Image via YouTube
When the original Deadpool kicked the global box office’s collective ass last year, part of its success had to do with the fact that it was a subversive take on the superhero genre, and had been produced for the relatively paltry budget of $58 million. Bottom line, there was no real expectation surrounding it and it completely caught the audience by surprise. The sequel? Not so much.
David Leitch, director of next month’s Atomic Blonde (which he discusses with FHM in an upcoming exclusive interview), is currently shooting Deadpool 2. Previously he'd taken on the trailer for the film in the form of the short, “Deadpool: No Good Deed,” which preceded the release of Logan earlier this year. While discussing Atomic Blonde with us, he dropped a few musings about Wade Wilson’s next adventure.
Top of our ponderings is how daunting it is to step into this sequel given the success of its predecessor. “That’s a great question,” Leitch laughs, embarrassing us in the process with his praise, “because I get asked a lot of questions about Deadpool, but never, like, ‘Are you daunted about doing the sequel?’ Look, I didn’t even do the sequel to John Wick. [Co-director] Chad Stahelski and I had discussed where we wanted to go with it, and we were really all trying to scratch our heads about what the next chapter would be. And I said, ‘If I can’t find my way in, I really want to explore Atomic Blonde."
(Image via YouTube)
“The long and short of that,” he continues, “is I’m doing this Deadpool thing. It’s, like, here I have a sequel to an original that was tremendously successful. They had whatever chemistry they had, and I’m the new guy in the mix. But I’m such a fan of the original. I thought Ryan Reynolds, [writers] Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, [producer] Simon Kinberg and [director] Tim Miller did an incredible job. I love the world and I love the character. When I came on and we developed the version that we were going to take on, I knew I could tell that story. I got excited, because it’s a world that really has no rules.”
He points out that you could adhere to the DNA of the first movie, and have the same sort of irreverent fun, but at the same time there’s room to make it something unique. “Really,” he says, “it can go anywhere, like the comic books go. I’m excited. There are new characters and a little bit of expansion of the universe, and there are some bigger set pieces. I just couldn’t be more excited to dive in.”
But talk to us about the tone, man! It’s got to have that Deadpool attitude.
“I don’t think you can do it without that tone,” Leitch provides in response. “There’s an expectation for that tone, and I think that that’s what’s important to maintain. It’s important to be referential and respectful to the DNA of the original, because that’s what people want. And now that is what the Deadpool franchise is. We’re not running from that in any way and breaking it. It's just, like, how do you expand on it? How do you color it to make it your own? How do you move it so it can move forward in a new way?”
(Image via YouTube)
How the hell do we know?
“You're striving for the same tone, and you're striving for the same audience and hopefully we'll hit it,” he offers.
It grows obvious that all this Deadpool 2 talk, as exciting as it is (hey, we were excited!) has gone on long enough and Leitch is ready to focus on other things (like going back to the set to direct, you know, Deadpool 2). Before he does so—and long after we’ve talked about Atomic Blonde; be patient, it’s coming—we’ve gotta know: can a character like Deadpool deepen as it goes on?
“Comic books and movies are different,” Leitch closes. “You would think that he's not a character you potentially could deepen, because I think that the comic books are so really about the gags and really about the irreverent nature of it, and the sort of exploitative nature of it, which is amazing. But I think with the movies, you have to expand him, because we go to a movie with different expectations.”
What kind of expectations, David?...David? Hello?