Ryan Reynolds is now known as the star of the box office juggernaut and awards season darling that is Deadpool, but the Merc With a Mouth’s solo movie debut was not the actor’s first attempt to lead a superhero franchise. That distinction goes to 2011’s Green Lantern, which was an unmitigated critical and commercial disaster. Instead of launching a new film series, the project was dead on arrival. Things ultimately worked out in the end for Reynolds, but for a while it looked like Hal Jordan would be his lone shot at the comic book limelight.
Deadpool was very much a labor of love for Reynolds and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. They worked tirelessly to get the film off the ground, and all that hard work has paid off in an extremely rewarding way. But before Deadpool became the phenomenon it is, the movie infamously spent years in development hell. While that was undoubtedly frustrating for Reynolds and company, it provided them with plenty of time to fine-tune the screenplay and make it as strong as it could be. As it turns out, they were putting in time on Deadpool while Green Lantern was in production.
Speaking to THR on the Awards Chatter podcast (hat tip Heroic Hollywood), Reynolds talked about the very odd process that saw Reese and Wernick join him in Louisiana during principal photography on Green Lantern:
“The weird plot twist was, somehow, some way, Deadpool got reinvigorated at Fox while [Green Lantern] was happening. … What a lot of people don’t know is [writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick] flew to New Orleans and, while I was shooting Green Lantern, we were actually all together writing Deadpool.”
In what will come as a rather amusing development to many, Reynolds added, “We were breaking the story of the original Deadpool movie in a house that was being paid for by Green Lantern‘s dime.” It is important to note that this does not mean Reynolds wasn’t giving maximum effort towards Green Lantern. Filmmakers have worked simultaneously on two projects in the past. For instance, Steven Spielberg crafted the story for E.T. with Melissa Mathison while filming Raiders of the Lost Ark, and both of those movies earned Best Picture nominations. Whatever shortcomings Green Lantern has, Reynolds is widely perceived as one of its stronger elements and made for a convincing Hal Jordan. He had a lot riding on that film, and wanted it to succeed. Reynolds arguably did all he could on Green Lantern.
During the interview, Reynolds admitted he feared he would not be able to play Deadpool, regardless of what happened with Green Lantern. Fortunately, he was given a shot at superhero redemption and enjoyed far better results – including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Deadpool is now the most popular and marketable franchise at Fox’s disposal, and they have big plans in store for Wade Wilson and friends. This turn of events may be a bitter pill for WB to swallow (they basically paid for Deadpool‘s first draft), but now that their Green Lantern Corps. reboot is starting to get off the ground, the situation could be a win-win for all.