What a lovely surprise Deadpool was. Its rebellious, twisted take on the traditional superhero movie proved to be effective, crowd-pleasing and thoroughly entertaining. It felt like a superhero film filtered through an 80s action movie, with its hyperviolence, gore, revenge plot and tortured clever dick anti-hero.
Back in April (which is now when I’m writing this but not when you’re reading this because this will be now for you now) we were invited to interview director Tim Miller and producer Simon Kinberg (together), and Ed Skrein, who played Ajax. They were relatively brief chats, though, so we’ve chucked them in together to save you a click. You can’t say that this free website doesn’t give you value for money.
Now, appreciating that Simon Kinberg is the man with the answers about what’s going to happen in the Fox Marvel universe, you might be expecting some pressing for clues. But with a two month gap between interview and publication, it seemed likely to me that anything I could dig up would likely be uncovered by someone else before we could publish it anyway. I thought I’d be better off trying to find out some stuff about Deadpool instead. When you get to the bit where Miller responds to my theory that Deadpool is like an 80s action film, I think you’ll agree that I made a right and good decision.
Tim Miller and Simon Kinberg interview
The success of Deadpool after all of these years of work must have been very vindicating. Do you think the wait, the urban legends and the reputation of Deadpool as almost the outlaw superhero film, helped with its success?
Tim Miller: I think it had people rooting for the film, for sure. But I feel like the nature of the film itself. I often wonder, if I wasn’t part of the movie making process, do Deadpool fans feel like ‘oh, this was our little secret, this was our character and now everybody loves it and so it’s not so special and cool for us’. I hope they don’t feel that way. We brought it to a broader audience. I mean he felt like a character that you root for, that was an outsider, and I think that and the struggles – which are high class problems, to actually have a movie that’s even being considered to be made is pretty awesome – but I feel like that’s intrinsic in the character more than the process.
Simon Kinberg: I actually think that the timing was right, not that that was the intention, but that five years ago, or ten years ago, the culture wouldn’t have been ready for a movie that commented on other superhero movies in the same way. Where now, there’s such a saturation of these kinds of films, and there’s such a fluency with the audience in these kinds of movies that they understood the jokes in a way that they probably would not have as a mass audience five or ten years ago. And so even though it wasn’t intended that it would be…
TM: I still think it would have been a great movie.
SK: It would have been a great movie.
TM: Not because I made it, just because it was a great script.
SK: I just think that a mass audience wouldn’t have been able to laugh in unison in the same way.
You’ve made a film that’s an action movie and a comedy movie. The nature of comedy, particularly with the modern trend of ad libbing, thrives on spontaneity. So how does that combine with the nuts and bolts of making a big action film?
TM: I think we left a lot of room for it. When you go into the process with Ryan Reynolds, you know he’s gonna do that. You’ve got to leave some room for it. And then, once we’d talked to TJ (Miller) for a while, we realised you’ve got to leave a lot of room for that, because TJ did not say the same line twice, which was just this treasure trove of material in the edit bay, and it really kept everything moving along.
The writers were on set every day to help respond to it. Because, you write something in a script but then you see a location, then you see how people move through space and it changes the way the jokes work. We just built it in because we knew it was gonna happen.
One of the things I really liked about this film is that it reminded me of some of the movies I loved from the 1980s, the action films of that time. Were then any movies from this period that were influential, or am I imagining it?
TM: I think you’re imagining it. Maybe.
SK: Well, you know what I would say? Because I grew up on those movies and those are my favourite films, and the big action movies of the 80s were R rated, much more muscular films, like the Die Hard movies and the Lethal Weapon movies and the Terminator movies, totally different than Deadpool in so many different ways, but they had a sort muscularity to them and they were R rated, and people spoke like real grownups speak, they swear. And I think some of that, and the violence, there’s ripples of it in Deadpool.
TM: You know what else though? I think before the ages of digital effects where you could have an entire city lifted in the air and dropped on the planet, the approach to visual effects and action was a little different. And we didn’t have the budget to lift a city in the air and drop it on a planet, so our approach to what the action was had to be a little more measured. Probably like a lot of the limitations they had to deal with back then.
I had to fight to get that fucking carrier collapse in there and that was like the only moment of scope we had, the rest of it is fairly contained.
Ed Skrein Interview
So, you’re the villain in Deadpool. You have to pretend to enjoy torturing Ryan Reynolds.
Pretend to enjoy?
Ha. When you’re playing a character like this, do you try to humanise him in your head, or do you just cut loose and say ‘this guy is evil’?
There’s a reason that people do evil stuff. There’s a thought process in everybody’s head that when they think to do horrific atrocities and violent acts, there’s a reason, an order, a logic in their heads, that we don’t see. Because we have compassion and responsibility.
That lack of compassion is what it was about, for me. To form Ajax it was less about trying to be evil and be some fucked up guy. It was just like ‘I’m gonna take away these things and just see what’s left’. And then justify it, by saying “I’m making you a fucking superhero, dude. You should be thanking me. I made you immortal.” I say it in the movie. All he needs to do is keep his mouth shut. You’re getting me into character now.
When I started acting it was hard. I’d let these characters stay with me and get all twisted up and it kind of fucked with my head. But not for Ajax, man. They’d say cut after I’d been being horrible and had been torturing Ryan Reynolds, and then I’d skip off to the make-up department and gossip with them about what they did on the weekend.
So it wasn’t too torturous.
Now, you’re from England, like myself. And, for me at least, when I was a kid I didn’t have access to American comics like a lot of people do now. How is your relationship with comics? Do you read a lot?
Yeah, man. I read them a lot. I did have access to them, because I would go to Forbidden Planet in central London, I would go to… there was one in Camden, I can’t remember what it’s called.
Oh, it’s the Judge Dredd… Mega City One?
It’s called Mega City! On Inverness Street, I believe. Yeah. Inverness Street Market, Camden Taaahn. *laughs* Lovely.
I was going to the conventions at the Barbican and at Baker Street when I was a kid. I was collecting Spawn and X-Men from back then and loving Ninja Turtles and Thundercats on the side. There was a period of about 10 years when I stopped collecting comics. When I got Deadpool I was like ‘This is an opportunity’. This is what I call research, very important resources, and so tax deductible items.
I had to explain that to my accountant. This is very important for my character, this is character research.
But it was so great to get back into the comics. At the moment I’m reading X-Force, which is a phenomenal piece. You know, X-23 and Phantom-X. Two of my new favourite characters, I love them, created by Grant Morrison who is a writer that I love. X-Force is one of my favourite series of all time. I’d love to play King Mob. I’d love for them to make it, even if I don’t play it. I’ll be there, opening weekend.
I know Seth Rogen is doing The Boys, and The Boys is probably my favourite comic series ever. Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie. I wonder if Simon Pegg would play it.
I suppose you talked about the English and American side of things, falling in love with the American classic superheroes was wonderful. But when they started talking in your accent? You know, Billy Butcher is from Hackney. I live in Hackney. Billy Butcher talks in slang that we talk in. I read it and I think ‘Americans must be so confused by what he’s saying. He talks in cockney rhyming slang.’ So, it’s an amazing feeling to have that. Writers such as Garth Ennis, they’re just doing incredible things.
I’m very proud of them. Garth’s run on Punisher: Max and Morrison’s stuff on Batman And Robin is just fucking amazing. It’s a wonderful thing.
Before you leave, you’ll no doubt want to know what their favourite Jason Statham films are. Tim Miller and Simon Kinberg both told me their favourite Statham film is Snatch, while Ed Skrein’s favourite is Spy.
Thank you very much, Tim Miller, Simon Kinberg and Ed Skrein.
Deadpool is available on Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
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