Introduced as an older (and bigger) student in X2: X-Men United, Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus was a key supporting member of Professor Xavier’s X-Men field teams in the films following. Colossus fought alongside Storm and Wolverine and X-Men 3 and returned alongside nearly every other star of the franchise in last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past as one of the few surviving mutant warriors in the dystopian future.
In all of these films Colossus was played by Canadian actor Daniel Cudmore who only had a few lines. Perhaps it’s because of the limited dialogue that frequent director Bryan Singer neglected one of the character’s most important traits: his Russian accent and heritage. That’s finally going to be rectified when Colossus is re-introduced next year in Deadpool.
This new present day version of Colossus is not only massive, twice as big as Cudmore’s version and entirely CGI (with motion capture by Andre Tricoteux), but the plan is for him to speak as he does in the comics with his signature Russian accent. The character has been a key supporting player in the Deadpool spinoff/reboot movie since writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick began penning the film six years ago and his role has only grown, if anything, in the many years of iterations.
When visiting the Vancouver set of Deadpool in May, I asked director Tim Miller about Colossus’ role and how he helps the film and the Deadpool character fit in the larger X-Men universe. Colossus shows up during the movie wearing X-Men team duds alongside his apprentice of sorts in Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand).
“When [Colossus] shows up you see the Blackbird in the background. It’s just a nod to the larger X-Men universe that Deadpool really doesn’t want to be part of. He’s had his chance. I mean, there’s a great line where Colossus says, ‘you could be a superhero’ and he’s like ‘yeah, I’ve seen my report card and I don’t want to be that guy.’ But I like the fact that he’s deliberately chosen not to be part of that world, but it’s still there.
Colossus is going to be great. He’s the manifestation of the rest of that universe.”
And as for the accent, Miller was as confused as me as to why Colossus wasn’t portrayed as Russian in the previous films.
“Yeah, I don’t know why he wasn’t like that before. Those are the kinds of things that I think as a fan… nothing against the movies that were made before but I feel like if there’s not a real reason to change those sorts of things then you should stay true to the comics as much as you can. As a fan it bothered me when he didn’t speak with a Russian accent. I expect that.
Things like him not being… I mean, in our film I’m glad that we can make him big and massive like I’ve always seen him in the comics but I didn’t hold it against them that he wasn’t a CG character the entire time in the movies because I know how expensive that was so I go ‘okay, I get it, you’ve gotta change it for that reason,’ but we don’t have to. The technology has advanced that allows us to do this. But if they change things like that it bothers me a little bit as a fan.”
Later, VFX Supervisor Jonathan Rothbart reassured me the same thing:
“Russian, yeah. Oh yeah, he’s comic book Colossus so he’ll definitely be Russian.”
As a big fans of the comics, it’s the important character details Miller and the crew and the writers are nailing in bringing the Deadpool movie to life, and the accent is a big part of that. For some reason, many characters lost their accents and unique flair in the X-Men film adaptations, not just Colossus, but Pyro, Banshee, Storm, and Gambit, etc. That’s hopefully being fixed in the new timeline. Channing Tatum promises a full-on Cajun accent for his version of Remy LeBeau/Gambit too.
Tim Miller directs the film from a screenplay by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. It is produced by Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Ryan Reynolds, starring
Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, and Leslie Uggams.
Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.