Interview: Atomic Blonde & Deadpool 2 Director David Leitch

James McAvoy in Atomic Blonde
James McAvoy in Atomic Blonde

Is there any song that you really wanted to get in, but really quite couldn’t fit it in?

DL: No, there really wasn’t. We had a lot of support from the artists on this and I would say I pulled back a contingency about the money in the budget as it was done independently, we didn’t have unlimited studio resources. I was really frugal about keeping my fantasy music budget left because usually at the end of post on an independent movie you are like, well, we spent every penny but I was like no. What about the music? Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. So we had a significant amount left and then when I put the soundtrack in the first test screening, Focus Features came on board and sort of matched what we had left and bought the rest of the music, which was grateful and doesn’t really happen in the independent. Usually they go, score it! They understood what we were doing and that was what was great about working with them.

Is there any interest in making an extended universe? How cool would it be for John Wick to team up with Lorraine?

DL: (Laughs) It would be great! I get this question once in awhile, and I think it’s just more their time period lines. I would absolutely do it. Maybe there’s a time we see versions, or there’s uh, you know, the other real fantasy is that maybe there’s a project with both, that a new idea. You know, that Charlize and Keanu could..., a story that we could have with the same action space and we can see them either partner up or go toe to toe.

What did you learn from John Wick that may have helped you with Atomic Blonde

DL: I think what I learned from John Wick it really pays to stick to your guns and to make these bold choices that speak to the marketplace. I mean, no one wanted us to kill a dog. It was a real fight. And no one wanted Keanu to have a beard and no one wanted him to have a suit. And like everyone was trying to take out this world building and then also want it to be the emotional heart of the story. You are constantly impeded by this advice that is against your instinct and it is okay to entertain those ideas as a director. I think that is important that you hear all the ideas and you be the filter. God forbid you wouldn’t want to hear a good idea. I think it’s also important to stick to your guns and when you have a bold and provocative vision, there is a reason for you to go for it because it’s hard for you to break through the noise in the actual space. There is a lot of programmers and they feel the same. It’s okay to make bold, original choices. If they are out of convention, it is probably a good idea.

Atomic Blonde features an empowering female character, and I know you got another one coming up in Deadpool 2, and that’s Domino. She’s an expert martial artist, she has the ability to alter probability fields - in other words, she’s really lucky. How do you plan on showing that on the screen?

DL: (Laughs) We’re excited to play with that idea in choreography. I’m not going to give you how it’s all going to play out. As a choreographer, having a character with her abilities is really a trick. I think at first it seems like a problem. Like oh my god, how do you demonstrate luck? And then you just see it like, oh, this is the coolest opportunity ever, so we’re really excited and we’re creating really great stuff for her character.

One of the big characters that’s been talked about it Cable. How much of the actual origin of Cable do we get to touch on in Deadpool 2?

DL: Look, I think besides all of the Deadpool, sort of the film universe Deadpool, you kind of have to be selective of like how you approach these characters because there’s a canon of work that’s so massive that you could never put it all on screen. So we’ve been really particular what we’re going to put in and what we’re going to leave for potential future if it goes that way and, uh, I think you’ll like it. It’s all in the spirit of canon, and also in the spirit of like what Deadpool the movie is.

There was a short film or the little short that played before Logan that you did with Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. There were a lot of little Easter eggs. Were some of those in there to toy with fans? 

DL: (Laughs) I think um, the Easter egg world in Deadpool is so fun and that’s apart of the mystery, right? You can think about those favorite characters and fantasize about how they’d be portrayed in future incarnations of Deadpool and if they show up, they show up, but I don’t… I can’t… I don’t want to give you any hope either way.

Last question is a fun question. Desert island scenario - who would you want to be stranded with? John Wick, Deadpool, or Lorraine?

DL: Wow. That’s a hard question. Well, I like them all. They are all invincible. So I think if you had to fight any animal or as far as protection, you are going survive. But I think Deadpool is going to make you laugh and it’s hard to beat that. When you know you are facing impending doom, it’s fun to laugh about it.

Next: Atomic Blonde Review

Key Release Dates
  • Atomic Blonde (2017) release date: Jul 28, 2017
  • Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
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