Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Q&A: ‘Deadpool’ writers
“‘Deadpool’ breaks a lot of rules,” declares screenwriter Rhett Reese as we chat via webcam (watch above) about the violent, self-aware Marvel comic book film that became a smash hit at the box office last February. “Here we are doing a movie that breaks the fourth wall, where the character is aware he’s in a movie, where there’s a ton of gore, violence, swearing, strange pop cultural references,” all of which, “really makes this feel like an apple among oranges.” Directed by Tim Miller, this 20th Century Fox release stars Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson, a renegade mercenary who is subjected to experimental treatments to cure his cancer, turning him into a wise-cracking superhero.
Reese penned the script with his frequent collaborator Paul Wernick (their credits include “Zombieland” (2009) and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (2013)). Wernick admits they, “had never heard of ‘Deadpool,'” before being approached by the studio in 2009. After immersing themselves into the world of the comics, “we pitched, interestingly, a very traditional superhero movie, and did not get the job.”
They were ultimately saved by Reynolds, who was already attached to the project. “He read a drama we wrote for HBO,” reveals Wernick, “and said, ‘Oh my God, this is what I want to do. I want to get into the pathos of the character, I want to dig deep, and really tell a different kind of story.'”
Check out our full interview above for more about their work on “Deadpool,” including the challenges of structuring what Reese describes as, “a two-toned movie,” and what their collaborative process is like.