Back in April, I wrote an open letter to Zack Snyder:
That piece was shared more than 10k times, and was one of the coolest things I’ve had the privilege of experiencing in my three years as a writer for LRM (Side note, it’s a total bummer that when we switched from Latino-Review to LRM we lost all of our old Disqus comments and Share data!). Since then, I’ve received requests and suggestions for more open letters. Since I don’t want this to be a gimmick, I’ve always responded by saying that I’ll only write these letters when I feel particularly strongly about something.
Such is the case with what’s going on now with Deadpool 2, and it’s something that I began to hit on during this week’s spirited discussion on the LOS FANBOYS Podcast. So here goes nothing…
Dear Ryan Reynolds,
There’ve been a lot of rumors swirling around lately, and since they’re just that- rumors- I’m not going to bring those up in any sort of specific fashion. The one common thread coming out of all of these rumors is that you, Mr. Reynolds, are throwing your weight around when it comes to the sequel for Deadpool.
That’s fine, of course. You were the star of that film; A champion for its very existence; And you served as a producer on it.
However, I’d just like to remind you of one very sobering fact:
Deadpool was the first movie you’ve ever made that was an absolute smash.
Despite having a career that goes back a few decades now, and having earned the love and respect of many a fan, your career has been littered with only moderate hits that were overshadowed by huge embarrassing failures. For every quasi-success story you’ve had, you’ve had films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern, and R.I.P.D. that have demonstrated that you have a hard time recognizing a quality project and investing your time accordingly. Just look at your last wide release before Deadpool. Nobody saw Self/Less. And those that did, didn’t like it.
Deadpool was the first time in your entire career where you opened a movie to widespread critical acclaim and phenomenal box office results. Prior to that, no live-action film with your face or name anywhere on the poster has ever even cracked $190 Million domestically.
Yet now we’re all hearing that Deadpool director Tim Miller has walked off of the sequel because of creative differences with you. This is troubling to me for a few reasons. For starters, as previously mentioned, you don’t exactly have a knack for making good choices. Beyond that, it worries me because you’re breaking apart the nucleus of what made the first film so great.
While many out there love to tout the idea that “Deadpool only got made because Reynolds was fighting for it,” the people who say that are forgetting one simple fact:
You had been pushing for a Deadpool movie for years upon years, but it wasn’t until Miller’s test footage leaked online that the movie actually became a reality.
So it wasn’t your star power that finally got the film a green light. It was Miller’s bravura visual storytelling, combined with your voice acting, that worked fans into enough of a frenzy online that Fox simply had to say “Yes!” Or, as you put it on Conan O’Brien, the test footage “put Fox in a hammerlock death-grip and they greenlit our movie.“
Producer Simon Kinberg has echoed the importance of the test footage in the past, saying it “was a huge part of it. There’s no question but that the response from the Internet was pretty undeniable to the studio. It proved just how fervent the fan base was for Deadpool and that it could ripple out past the core fans and into the general culture, at least on the Internet.”
So let’s put to bed this notion that you are why we got Deadpool.
Miller, though, is now off of the project, and the apparent reason for that is because the two of you have different goals in mind for the sequel. In that sense, you’ve won. Fox has decided to let you flex your muscles a bit and, considering how closely associated you are with the character, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
But by breaking up the core team, and making your opinion more important than the director’s, you’ve painted a big bullseye on your head, Mr. Reynolds.
If Deadpool 2 ends up being disappointing, and if the director that you help hire ends up making something that lacks the magic of the first film, everyone’s going to know exactly who to blame: You.
Working in your favor? You’ve got Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick back in their writer’s chairs, and you’ve got a rabid fan base that is dying to see how you plan on following up your ingenious promotional campaign once there’s a movie to promote.
You have the goodwill of fans in your corner, Ryan, but now you’ve taken the man who made a reality of your one verifiably great idea and you’ve pushed him away.