LOS ANGELES — After being stuck in development for over a decade, "Deadpool" broke box-office records and shattered preconceived notions about what an R-rated superhero movie could do when it debuted in February 2016. Now the foul-mouthed mercenary is back with a sequel that's gearing up to play in the big leagues — the summer movie season, and it looks like it with be another hit for 20th Century Fox. Industry analysts say the film is tracking to earn at least $130 million in its first weekend in North American theaters.
Star and producer Ryan Reynolds spoke to The Associated Press about what to expect when Deadpool returns to theaters on Friday.
Remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: The first is so wild and jam-packed with everything. Did you hold anything back or save anything thinking that there would be a sequel?
REYNOLDS: Oh my God we put everything out there. We had no pie in the sky notions that we would be guaranteed a sequel after this. But (screenwriters) Rhett (Reese) and Paul (Wernick) and I had been working together for, God, coming on eight years now. We worked on the first script together for years before it even got close to being greenlit and while shooting the first film, we were already coming up with a story for the second one. But at the time it wasn't something that was a reality; it was just something we loved. I think that at the end of the day the driving force behind "Deadpool" is that there are a great number of people who absolutely love every aspect of it. I think that's what translates to the audience. There is an authentic joy and love for what we're doing and we have so much fun doing it and you can't help but feel that through the screen.
AP: Is there anything that is off-limits for Deadpool?
REYNOLDS: Not really. To make a great rated-R comic book film you've definitely got to push the boundaries a little bit and we leave that to the editing process to figure out what we want to keep and what we don't. Tone is so critical in these movies and at the heart of "Deadpool" is always a very emotional story. You have to circle around that before you think about comedy bits or trying to incite reactions or that sort of thing. So "Deadpool 2" is really, at its core, about how one act of kindness can change the world. It's sort of a nature versus nurture story at its heart and that's critical to the film as a whole. Then you can model which sort of comedic set pieces you want around that. But at the end of the day it's got to be an engrossing story and that's the thing that we were most focused on from the get-go.
AP: That's very sweet and sincere! And here I was thinking the most sincere thing about "Deadpool" was the Wikipedia page. Everything else from the logline to the marketing leans into the irreverence of it.
REYNOLDS: Deadpool at his heart is sort of like a child. Like, yeah he can be vulgar, yeah he can act out but at its core there is a certain innocence to other aspects of him and I think that is something that's really important with the character. He sees the world through the prism of a child's eyes sometimes and that's also why he's tempestuous and obnoxious and misguided so much of the time too.
AP: How are you feeling leading up to the release? With a summer date, it's playing in the big leagues now.
REYNOLDS: For us that's been a dream come true as well. Having "Deadpool" positioned as a summer movie gives us a little more license to go a bit bigger, but at the same time our budgets are not comparable to some of the big Marvel movies. But necessity is the mother of invention so the less we have, the more creative we have to get. It has all the same principles and tenets as the first film which Dave Leitch loved and really wanted to honor, but at the same time there's a different flavor to it as well because Dave likes to keep major action in the lens as opposed to relying more on CGI.
It still has this kind of down and dirty feel, which I love, but it also has so many elements that I think are going to blow audiences away and surprise people. I'm super excited about it. Right now we're just focusing in on the marketing campaign which for "Deadpool" is always to a certain degree an extension of the film itself. We get to have as much fun with the marketing as we do with the actual shooting of the movie. I'm excited to put out some of the things we have ready to go in terms of the marketing.
AP: From the studio behind "27 Dresses," right ?
REYNOLDS: Absolutely, yeah. If you loved "Alvin and the Chipmunks," you are going to love "Deadpool."
AP: Do you feel like this has to do better than the first to be a success?
REYNOLDS: I don't really think about it like that. I'd be naive to not pay attention to some of the biz part of the showbiz but I know that the movie is made at a budget that makes it pretty reasonable for all parties involved and when we keep the budget down, the studio gives us a lot more play and leeway to do the things that we want to do and that's always great. So, no, I don't think it has to do better, necessarily.