Marvel bad boy Deadpool's foul mouth, violent tendencies and fourth-wall-breaking disobedience might have made him a favorite among comic book fans, but these things have also unfortunately damaged his chances of getting his own movie from Twentieth Century Fox. Ryan Reynolds (who played the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine) is raring to go, as is director Tim Miller, but Deadpool is still waiting on a green light from the studio. The delay has been made all the more frustrating by the fact that the script for Deadpool, which was penned by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, leaked online back in 2010 and was generally well received by fans. Four years later and the script still hasn't been adapted, but now a new artefact from Deadpool's lengthy development past has found its way onto the internet.
A short action sequence, directed by Miller and featuring a CGI Deadpool with voice-acting and motion-capture by Reynolds, was leaked online a couple days ago, but is now available online in HD form. The test footage was filmed three years as a proof of concept for Fox, and while the studio apparently wasn't impressed enough to get the ball rolling, this short tease is pretty great. It begins with Wade Wilson sitting on a bridge doodling with some crayons, before dropping down onto a passing car full of criminals and dealing a generous dose of justice/murder.
Two things in particular stand out about the footage. The first is that the CGI Deadpool looks really good, and might actually be the best direction to go if the movie does get the green light from Fox. It allows for Deadpool's face to be slightly more expressive than it would probably be if it was instead Reynolds' face covered with leather, and for most of the sequence it's nearly impossible to tell that the character is animated rather than live-action. This should come as no surprise, since Miller's background is in visual effects.
The test footage also makes it clear that Miller, Reese, Wernick and Reynolds are serious about their vision of an R-rated Deadpool movie, with one of the bad guys getting dispatched under the wheels of the car and another getting beheaded by Deadpool and then used in a very undignified bit of puppetry. The pitch for the movie, according to the screenwriters, includes a prospective budget of around $50 million to allow for the smaller box office gross that R-rated movies generally receive.
Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has weighed in on the appearance of the video on Twitter, warning fans not to get too excited or to take years-old test footage as a sign that Deadpool is any closer to getting his own movie.
"To ALL who have enjoyed seeing the DP footage, enjoy it for what it is. Test's are done for films all the time and you have glimpsed process... But I hesitate to encourage your hopes on behalf of the fact that ALL Studios are run to the sound of their own particular drum... What would be more important to the bean counters at any studio are the spread sheets of the enormous Deadpool licensing Marvel generates... There is no doubt that a DP film would OPEN to an impressive number and be profitable. This is NOT Scott Pilgrim or Kick-Ass.
"DP is One of Marvel's TOP 3 popular characters of the last 20 years AND a prominent member of the X-MEN library-My 1 kernal of optimism... Is that DP will happen eventually, 5-6 years, and as frustrating as that sounds it would still be faster to screen that Spidey, X-Men and FF... Please just manage expectations, thats all I'm saying in regards to Deadpool. Nothing moves fast in Hollywood.... Except Divergent."
Liefeld added that (as has been rumored previously) Robert Rodriguez was offered the director's chair for Deadpool in 2010, but he turned it down along with another competing comic book movie project. Speaking to Daily Superhero, Liefeld also revealed that the plan for Deadpool was to have the character "operate as a... hybrid of live action/cgi."
Perhaps the positive fan response to the footage might be enough to spur Fox into taking a chance on Deadpool. If not, at least he got to have those two minutes of glory.
We'll continue to keep you updated on the status of a Deadpool movie.