Everyone knows the story of Deadpool by now: The movie about a Marvel superhero/antihero of questionable name recognition for general audiences, starring an actor with a high profile superhero movie failure on his resume, from a director who was far from a household name, which was released in February – traditionally one of the slowest months of the year for the box office. Against all those odds, Deadpool was a massive, massive hit.
Deadpool succeeded thanks to inventive action, a witty script, a standout lead performance from Ryan Reynolds, a self-aware tone that at times flirted with academic postmodernism and the strategic deployment of Sinead O’Connor jokes. Now, we’ve learned a bit more about how Deadpool came to the screen- it turns out two A-list directors, James Cameron and David Fincher, helped shepherd the movie towards a green light.
According to an interview with IGN.com, both director Tim Miller and co-screenwriter Rhett Reese said that the directors had a part to play in convincing Fox to go ahead with the film. According to Reese:
“They read the script, each of them at two independent key moments during the script’s development… And each one of them was kind enough to go to 20th Century Fox and essentially throw in their good word just saying ‘Hey, what are you guys doing with Deadpool? You should be making this!’ David was a help before Jim and he was just kind of nudging along the way. And then Jim ultimately weighed in in a key decision node moment and got Fox to free up some money to try a PG-13 draft at the time – that was not Jim’s idea, that was Fox’s idea.”
Miller, the director, agreed, while expressing some reluctance about making the information public:
“First of all they’re probably mad at me for ever having… because that was never intended to be public knowledge! Listen – the industry listens to tastemakers and you could not find two gentlemen who have better taste in what should become a movie or be made into a movie and so I just thought that maybe they could help push the boulder up the hill a little bit, which they kindly did.”
Does this change the story of Deadpool’s underdog success at all? Not really; directors, like most successful people, tend to have mentors, and it’s not like Cameron or Fincher directed the film over Miller’s shoulder or anything. And besides, the filmmakers have discussed Cameron and Fincher’s involvement before.
That isn’t to say that a superhero movie directed by James Cameron or David Fincher wouldn’t be worth seeing. Both directors, in fact, were considered to direct Spider-Man films at different times, Cameron in the early ‘90s – in a project that fell apart over corporate rights squabbling – and Fincher when Sony was putting together the post-Raimi reboot that ended up being The Amazing Spider-Man. But neither have ended up making a superhero movie themselves… yet.
Deadpool is currently available on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD. As for the rest of the Fox/Marvel slate, X-Men: Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3rd, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), March 2nd, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and June 29th, 2018 (possibly New Mutants). X-Force is also in development.