On the set, what Tim Miller calls the “High Noon” shot is taking place. Deadpool stands along with fellow mutants Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead on one side of the muddy dump while prime henchwoman Angel Dust stands across from them, a dozen armed guards at her side.
“Nuhuh girlfriend,” Reynolds shouts at Gina Carano’s villain. “You’re too much for me, that’s why I brought him.”
Andre Tricoteux stands at 6’8” by himself, but with the addition of platform shoes his version of Colossus will tower over everyone else as 8 feet tall, after visual effects are all said and done.
“Colossus is kind of our gateway drug into the rest of the X-Men universe,” Miller says. “We have some nice scenes with him. I mean, some big scenes with him… I was so afraid they were gonna make us cut and change that to someone that wasn’t in the other X-Men films, but I’m so glad they didn’t because he’s the perfect straight man.”
Reese went on to tell us about the process of getting a heavy hitter, pun intended, like Colossus for the film.
“A lot of the bigger characters are spoken for, so when you go to get someone like Colossus, there are a lot of approvals and it has to fit into the larger X-Men universe and what the X-Men franchise is planning on doing with Colossus and who are you gonna cast and all those issues come in to play; it becomes a little bit of a quagmire sometimes.”
The giant in motion capture pajamas lumbers over and says something to Carano’s Angel Dust, raring back his fist to strike, but she slugs him in the mouth and (in the final product) sends him flying. Reynolds ducks, despite the metal giant not actually careening toward him on the day.
“I mean, that’s why I brought her,” the Merc says following the brief encounter.
The her is Brianna Hildebrand’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a character that had just one comic book appearance in New X-Men #115 before she was unceremoniously killed.
“She is so minor that very few people know her,” Reese says. “Which is actually good for us. Usually you have the opposite problem where people know them too well, so whenever you do anything even slightly off book everybody jumps down your throat. But with Negasonic, nobody knew who she was anyway so we got to map an entire personality onto her, new powers onto her, kind of anything we wanted which was nice.”
Hildebrand rocks a shaved head for the role with a septum piercing among dozens of other studs and rings across her ears. The young actress trained in both Muay Thai and boxing for a few months before shooting, and listens to her character’s namesake, the Monster Magnet song “Negasonic Teenage Warhead,” before shooting every morning.
“She is a 15-year-old psychic,” Hildebrand tells us about the film’s version of the character. “She reads the future, and she also is her own personal cannonball, she’s a warhead. So she runs at things and explodes at them, and she’s Colossus’ sidekick. Her relationship with Deadpool is friendly, it’s like a brother-sister relationship. They don’t really get along, but they’re on the same side.”
Though we only see the aftermath, the scene continues with Hildebrand running toward Angel Dust and doing her trademark explosion, sending the former MMA fighter crashing into a shipping container.
“My character is very strong and silent,” Carano says. “So I wanted to at least be a presence and I had to put some contacts in and…I just wanted to have fun with a different look.”
A crew member shoots a dollop of blood up Carano’s nose as she prepares for the take to begin. Miller calls “Action” and she wipes the blood from her nose, stepping away from the crater she made in the giant metal box and ordering her soldiers to open fire, which they do.
Carano’s Angel Dust is the right hand man of Ajax, the character that supervises Wade Wilson’s transition into Deadpool and oversees what will be his origin story. Actor Ed Skrein, a self-described “massive comic book geek” takes on the role for the film, which he calls “a revenge story from both sides.” Skrein’s enthusiasm for the material is palpable as he speaks with us about his role.
“When actors sit around on set they talk about their dream jobs, and you ask any of the actors I’ve worked with previously and what they’ll say is-my answer would always be comics. I want to be in this universe.”
Like many of the other characters in the film, Ajax has few comic book appearances to go off of and his most well known story arc features a bizarre outfit for the antagonist which doesn’t make it into the film.
“In the comics, he actually has two outfits,” Skrein explains. “Because he almost has two incarnations. He begins as Francis, as the attendant, and he wears the black suit with the big “A”, which is also quite ‘90s. And then he comes back as Ajax and our outfit is pretty nondescript. It’s not the big crazy shiny outfit. It’s rooted in special forces, kind of SWAT, streamline, functional, nondescript and-there’s no glitz, no glamour, there’s no jazz to it. The character of Ajax is very uncompromising in his outlook and attitude and that’s reflected in his fashion. If you can even call it fashion.”
Though not a mutant, comedian T.J Miller is set to appear in the film as Weasal, a helping hand to Deadpool that hooks him up with the latest in weapons for all of his killing needs.
“T.J. Miller’s got some lines that will kill you, I’m telling you now,” Tim Miller says, going on to call him “a wild stallion of comedy.”
“He had the gift that kept on giving,” Reynolds said. “Tim had to reign him in, ‘Just say the f***ing line on the page, man. Once. Just say it once on the page.’”
Another character set to make his cinematic debut is none other than Deadpool’s friend “Bob,” an agent of HYDRA in the source material who only first appeared a few years ago. We watch a scene later that day where Deadpool and a fully dressed soldier trade blows only to realize that they know each other.
“Bob?” Reynolds inquires, holding his token swords in both hands.
“Wade?” Bob replies.
“I haven’t seen you since….”
“Jacksonville,” they both say. “T.G.I. Fridays!”
The fight continues as the conversation progresses.
“How are the kids? 3 and 6 now, right? That’s a great age.”
Bob opens up a hand grenade, which Deadpool catches and nonchalantly tosses behind him. He punches out Bob and drags his unconscious buddy out of frame as the skirmish comes to a close.
Love is also in the air in the Deadpool movie with the addition of Morena Baccarin as Vanessa Carlysle, a former prostitute that becomes Wade’s “girlfriend.”
“They meet in a bar, where she is a prostitute and she tries to pick him up,” Baccarin explains. “She comes up to him and she’s gonna try to get him to spend all his money, instead of buying drinks for his friends, on sleeping with her and paying her for it. And they go into this sorta back and forth about whose life is worse… and they just taunt each other on the s***tiest things that have happened to them. And that’s how they fall in love is with a sense of humor and how f***ed up their life is.”
Baccarin went on to describe an extended sex montage between the pair where time passing is indicated by the decorations for all of the major holidays popping up around them, before summarizing Vanessa as a whole.
“This character’s scrappy, she’s not worried about her hair and her nails or messing around. She gets down and dirty and she’s not a victim, she’s not a damsel in distress.”
Vanessa actually has mutant abilities in the source material, adopting the name Copycat given her ability to shapeshift into other people. The character can be picked out in the pages of Marvel’s comics thanks to her blue skin, though that won’t be seen in the film save for an Easter egg for eagle-eyed fans.
The film is filled with “serious Easter eggs” too, as Reynolds calls them, featuring allusions to the larger X-Men universe, including a namedrop of the big man himself, Charles Xavier.
“We are part of the X universe, and that is important,” Rhett Reese says. “Simon Kinberg is our producer and he kind of minds the store in regards to the X universe, so we are fitting into the larger timeline. We have things like the Blackbird in the movie. We reference Professor X in the movie. So Deadpool is very much of that world and I think sooner or later we’ll cross over into that world. I mean, we’re not sure when that would be. Probably, if I’d have to guess, we would do a standalone sequel before he entered the actual ensemble movies, but I think at some point it will cross over and it needs to fit.”
“(Deadpool) even jokes in the movie about being part of an ensemble movie,” adds co-writer Paul Wernick.
Given how long its taken to get to this moment, there is some trepidation in the air about the future of Deadpool. The cast and crew will talk about it of course, but you can’t blame them for being cautious, it took six years just to get here after all.
“We’re not pushing him quite as far as some of the later comics do in terms of his sheer insanity,” Rhett Reese says. “We figured we had time to do that, hopefully with sequels we have time to do that.”
With that in mind, the focus is entirely on making sure they get this first movie right, because the fans have all been waiting long enough for it anyway.
“We just want to be true to the original spirit of it,” Miller says. “We talk a lot about ‘Will the fans not like this or not like that,’ I don’t worry about that so much, because I feel like I’m the core demographic wrapped up in one sorta semi-fat 50-year-old package, and I feel like I got a good compass for what they can tolerate and we are so in the zone. I think they’re gonna love it.”
Reynolds smiles, still fully dressed as the Merc with a Mouth, a role he’s poured his heart and life into for over half a decade.
“I feel like we owe it to (the fans),” Reynolds adds. “To give them the most authentic Deadpool possible and at the same time we also feel indebted to them for getting this movie made. They greenlit it, really. Fox just dated it.”
20th Century Fox will open the Deadpool movie in theaters on February 12, 2016.
In keeping with the tradition of comic book movies nowadays, plans are being made for a post-credit scene for Deadpool which we’re told will be “phenomenal” should it come to fruition.
“We’re planning it,” Reese says. “It’s one of those ones that’s gonna require some doing, so it may not come together, and if so, I don’t know, we’ll either do a plan B or none at all. I think we should have one, I mean, we really feel like we should have one.”