you can say…”slice and dice”, is not a feature fight in the movie but the stuff that those guys put in have so much personality and fun moves to it, that’s where definitely anything other than R-rated is outta the picture.
R: Yeah, this is the time for all the Deadpool fans. You’ll always have the hero/villain fight in the end, but the moments when you see Deadpool in his full glory…that is definitely one of them.
J: I’ve never seen a film that embrace that side of the movie so much.
Q: What’s it been like working with Tim since this is his first feature?
JK: He’s a sweetheart. He’s wonderful. Really sincere guy, I’ve worked with a lot of different directors. He loves this character, he loves X-Men, he’s a comic book guru. He owns a company called Blur Studios and I went there, that was my first meeting with him, and he’s got this book shelf that’s probably three meters high and maybe five meters wide and it’s got thousands and thousands of comics, that just sort of sits at this warehouse loft place. He loves the story, he loves the world of X-Men. He’s one of their biggest fans in terms of filmmakers. I think you’ll get a lot more out of this movie because he is who he is, and I think it will be true to the universe of who Deadpool is. Good guy though.
Q: We see that Colossus is going to be added in later. Can you talk about the characters surrounding Deadpool in the movie?
JK: I’ll let Tim talk about that, I don’t want to take all the thunder just because I’m first. I can talk about … What Can I talk about? I can talk about Rhett and Paul, they’ve been on the show for five, six years. You’ll meet them. You’ll love them. They also did Zombieland. Great guys, very involved, they’re on set daily. Ryan is very involved too, he’s one of our producers as well. So you’ve got a group of filmmakers that are here to make a really great movie and we’ve all sacrificed a little bit here and there in order to put it on the screen, which is the best way to make movies, rather than taking it away from the screen. I’m very happy to be a part of it, I had other shows and this one is the most interesting. I think it has the biggest potential for a surprise for everybody, I think people will see this and really get excited that it’s not the normal comic book hero sort of movie.
Q: You mentioned second unit, how much is second unit shooting throughout the movie and who is your second unit director?
JK: Rob Alonzo is our second unit director and he’s got 20 days of second unit, we start those tomorrow actually. It’s starting or continuing some of the action fights we have, a lot of action in the show. So we’ve pretty much got him non-stop, you try to make a second unit group work consecutively. We’ll start or finish in first unit the action sequences and they’ll come in and either add to it or start off the choreography and we’ll come in and finish it with our actors. There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of action.
Q: What is the most complex scene to pull off for you?
JK: I think anything you have to do with a 3D character, I’m learning a lot about that because I haven’t done a lot of those kind of movies. With Tim and our VFX guys, I think you just see how much time it takes to shoot fights when you have one person real and the other person is in the virtual world. Gina Carano is sort of fighting herself and then fighting a stand in and then fighting some pads. It’s an interesting process. You shoot it again and again to make it look great but assembly wise it looks wonderful.