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On other projects, have you ever considered walking away from screenwriting?

Reese: That was the first time we hit that particular low. I mean, it was a low low. This movie has come back from more mortal wounds than Deadpool himself. It finally just took the right combination of producers and executives willing to take the risk. Jim Gianopulos, Stacey Snider, and Simon Kingberg was the magical group that finally saw the potential in it, and they were willing to take a chance on a movie that didn’t fit into the larger X-Men universe, by the virtue of its tone and its rating.

There were certainly a lot of elements of Deadpool that don’t mesh with the Marvel universe, DC universe, or the X-Men universe. It just took vision to say, “Who cares if it doesn’t fit? Let’s make it. We’ll figure out a way to cross over with Colossus, the X-mansion, and other characters.” We let Deadpool be the lunatic and the others be the straight man, and we found that exciting.

Wernick: It’s interesting, because I don’t think this fits in a box studios are so used to fitting movies in, and I think that’s what’s going to make it the success it’s hopefully going to become. It is so different, an apple to the oranges. Some of the superhero movies are feeling a little bit the same and they’ve become dark…

Reese: Every universe sets its own tone, so some are dark and some are light. You got a movie like Ant-Man, which almost feels like a family movie, and then Guardians of the Galaxy, an edgy but light movie for whole family. Then you have The Dark Knight movies, which are very dark. This is its own thing, its own beast. I think it enlivens the genre all the more.

What was your original pitch to Fox? 

Wernick: Well, it’s the Deadpool you see onscreen, but the story was very different; it wasn’t an origin story. We came in feeling like people have seen the origin story so much. Audiences had been introduced to Deadpool in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, but we’re going to reinvent him and not start at the beginning. Ryan, God bless him, kept the Deadpool flame going longer than we have. He’s been on this project for more than a decade. Ryan said, “The essence of the character is how he became who he became. The cancer and the tragedy of his life is what he hides with humor.” We opened our eyes to this idea you really need to know where Deadpool comes from and how he got here. It was the right call, because that decision really helped unlock the character for us. Ryan really is the voice of Deadpool. He bares and embraces that voice. Ryan trusted us enough to go play in our sandbox for a bit.

Was there ever a discussion about sticking with the Deadpool we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?

Reese: Well, fuck no [Laughs]. After Origins, everyone looked in the mirror and said, “We’re either going to do this right or not at all.”

Wernick: That started with Ryan. You know, he was not proud of the direction… You’d probably have to ask him directly, but I think it’s pretty well known he’s not proud of the direction Fox took Deadpool in that film. The audience responded in such a way that confirmed his unhappiness. This really was a chance for us to do it right. We’ll soon find out, but I think we did the character justice.

Reese: There was a moment in the movie we shot, which didn’t make the final cut, where Ryan takes that Deadpool X-Men Origins Wolverine action figure and holds it up, after he praises Wham! and the album cover, he throws the action figure on the ground and says, “And this was the biggest piece of shit in the history of Earth.” We begged, begged to have that stay in the movie. Ultimately, I think, for karma, it wasn’t the best idea to bash another movie. You know, there were a lot of people that worked hard on that movie, and just as much on this one. I think everyone of us was ready to take shots — not at the movie, because it has a lot of good qualities — but at that particular portrayal of Deadpool. I don’t think anyone on Earth thought that worked.

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