Deadpool is on top of the world at the moment. It is slaying the box office and breaking records left and right, but it’s no secret that it’s road to the top was bumpy at best. The fact is this film barely squeaked by and probably should have never been made. It was a massive risk by the studio who took a chance and bet on a first time director and a star who has struggled in the superhero genre in the wake of such misfires as X Men Origins: Wolverine, Blade Trinity, and The Green Lantern. The gamble paid huge dividends this past weekend en route to massive box office success spawning the news that Fox would in fact be greenlighting a sequel. What if we told you that the film you now know and love, could have been wildly different? well the original script had some interesting ideas that never made it on screen and what we got was a much more subdued version of the film than could have been imagined.
Director Tim Miller recently chatted with EW and spoke out about the tumultuous road to production as well as the various script changes. Also Reynolds had recently Empire’s podcast to talk Deadpool and the various script changes. They both explain why budgetary restraints and creative differences lead to characters like Taskmaster and Wolverine himself from making appearances in the film. Miller summed up the lengthy process involved in getting this project to screens by saying:
“Fox told me a number. They said, ‘Here’s where the budget needs to be if we’re gonna do this as an R-rated film.’ The number had to start with a four. And then it was up to the point where the senior execs at Fox were looking at it. [Fox chairman] Tom Rothman just said, ‘No. We don’t get it.’ Tom told me, ‘Love your passion but I just don’t care for the script. Don’t get it.’
“To be fair, some things had changed from between the time when we first started talking and when we proposed the budget. Green Lantern had come out and that hadn’t helped Ryan’s career. Plus, I was a first-time director. It’s a particular confluence of momentum and money and talent that leads to any movie getting made.”
Miller went on to comment on the type of persistence it took to get this passion project made, and his perseverance that helped get it there.
“I wrote an email once a month or so to the Fox executives, saying ‘Please tell me who I have to f— to get this going?’ And the answer was, ‘It’s not the right time, we appreciate your passion.’ I wrote a lot of emails and I’m sure I annoyed the s— out of them.”
Miller also mentions the fact that there was a PG-13 version of this film that greatly differs from the movie we now have.
“At one point I asked if a PG-13 would move the needle and then they let me do a more sanitized version of the script. We lost a few ‘f—s’ and we lost a few sexual references. But we didn’t have to adjust the violence at all. Wolverine is stabbing people with swords on his hands and that’s happily PG-13.”
On top of all that Reynolds discussed how the main man Wolverine was in the initial script by saying:
“We had endless [conversations about other X-Men]. Taskmaster was in the script originally, too expensive. We had versions where we wanted Hugh Jackman in there, we wanted all kinds of cameos from different people, but it just becomes a big mess for the studio.
“We went through such hell developing the script and which X-Men we could keep and which we couldn’t and it just turned into a nightmare. The studio would just say, ‘too expensive, too expensive, too expensive’ to everyone. So finally we were like well, ‘what about Negasonic Teenage Warhead’ and they said, ‘Negasonic, what?’”
So the reason we were treated to Briana Hildebrand’s Negasonic character was due to budgetary concerns from the studio. Well thank god she was a delight, and the budget issue became a fun point of reference for Deadpool to riff on. Reynolds then commented on the possibility of X-Force moving forward.
“I think the natural progression is Cable, ‘X-Force,’ hopefully. I’d like see ‘X-Force’ to be rated R as well and have the flexibility to do that stuff. If ‘Deadpool’ does what they want it to do [financially], it affords you that ability to do that.”
Deadpool has defied all expectations and has clawed its way to massive success. When you sit back and listen to the team discuss just how hard it truly was to get this film to see the light of day brings a whole new appreciation to the accomplishment and resolve of the creative team.