Following his breakout role in Taika Waititi's 2016 comedy adventure Hunt for the Wilderpeople, New Zealand-born actor Julian Dennison has leaped to international stardom as Russell, aka Firefist, in Deadpool 2. The foul-mouthed, flame-throwing mutant is unlike any superhero movie audiences have seen before, both in temperament and physique. The latter is what excited the 15-year-old for the part, as other chubby kids can now see a hero who looks like them.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Dennison noted how special it was for him to be able to portray the character. "There isn't just one kind of person that can play a superhero," he said. "For me, playing a chubby or fat superhero was so special because I would go and watch these movies with my friends and would never see anyone like me. I am excited to be that for other kids who look like me."
While Dennison and other kids his age can't yet watch Deadpool 2, his performance pushes forward the representation of different body types in the genre. He's able to show that not all superheroes need to be jacked.
Now in theaters, director David Leitch’s Deadpool 2 stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular Deadpool, Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, T.J. Miller as Weasel, Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Stefan Kapičić as Colossus, Zazie Beetz as Domino, Julian Dennison as Russell and Josh Brolin as Cable.