Throughout this whole hullabaloo surrounding Deadpool 2, where director Tim Miller left the project and has forced Fox and Ryan Reynolds to hunt for a new captain to steer the ship, star Ryan Reynolds has been rather quiet.
Last month, I wrote the actor an open letter here on LRM Online, which you can see right here:
In the letter I referenced the fact that, while Reynolds worked tirelessly to get a Deadpool movie made, it was ultimately the excitement generated by Miller's fantastic test footage that finally got the film made. Reynolds just confirmed that in a chat with Gentleman's Quarterly.
Here's what he said about the impact of Miller's bravura Deadpool test footage, which he says pushed the film over the hump after he'd spent years working on a script with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick:
"We did every iteration of that script we possibly could come up with to please them and allow them to make the movie that looked vaguely like the movie we wanted to make. And in the end, we got to make the exact movie we wanted to make all along. There were drafts of the script that were sort of masked versions where we thought, Okay, if they let us do this, we’ll actually shoot this, and hopefully they won’t notice. And once the test footage leaked on the Internet, that created kind of a groundswell of support, which was the most invaluable tool we had to get the movie made. And the studio responded to that groundswell by saying, 'Okay, here’s the absolute bare minimum amount of money that we will consider giving this character. Go make your movie, fuck off, and let us know when it’s done."
That approach, by the way, is pretty damn cool. It harkens back to an older period in the industry when major studios would basically just sign the checks and let filmmakers make the movies they want to make. Deadpool's relatively modest budget gave Reynolds, Miller, Wernick, and Rheese the sort of freedom that few filmmakers during the comic book movie boom have seen.
Yet Reynolds says that, despite that freedom, it wasn't easy making Deadpool. He described what it was like working with all of these passionate and opinionated people:
"Making the movie was very, very difficult. It was the most passionate group of individuals I’ve ever worked with in my life. And for whatever reason, that mercurial crazy burgoo of people is what made this thing work so well, not just because I had this vision and I saw it this way and it had to be this way. It worked because we all had that feeling. But there were vaguely scary fights in the post-production process that escalated quickly. Luckily, everybody’s grown up and at the end of the day enjoys and loves each other."
It's interesting that Reynolds acknowledges how it was the spirit of impassioned collaboration that made Deadpool so special, since- by most accounts- it's the actor/producer's fault that Miller has exited the sequel. You'd think he would've wanted to keep that nucleus together.
Reynolds also pushed back a little on the perception that he's trying to exert too much control. And yet, by the end of the same comment, he more or less confirms that he's not going to concede to anybody:
"I know when I need to exert control, and I know when I need to let go of it. I’m not gonna go and sit with Tim Miller and say, 'The visual effects of Deadpool need to be done this way.' The man is a visual-effects wizard. But there are character and tone things that I know really well. And I’ve also been with this thing the longest out of anybody, aside from the guys that wrote the comics. Eleven years I’ve been trying to get this Sisyphus rock up the hill, and it kept rolling back on top of me. So I’m gonna be all the fuck over it from the moment it starts to the moment it finishes."
So what's it going to be, Mr. Reynolds? Are you willing to "let go" of certain battles? Or are you going to be "all the fuck over" the movie from start to finish?
He doesn't seem to know.
From these remarks, it's clear how he sees things: He sees himself and the writers as the authorities on the character and tone, and what he wants is a director who'll just tend to the visuals.
On the exit of Deadpool's "visual effect wizard" director Miller, Reynolds concluded with this:
"All I can really add is that I'm sad to see him off the film. Tim's brilliant and nobody worked harder on Deadpool than he did."
It really is a shame that the two of them couldn't get on the same page for Deadpool 2. There are going to be a lot of eyeballs on the sequel, and a ton of pressure on Reynolds and co. to produce something special- especially now that Reynolds has flexed his star power and pushed Miller off of the project.