Need a squeaky-clean superhero to save the day? That isn’t Deadpool. At all. As fans know, the wisecracking, perpetually cursing “merc with a mouth” Deadpool would rather gut his enemies than lock them up.
After the first movie raked in an a whopping $783 million worldwide at the box office, a sequel seemed guaranteed. And, here it is: Deadpool 2 finds the disfigured, red spandex-wearing mercenary, played by Ryan Reynolds, teaming up with X-Force to protect a boy from the time-traveling Cable.
Director David Leitch recently spoke with CBR about building on the previous installment, Deadpool’s potty mouth, giving the mercenary some heart and bringing Cable to the big screen.
CBR: The old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Given the success of 2016’s Deadpool, you could have phoned in a by-the-numbers sequel. What did you want to accomplish with this film?
David Leitch: I was such a huge fan of the original. I was envious of the original. The universe is so fun and irreverent and the type of action that I like to play in. Given the opportunity to experiment in that world, it was hard to say no. I wanted to make sure that we were referential to the original. It’s so successful and a global phenomenon. There are things, in my opinion, that made it successful. It has a heartfelt story. The first movie is like a love story. It has this irreverent comedy, rated-R comedy, that you don’t get to do much.
What we really needed to do was expand it enough that it could live in the summer-scape, the tentpole space. We were going to have a release date between Avengers and Solo. If anything, I knew we had to broaden our horizons with the set pieces and the scope of the film and believe that this world could expand and live as a summer movie.
If the first movie lays the foundation of the character and establishes the universe, how does the sequel build on the previous installment?
You find Deadpool has slightly evolved at the beginning of the movie. He’s in a great relationship with Vanessa. But, then he’s put into another existential crisis. I think the thing about making the plot about Deadpool and what he needs to learn, that’s what makes it so relatable to the audience. If we can find our way into that, we can also wrap the movie in all the trappings that make Deadpool fun.
Deadpool isn’t exactly the most touch-feely antihero. How important was it giving the character some heart and grounding his motivations?
It’s incredibly important. Without grounding it in real heart, he’s going to get real annoying, real fast. There needs to be a soul to the movie. At the end of the day, we all know Deadpool slides like all of us. He’s just trying to do the right thing. He just has a messed-up method of doing it.
Audiences are super-hyped to see X-Force on the big screen. How did you narrow down which characters to bring in?
What we did was look at some interesting powers. Then we looked at ways we could have fun with them and how they related to Deadpool. We had a list. We knew we were going to build out a team. It was really based on powers and the characters and again, how it all relates to Deadpool and how we could have fun with their interactions.
Are they "X-Men Light"… or dark? How would you compare the two teams?
X-Force is X-Men dark. They are a group of morally flexible, more flawed individuals. They may have a different sort of way that they approach problems. At least, that’s how we wanted to take it.
Domino is a key player in the Deadpool mythology. What’s your take on her?
We wanted to have fun with the Domino character. In casting Zazie [Beetz], who after the first reading with Ryan, we knew we found her. She’s undeniably cool and her chemistry with Ryan was amazing. But, we wanted to have fun with the powers and defining luck. So, I put it to the stunt team and choreography team. “How can we expand on this? How can we make it visually entertaining on the big screen and differentiate it from the stuff we have seen in the comics?”
Cable can’t be pegged as a typical adversary. What can you tease about what leads him to tangle with Deadpool?
They both are both clinging to a pivotal moment in time. Again, when you have a time-travel element in a movie, it opens up a lot of questions. It can open up a lot of moral questions, like right versus wrong and nature versus nurture. Their story is wrapped up in that.