‘Deadpool’ Screenwriters Holding Out for R-Rated Antihero Action

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 26th, 2013 at 6:40 am,

Ryan Reynolds Deadpool Wolverine Crossover Deadpool Screenwriters Holding Out for R Rated Antihero Action

It’s been a long, hard road for Deadpool, the comic book movie adaptation that first began its life as rumor in the lead-up to the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. During a development period that has gone on for four years without yet getting the official greenlight from Fox, we’ve seen Zombieland screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Rheese brought on to write the script and newcomer Tim Miller elected to make the film as his feature directorial debut.

A draft of Rheese and Wernick’s script was leaked back in 2010, and what could have been a minor PR disaster ultimately only served to increase hype for the film, when the script received glittering reviews from critics and fans alike. So, what’s the hold-up?

Ironically, the elements that have been creating a large amount of buzz around Deadpool are the same things that have kept it out of production until now. From the very beginning, the plan has been to make the movie as loyal to the comic books as possible: a reboot that is not only separate from the existing X-Men movies but will also potentially mock their more serious tone – including classic Deadpool fourth-wall-breaking, heavy involvement from creator Rob Liefeld, and – most significantly – a script that will unquestionably earn a hard R rating. Generally speaking, R-rated scripts are unpopular with studio executives on the basis that they cut out a large chunk of box office sales that would have gone to children and young teens. Despite this, the creative team behind the project are determined that Deadpool’s violent and foul-mouthed ways can’t be tamed into a PG-13 movie, and Ryan Reynolds has agrees: “We would never wanna do it unless you could do it that R-rated way.”

Despite this, production on Deadpool has recently begun to move along. Rob Liefeld suggested, none too subtly, that former CEO Tom Rothman’s departure from Fox Film Entertainment was instrumental in speeding up progress on the irreverent superhero film, saying that, “The single biggest blockade (blockhead?) is gone,” and that Rothman was “Not a friend of Deadpool’s.” Now that the film is apparently heading towards pre-production and needs only a thumbs-up from Fox to continue, Collider has published an interview with the screenwriters that gives a good idea of where the movie is going.

deadpool movie fourth wall Deadpool Screenwriters Holding Out for R Rated Antihero Action

First and foremost, Wernick and Reese believe that they have come up with a simple solution to combat the fears of the movie not being profitable:

Rhett Reese: “We think that we can make it for $50 [million]. Feels like a no-brainer to us.”

Paul Wernick: “Kickstarter!”

We’re pretty sure that Wernick is joking about the Kickstarter, though it’s a popular idea right now. Their budget compromise seems like a legitimately good idea, though. Matthew Vaughn’s R-rated comic book adaptation Kick-Ass was a relative flop at the box office, grossing less than $100 million worldwide, yet still managed to make a profit off its modest $30 million production budget. Perhaps the market for R-rated superhero movies is smaller than that of family-friendly fare, but there is a market for them:

Reese: “I think there just has to be a tolerance for the outlier.  There has to be a tolerance for this one project that’s not like all the other Marvel projects.”

Wernick: “Iron Man was like that when it came out.  Tony Stark and the hard drinking, fast-talking billionaire was very different from all the other Marvel characters.  And look what it became.  And we feel that way about Deadpool.”

Fox’s lawyers came down hard on all images, text and upload links to the leaked script when they began appearing online and, despite Rheese’s following comments in the interview, the average Google search for the script will generally bring up little more than broken links and redacted reviews. The most important thing about the script leak, however, is that most Deadpool fans gave it a stamp of approval:

Rheese: “The script leaked online in some bizarre way that we haven’t figured out, so it’s very easily findable out there. It’s pretty much you go on Google and type in “Deadpool script” and you’ll find it.  Not to say people should be doing that because it certainly wasn’t something we anticipated or enjoyed in the moment, but the Deadpool fans who found it think that it’s right in the wheelhouse of what a Deadpool movie should be.  And so again, we’re just fighting that uphill battle to convince people, and be positive.”

Deadpool Logo Deadpool Screenwriters Holding Out for R Rated Antihero Action

A lot of the hype for Deadpool has stemmed from the test footage that Tim Miller shot last year, which had Liefeld claiming that, if it had been leaked along with the script, “the Internet would freak and riots would ensue” (in a good way). The screenwriters seem to concur with that view:

Reese: “We have a phenomenal director in Tim Miller, who did about a three-minute test for Fox, and Ryan came in to do the mo-cap for it and the voice.  And it’s like the greatest three minutes ever.  I look at the three minutes and I’m like, ‘That’s the movie, and it has to get made.’”

It’s important to keep in mind that Deadpool’s creator, the screenwriters who wrote the script, the director of the movie and the actor who plays the character all have a vested interest in seeing the Deadpool movie get made, and therefore we should take their enthusiasm with a pinch of salt. Caveat in place, however, I might be more excited for Deadpool than I am for any other film currently in development. It’s refreshing to see a creative team refuse to alter their vision to meet the studio’s preferred rating, and there should be a place for Deadpool in the Marvel movie family that doesn’t require him to watch his table manners and be more polite.

The planned budget of $50 million seems like it could tip the scales in favor of a green light for the project. Unlike The Avengers or the Dark Knight trilogy, Deadpool wouldn’t necessarily require a city – or planet – destroying plot or an enormous FX budget; if anything, having a slightly grittier and lower budget superhero action film would be a nice antithesis to the shiny blockbuster feel of most Marvel movies.

We’ll keep you up to date on the progress of Deadpool, and will hopefully have more news soon.


Source: Collider

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Deadpool
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  1. I’ll keep repeating myself until it happens.

    This movie needs to be made.

  2. I think they should definitely use Kickstarter is Fox doesn’t want to put up all the money for it. They could easily raise $5 mil for it. I’d throw in $20-$30.

    • Yep, I’d put some in too.

    • How about a kick starter for Fox to sell the rights back to Marvel/Disney.

      • Why would you bring up such an ignorant, empty, and utterly pointless idea?..

        • … because it’s the stuff dreams are made of.

      • If you think marvel/disney will do deadpool justice you are insane.

  3. This movie needs to be made and hopefully it gets greenlit soon.

  4. it better be rated r thats all i want

    • Why “R”? Is deadpool naked?

      • No, Deadpool is a raunchy, clinically insane, borderline psychopathic mercenary. He dismembers, he obliterates, he drops the F-bomb every other sentence. He’s obsessed with sex. I mean have you ever even read a Deadpool comic? The character was made for R-rated film.

  5. I read the script and I think they could definitely make it with a $50 million budget. It will get made, it is just a matter of time.

  6. I know the studio is worried about profit but there is something that they can look forward to and that’s after theater results. It will be a cult classic. It will make money in other ways.

  7. why would he have to do mo-cap for this?… if they are going to make the eyes CG ok but if they are going to make him all CG …please no.

    Also why would they involve Rob? He doesn’t even seem to care for the version of Deadpool everyone else loves. He likes the serious no nonsense version of deadpool.

  8. They just need to Dredd this thing. Make it cheap and keep it loyal to the source the material. Get it out on DVD and Bluray and let it blow up there and then kick out a sequel. I love Deadpool but I think it would be better to make a Deadpool and Cable movie. It’d be more profitable, you can tie it in with X-Men cameos to cross market, and it puts Deadpool where he is best: with other characters. Deadpool is better with others than alone, like the Hulk. Get Reynolds back as Deadpool, get Stephen Lang as Cable and you have a awesome mutant buddy cop action flick. And throw in Stryfe, Mister Sinister or Black Box as the villain and you’re set.

    • I agree. It’s a solid formula for a good comic book movie. It was like a single issue of a comic. Although, I don’t like Reynolds as Deadpool.

      • I think Reynolds was good, and it wasn’t his fault that Origins shat all over his character.


  9. I have a Deadpool script outlined. It would take advantage of (and subtly acknowledge) movie clichès, characters who arejust plot points and movie rules i.e. The hero can’t die and gets the girl. Deadpool would know he is in movie but would not outright state it.

    The film would start with the the ending of The Wolverine Origins occasiionally fast forwarding. “No, no, no. Uh No! That’s all wrong”. The camera pans around to show Deadpool on a recliner couch with pink slippers on in full costume eating popcron with a full mask on. “This is how you do it”.

    I hope the the writers and director tke advantage of the fact that Deadpool is kind of a parody of comicbooks while also functioning as a legitimate comicbook. The movie should do the same.

    • LOL!!! That is a genuis idea about the Wolverine Origins bit!

  10. IMO Deadpool doesn’t have to be R rated but should push the limits of it. Making it r rated severely limits it’s potential box office and a true to the source Deadpool film can be made with out going over the top. The fact that the writers seem to really fixate on that makes me nervous that this film will be overtly violent just because like Punisher: WarZone.

  11. Who cares if it’s hard R, we deserve that, not every superhero movie is for kids. Superman, Cap and Spidey can’t be R but Wolverine, Deadpool and Punisher have to be a hard R movies.

    • *have to be hard R movies

    • don’t forget Moon Knight

  12. C’Mon, everybody, I’d rather see Reynolds in Green Lantern 2!

  13. When are they gonna do another Daredevil movie?

  14. These guys are lobbying hard to get this made, even though that might be part of the problem. Reynolds has been trying to put a good public face on the project, but it really has too many things working against it. First off the script being leak by “accident” clearly made some at the studio feel like the writers were trying to show them up.

    Once the cat was out of the bag as far as the adult content of the film securing money for the project more than likely became harder. Reynolds shaky box office drawing power over the past few years will not make funding any easier and in all honesty any involvement and/or comments from Rob Liefeld is nothing going to make many friends.

    • Yeah that seems legit… not.

      • Up to you if you don’t wanna go for it. Not sure where Trey got his copy but it’s the same one. First page just says:


        Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

        April 12, 2010

        Every page after that is a bloody godsend. While it is harder now to find it on Google, it’s not impossible. Search for yourself and see what you find.

        • Mine is the same one as that lol

  15. So im reading a pdf file of a deadpool script by the zombieland writers. How do i know if its the official script? I love it so far.

    • Yup that’s the one. It’s a blast to read, I’m utterly thrilled for the chance to see that come to life in the big screen!

  16. YES! Bring it on! Deadpool movie needs to happen. I’m not even disappointed that Fox has the rights instead of Marvel. Deadpool would be not a Disney movie material. I mean, I don’t know, but I doubt Marvel/Disney would do an R rated movie, because it wouldn’t fit with the rest of the MCU.

    So yeah, I’m glad that they want to separate it from X-Men as well.

    And even if it’s R rated there will be an audience for it, not as big as for the PG-13 CBMs, but still good enough profit for a lower budget film.

  17. One of the best movies in recent years, Dredd, bombed really hard for its “R” and quite undeservedly so. My observation is that many people seem to associate more into this rating than mere violence and many who’d actually enjoy these kind of movies don’t support them properly simply because of the stigma. Maybe it’s because regular flicks are so heavily sanitized nowadays that people are largely jaded because of it? There seems to be a common opinion that purely Adult movies won’t be successful anyway.

    It’s a shame really.

    Anyway. This can and should only be R-rated.

  18. I read a portion of the script a few weeks ago and it was fantastic.
    I’ve never read a movie script that actually made me laugh out loud until ‘Deadpool’. It’s really so, so great.

    It definitely has to be R-rated though. Deadpool’s an R-rated character if you look at it. He needs to be offensive, f*ck*ng crazy, and violent-as-hell. So I’m glad the writers are holding out till the studio comes to their senses.

    I understand it’s all about the money, but R-rated movies have been making a lot of money lately:
    Ted grossed over $500mil last year, and if they keep to the script, Deadpool will be much funnier than that flick (and I loved Ted), and then there’s Django Unchained, which made over $300mil despite all the controversy.

    They just a great cast and a fun trailer to sell it to audiences. What could be cool is if they throw in Deadpool breaking the fourth wall (as he does), and bad mouth the viewers, threatening them to go watch his movie.

    If you make it funny and entertaining, they will come.

    • Personally, I cannot wait to see the reactions of non-comic book readers watching the movie in the theatre as he is breaking the forth wall. They will not see it coming.

  19. If they post the 3 minute test footage for download wit ha contribution I will throw 50 to 100 bucks at them depending on the rewards they give.

  20. Ok, not a comic book nut, so someone PLEASE explain to me how Wade Wilson gets transformed into this “other” kind of Deadpool in the end of Wolverine Origins and has his mouth welded shut. Plus, even if he is alive now, he still has katana blades that pop out of his arms rather than having swords to wield. It seems like they did him an injustice during that partially crap movie and I’m just not seeing how he becomes this known comic book anti-hero in a suit with a mask with swords that he holds, not to mention he still has Cyclop’s laser vision and would blow his mask right off. This kind of continuity crap really pisses me off, I want things to make sense in movies!

    Someone, anyone, please have it….

    • ‘Deadpool’ won’t have anything to do with ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’.
      They’ll completely ignore what happened in that movie (just like The Wolverine seems to be doing).

    • Magic.

  21. I just finished the screenplay and i loved it, I feel things will need changed tho in perticular…SPOILER FOR SCREENPLAY!!!

    The addition of amy winehouse as a running joke tho funny i dont see it staying in the script

  22. I was excited about this until I heard that Ryan Reynolds is doing it. I think he’s a terrible actor, and not even remotely attractive- the guy’s head is shaped like a light bulb for crying out loud.

  23. Also after reading the script its apparent why nobody is ready to fund the film. Its very crude and bloody. Many people will like this film myself included but many wont

    • If the script people posted here is the one they pitched then I can see why nobody would fund it. They would have to rewrite this thing to death to make it even near passable.

      • I think its a great script and id love to see it made. But it goes a way to far for company funding

  24. Gotta give the writers credit for waiting until an “R” rated DP movie gets the green light, even though it is FOX.

  25. For the guys who think returning Deadpool rights to Marvel will automatically result in the above, keep in mind that Marvel is unlikely to ever make an R-rated movie again. Their last one(Punisher War Zone) flopped, and they’ve been all about making superheroes more accessible to a wider audience.

    For example, they wouldn’t let Jon Favreau explore the ‘Demon in the Bottle’ storyline for Iron Man 2. He even admitted that would be darker than what Marvel wanted for their cinematic universe.

  26. I love deadpool but hate Rob Liefeld…

  27. I loved the script but I’m guessing they are going to cut out the Amy winehouse parts

  28. I think making a Deadpool movie rated r would be a could. If they don’t make it r rated it will repeat the unsuccessful platform of Elektra. In all honesty Jeniffer Garner played an excellent elektra just the movie tone didnt fit because Like deadpool, Elektra is a killer. Some Marvel movies need to be r rated and Deadpool is one of them