As much as fans loved the proper interpretation of the character and critics heaped praise upon the film, the blistering success of 2016’s Deadpool still came as a pleasant surprise in more ways than one. Not only did it become the highest-grossing R-rated movie (and comic book movie) in cinematic history, but 20th Century Fox even heavily pushed the film for awards consideration, landing one of the top 10 coveted nominations for the Producers Guild of America Awards.
Since more eyes tuned into the comedic adventures and mishaps of the Merc with a Mouth than even star Ryan Reynolds probably anticipated, you have to believe the actor is feeling the heat as Deadpool 2 nears production. But probably feeling more of the burning anticipation from fans than Reynolds is director David Leitch (John Wick), who took over the helm from Tim Miller after the first Deadpool movie.
In an interview with CinemaBlend at CinemaCon Wednesday, the filmmaker addresses how approach of giving something new to fans while maintaining the tone and spirit of Miller’s movie, in the Deadpool sequel:
“I think you have to pay homage to this movie that’s so beloved. Everybody is anticipating it. And I think we have to find a way to make it distinctly our own, and we’re doing that. The DNA of Deadpool shouldn’t change. He’s such a lovable character, we’re going to carry that through.”
Leitch, who was at CinemaCon to promote his upcoming spy thriller Atomic Blonde, is certainly no stranger to the R-rated action realm. Reynolds and company brought him aboard of the success of Keanu Reeves’ butt-kicking revenge thriller John Wick, which had several moments of levity amid the mayhem. Comedy, of course, was a crucial element to the success of the first Deadpool, and Leitch tells CinemaBlend that he’s cognizant of screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s balance of action and humor – and Reynolds’ flawless execution of it:
“It’s kind of been an all-encompassing collaboration, and actually when I came on it was really an open forum to pitch all ideas. There may be camps. Obviously action is in my DNA, and they do look to me for that, and I might look for them, ‘Is my idea funny?’ It’s a great team. We’re really collaborating, and I’m loving the process. They’re open to hear my fart jokes as much as anybody’s!”
While the 800-pound gorilla also known as the first Deadpool will be shadowing Leitch’s every move on Deadpool 2, Leitch has clearly shown with expert direction of John Wick and promise of Atomic Blonde with its killer (queen) red band trailer, that he knows his way around hard-R movie territory.
Yes, Deadpool 2 is a tough act to follow, but when you consider that the sequel is inviting Cable (possibly Michael Shannon) and Domino (Zazie Beetz) into the mix, Leitch is going to have plenty of opportunities to set his film apart from Miller’s. We’ll know for sure sometime next year when the Deadpool 2 is released, but until then, fans shouldn’t worry too much about the prospects.