Ryan Reynolds: Deadpool 2 a good counterpoint to Avengers: Infinity War
Star Ryan Reynolds says movie differs from Avengers: Infinity War because audience will walk out of the cinema laughing
When it comes to the Merc with the Mouth versus Earth's Mightiest Heroes at the box office, Ryan Reynolds feels good about his chances.
Asked if he was concerned that his superhero sequel Deadpool 2 will be going up against the record-breaking blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War when it opens here tomorrow, he joked during the Skype interview from London: "I am worried about Book Club, frankly."
The 41-year-old Canadian actor was cheekily referring to the romantic comedy starring Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda, which opens in the US this week.
Of Avengers: Infinity War, which has become Singapore's top-grossing movie of all time after earning $14.3 million in just 21/2 weeks, he said: "Avengers is a cultural phenomenon. If there is one thing I have seen with this marketplace, it is that they have an enormous appetite for this kind of stuff.
"I think Deadpool 2 works so well as a counterpoint to Avengers, (which) is a deeply emotional story. The bedrock of the story in Deadpool 2 is emotional, but you are walking out of the cinema laughing. So I think we are benefiting from pretty great timing here."
The first movie in 2016 took 10 years to make and was a passion project for Reynolds, who went from pillar to post trying to get it made.
On a relatively small US$58 million (S$77.5 million) budget but with a clever social media campaign that caught fire, it became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time with its US$783 million haul.
Reynolds took on the potty-mouthed, irreverent, idiotic yet endearing Marvel Comics anti-hero Deadpool, also known as Wade Wilson.
Greenlighting the follow-up was a no-brainer for movie studio Twentieth Century Fox.
Deadpool 2 is directed by David Leitch of John Wick fame. Reynolds has a co-writing credit and Josh Brolin joins the cast as the time-travelling antagonist Cable, who is out to kill a child with mutant powers.
With the acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox by Disney, does Reynolds think Deadpool will be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)?
He said: "I don't know that Deadpool will ever interact with anyone from (there). Not because I don't think it would be entertaining, but Deadpool operates under different rules, so breaking the fourth wall with a bunch of fourth-tier X-Men is different from breaking the fourth wall with Captain America or Tony Stark.
"I don't really know. I am just as blind to the whole Disney thing as is everyone else. If they do find a way to get Deadpool into the MCU, then I am up for a PG13 version of Deadpool."
What were the creative pressures for the sequel with fan expectations raised?
We weren't overly concerned with that. I think if we are delivering as authentic a Deadpool as possible, fans are going to get exactly what they want. They see how much fun I am having playing Deadpool, and I think that translates through the screen.
It is something I have loved since 2004. I spent over a decade trying to get it made, and lo and behold, it wasn't my pushing that got the movie made, it was the fans. The Internet exploded and wanted this movie. So the fact that it exceeded our wildest expectations in terms of how it performed, that is just the cherry on top.
And with Deadpool 2, we attacked it from the same angles and principles. The focus was mainly on telling a story that is filtered through the prism of the R-rated action and comedy, but a family film, in essence. We were sort of looking at it like the dirtiest Pixar movie you could ever make.
Why do you think Deadpool has connected so successfully with audiences?
Deadpool occupies a space in the comic universe I am not sure anyone else can occupy, which is that he has a direct relationship with the audience.
So while we use a lot of the tropes of comic book movies and superheroes, we also get to usurp some of those conventions and have fun with them.
Deadpool is a guy who will shoot a big action sequence in the movie and then look directly in the camera and tell you how much that cost. He gets to do insane things. He represents the audience. He is going to say something that maybe the audience is thinking, so it gives us an advantage in our marketing.
Our marketing has allowed us to do things you otherwise wouldn't be able to do in other films.
Did you improve the costume and mask for the sequel?
If it ain't broke, don't break it. So the mask is largely the same. There are a few little updates that the suit has just to make it more functional.
How did the collaboration between Canadian singer Celine Dion, who recorded the song Ashes for the Deadpool 2 soundtrack and starred in the hit music video, come about?
Ashes was sent to us by the record label we were working with and we knew we wanted to have this kind of Bond-esque opening for the movie.
We had been listening to this song for months. We just thought, 'Let's go for Celine Dion, she is a legend, why wouldn't we just go there?'
The song is powerful, poignant, beautiful and still sort of a weird choice that only Deadpool would make. And as far as getting Celine Dion to agree, I don't know why she agreed to it. I think she just loved the song. I don't think it had much to do with Deadpool.
Sometimes when you shoot for the stars, all it takes is asking. I sent her a lovely letter and told her what a fan I am of hers and I am Canadian and I love her and if she would want to do this, I would send the song. It was only a couple of hours until she got back to us and said, 'I am in.'
If you could have a superpower, what would that be?
"At this point in my life, having two little girls, I want to manage to sleep through anything, even being punched in the face by a 11/2-year-old. That would be a superpower I would put to good use."
Anything missing in your life?
I would kind of be a fool to say I am missing something.
I work at a job where 99 per cent of my peers are out of work, so I have always been grateful to be a working actor. I am grateful that I have a great family, and kids and a wife (US actress Blake Lively).
The one thing we can't buy or get more of is time. So I would love to borrow Cable's time travel device and play with that a little bit.