Where Wolverine got his enhanced skeleton and claws from the Weapon X program, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool got his superpowers from a much dirtier, seedier offshoot program. That’s a big part of the story of the first Deadpool film and the focus of much of our conversations with the cast and crew of the film when we visited the Vancouver set in May.
The first pitch for the Deadpool standalone movie didn’t include an origin story until star Ryan Reynolds explained to writers Rhett Reese and Paul Warnick that it needed to. It needed to erase the “Deadpool” featured in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and explain who and why Wade Wilson is the way he is.
And a big part of that is due to the actions of Deadpool’s two main antagonists: Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano). We spoke with Carano about joining the Deadpool movie and playing the rage-fueled super strong mutant known as Angel Dust; fighting with a massive CGI Colossus; working with her friend in first-time director Tim Miller; getting serious about the comic books with Ed Skrein, and more!
Tell us about Angel Dust.
Gina Carano: She is… well, when I talked to Tim about getting the job, I did a little bit of research and there wasn’t as much on this character, so it gave me some room to play with it. So this is actually my first look. My second look is much more extreme. It’s, I don’t know, a year to five years after, and Mohawk with the braids on the side. So she’s very fashion forward.
Gina Carano: What she’s known for is having extreme adrenaline issues. Which, I don’t know. Have you looked up Angel Dust before? It’s kinda like a PCP and people kind of rage on it. I think that’s very fitting for my character. She’s got extreme strength and adrenaline.
Her strength gets stronger as she gets…
Gina Carano: More pissed off, yeah. [laughs] I think that me and Ed [Skrein], he actually took me to my first comic book store when I got here. We were going over our characters. It’s a really beautiful, I think, relationship. My character trusts Ajax with everything. She pretty much only really responds to him. He was created a certain way to be the way he is. In our backstory, he kinda created me and showed me everything. And I do the same thing to everyone else.
So he’s responsible for giving Angel Dust her powers?
Gina Carano: Yeah. That’s our backstory. In our relationship, he’s everything. He’s the one that taught me.
How is working with Tim Miller on his first full-length feature?
Gina Carano: He’s actually just incredible to work with. I’ve known him for about a year and a half. He called me up and he’s like, “Hey, I’ve got this role for you. I don’t know if you are interested. But it’s yours if you want it. She’s a very strong, silent, physical character.” But it’s really fascinating this being his first film that he’s directed. And watching, after I’ve worked with so many different levels of directors, he’s really just… he’s a natural. I think that he’s doing such a phenomenal job on this that he’s going to be able to do whatever passion projects he wants to after this.
And he’s honest. He knows exactly what he wants out of everybody and he obviously loves this. I brought in a project to him when I knew him and I was like, “Hey, what about this about angels and demons?” He’s like, “Oh, that’s good. That’s great. No.” He was like, “Let me show you this Deadpool five-minute short that we did.” He was pushing it from back then. And they’ve been working on this for so long. So it’s really cool to see him do…he’s very passionate about Deadpool.
And he’s hilarious. He’s awesome to work with. He’s a natural. Did you guy talk to him already?
Gina Carano: Well, tell him I hated him, but I really absolutely adore him. [laughs] I absolutely adore him. He’s such a pleasure to work with.
Earlier we were talking about Colossus as a character who is going to be CGI afterwards. How do you play that in your head?
Gina Carano: It’s a lot different than most of the fight scenes and the physicality that I’ve had before. I’ve never done anything with CGI, let alone I’ve never done anything with a 6’8” man as far as physicality goes. And then, on top of that he wears these big, massive boots. So it makes him taller. And then he wears this ball on the top of his head because he’s in a CGI, gray suit the whole time. And all of my movements have to be so much bigger.
My physicality and my adrenaline and my strength has to match this guy. So everything that I do has to be legitimately strong. Usually, I’ll get a fight scene and I’ll see the stunt guys do it, and I’m like, “OK. I’ll make it my own, make it a little bit more fluid.” Well, this one I’m like really relying on the stunt guys to be like…because everything they do is like old-school martial arts movies. And now I’m kinda like, “OK. There’s something to that for this character.”
Andre [Tricoteux], the guy that plays Colossus, has just been… he’s the biggest sweetheart. He is Colossus to me. Andre Trikotuly? Tricoteux. I’m so bad at names! He’s been such a pleasure to work with. At some point I actually crawl on top of him and he’s standing up. So I’m like 8, 9 feet in the air just looking down at the world like, “This is what your life is like normally! This is interesting. Different perspective!”
But it was really cool. I’d have to do the fight scene with him. And then I’d have to do it by myself, which I felt a little silly at first. I look like I’m fighting this massive thing that’s not there and it’s like a weird dance. But everybody came up and they’re like, “It’s really cool to see you do this by yourself.” I think they should just cut it together just for my own…like see me just fighting air, but like this massive giant in my head.
The weird thing is every time I did it, I’d fight with him and I’d do it by myself, and it was almost like he was still there. I’m down with the CGI work. I was a little bit of a skeptic before. Sometimes you see CGI and you are like, “Ehh…” Now I’m kinda getting into it. I usually like to fight somebody and have it be fluid and physical. But this is honestly such a fun, cool job for me. I’m stoked. I’m like, “I don’t want to leave Vancouver! Are you sure you don’t want to put me in anything else, any other scenes?”
Next Page: Fighting Colossus and other Co-Stars
Can you tell us a little bit about your character’s story arc throughout the movie and the relationship with other characters besides Ajax?
Gina Carano: Ajax is my everything. [laughs] Simply put. I really kind of take all my advice… In my head, something happened to her when she was younger and he created her. And so, that’s all that really matters to her. That’s the only person that’s ever been able to get to her. So even in the other scenes… It’s almost like that person that’s just completely obsessed with that person. That’s the way I feel Angel Dust is with Ajax. And so, pretty much I’m like his… I think he said he’s Robert De Niro and I’m his Joe Pesci. [laughs] And it really feels like that. I’m his Joe Pesci. [laughs]
But Brianna was amazing to work with. Every character has… they fit their role so well. Morena… and Ryan has just been, surprisingly, just one of the… I never knew anything about him before, but it’s been really nice to be a part of a film in such a big level to see something good happen to Ryan, because he’s genuinely one of the nicest actors I’ve ever met.
We pretty much here are torturing Deadpool and creating him and making him… in a way, saving his life. I know we’re considered the bad ones, but in a way we’re saving his life and turning him into Deadpool. So, me and Ajax get to really create Deadpool, which that just gives me goosebumps. Because I honestly wasn’t really…I didn’t know that much about comics. I’ve read the comic scripts that have come through, and when I read this script I was like, “Oh, shit! This is awesome!” This story just breaks all sorts of boundaries as far as film. I was always wondering why people didn’t do that before and just break some rules. It’s just funny how in life you end up being a part of stuff that kinda fits your own life, like breaking rules and boundaries and constantly pushing the envelope. And that’s what this movie is. So it’s really kind of like a…it’s a really cool thing to be part of. Every single day I’m just like, “This is such a good project.”
My character is big, strong, and silent. She’s not got a lot to say. But I’m so happy to be a part of it. And he’s probably my favorite comic character now.
It sounds like you have scenes with all the major characters. You fight Colossus. In that picture it looks like you are fighting Brianna’s character.
Gina Carano: Oh, yeah. We have a lot of interaction. Her character blows up into me multiple times. I honestly wouldn’t want to be attacked like that in any other way. She’s the sweetest, funniest little character, tiny, and she just hits me from all angles all the time. I’m like, “What the hell is this little thing that just is so explosive?”
We actually finished that fight scene…me and Colossus and her are all interactive in that one. I’m kind of taking them both on. And she’s like this little bug that has just got the biggest punch. Every time I think I’m getting ahead with Colossus, she just comes in and she gets me.
Gina Carano: Absolutely. It’s kinda weird. She’ll get into her stance and then come at me and then pretend to hit me, and I have to take the shots or throw myself into a garbage can or a dumpster or whatever it is that I’m flying into. It was possibly the dirtiest I’ve ever been on a shoot. I get lifted up and slammed into the ground. And I’m doing it all myself, which is awesome.
But at one point, all this dirt ends up flying up. And I was like, “Nooooo! I don’t know if I want to do this!” Andre said he saw me go through about 10 different emotions all in that one moment. Then I had to do it over and over. And I have a fear of spiders, so I was like, “Spider check!”
I don’t know how I get to be a part of films. They just come on and keeping on messing me up. [laughs] They’re like, “Add more blood. Mess up her hair a little bit. How about some more burns?” By the time I get done…we’ll stop from one day and we’ll pick it up, and I’ll just show up just wrecked, just kind of like blood everywhere, bruises, burns. And I kinda prefer it that way. It gives it a lot of personality.
Does Angel Dust fight Deadpool as well?
Gina Carano: No. She tortures him. She’s in the creating process when he’s had his cancer and we’re now creating him and saving his life, but in a really brutal way. Have you guys gotten to go in there at all?
Gina Carano: Oh. Well that will explain a lot. [laughs]
Are there scientists?
Gina Carano: Yeah. Ajax did this to me, and now we do this to others. So, when you walk through there, you’ll see a bunch of people. It’s like a mental house. We just experiment and create these mutants. That’s probably my favorite arc, is that I get to be a part of creating Deadpool and making him what he is, him being like the coolest comic character and all. That’s a moment.
Tell us about working with Ed Skrein as the antagonists of this picture.
Gina Carano: Yeah. Ed’s so great. Ed wants to rehearse and rehearse and really go over every single beat. He’s always including our relationship. He thinks about everything while he’s got this page of dialogue. And I’m just sitting there like, “Hmm. Yeah. Glad I don’t have that paragraph! That’s a mouthful!” [laughs] He thinks about everything.
From the moment I met Ed, his energy is so good in just kind of thinking about all the different angles. It’s really been kind of a great experience, a learning experience for me, too. We went out for sushi when I got here, and you sit there at a sushi place and you are talking about all these weird things about torturing and creating superpowers. And you look over and you are like, “I hope nobody is listening, because we just like geeked out on this story.” You’re hoping people don’t listen in because you kinda sound a little crazy. [laughs] But it’s been such a good experience.
I’m in love with this project. There’s not one person that you’re like, “Oh, that one’s a little weird.” Maybe it’s me that’s weird. But there’s not one person that I haven’t enjoyed working with. I think in my experience with film, or fighting, or physical, or anything personal that definitely comes across on film.
Can you imagine staying in this world, play another character?
Gina Carano: I would love to. I honestly would love to. I’ve gotten to the point in life where I’m like… I used to stress out about what the next job was going to be. But now I’ve gotten to the place where it always seems to work itself out. As long as you are putting in the hard work, you are getting better, you are learning, and you are putting yourself out there, I think that things end up working themselves out.
Everybody on this crew, I think we’ve all really enjoyed working with each other. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m used to saying that for a couple years now. It will come. Whatever comes will come. If it’s another superhero or whatever it is, I’m into it.
Having read the script, what scene are you most excited for fans to see?
Gina Carano: I’m excited for them to see… When I read the comics, when I read Deadpool, I hear Ryan’s voice in Deadpool. You kinda feel like this is meant to be. Like he was meant to play this. This is his moment to shine. Whatever he’s been through in the Hollywood world of ups and downs, this is it. It’s so funny. But, at the same time, there’s some heart to it. I know they say that about a lot, but I really mean it. I really mean it with this script. You can actually feel it. I’m really excited to see Ryan shine.
He’s been in this business way longer than I have. So this is his baby. So I’m really excited for people to see Ryan as Deadpool. And I hope they notice the one with the crazy hair on the eyes that’s super quiet. They’re like, “Oh, interesting.” At least interesting. [laughs]
You mentioned Angel Dust’s different hairstyles in the time shifts. What about costume wise? What kind of gear does she wear?
Gina Carano: Well, this is the torture montage, so I’m pretty much wearing a jumper. It’s so funny. Everyone is like, “Is that your hair or is that a wig?” I’m like, “It’s mine.” I’ve got like two clip-ins barely. And then on the other one, Andre was like, “Where should I grab your wig?” I’ve got this massive Mohawk. I was like, “Andre, that’s my hair!” [laughs] He’s like, “Oh!” Then with the clothes it’s pretty much cargo pants and there’s a bustier, kind of like movie style fight scene.
But yeah, it’s pretty much what I used to wear when I was 16, 17 years old. So it’s not that big of a stretch for me. It’s cool though. The costume designer, Angus [Strathie], he’s incredible. He did Age of Adaline and now he’s doing this. I’m like, “Man, your range!” [laughs] To go from that to this… He’s a genius, and the sweetest man, too.
You always get a little bit nervous with costumes. And at first I was like, “Come on, Tim! Put me in this hot superhero…” He’s like, “No, Gina. You’re going with the boyfriend cut,” the boyfriend kind of like tomboy look, which then I kinda fell in love with. It’s like back to listening to punk music… you know, Nirvana. [laughs]
I hope you have a good rest of your day.
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.