Deadpool: the anti-hero with a foul mouth

Interview: Ryan Reynolds flips the superhero genre upside down with his post-modern take on a man in a rubber suit. 

February 16, 2016

Deadpool is not your usual superhero movie. Yes, there’s a man in a suit who’s good at punching things, but that’s as stereotypical as things get. Take the movie’s tagline for example, which is a riff on Spider-Man: ‘With great power, comes great irresponsibility.’ 

Canadian star Ryan Reynolds plays the wisecracking Wade Wilson, a Special Forces agent who’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. In an effort to cure him military scientists expose him to experiments that give him super powers – and a twisted mind.   

Reynolds has been linked to the project for 11 years and admits, “I never thought it would get made.” Such commitment is perhaps surprising considering his other forays into the world of Lycra resulted in flops such as Green Lantern, and Blade: Trinity. 

Divorced from Scarlett Johansson, Reynolds, 39, is now married to movie star Blake Lively with who he has a daughter James. 

Deadpool the man
“The character and the world inhabit a space in the Marvel comic universe that is unlike anything else. He’s a character that’s aware he’s in a comic book, which is amazing. It’s incredibly pop culture relevant. 

“I love the idea that there’s tragic character, this guy who had terminal cancer, he was dying, but he was given this second chance and he’s an anti-hero in the truest sense of that term. And he’s funny. He’s much funnier than I am. He’s acerbic and a little bit of a head case. But he’s also not trying to be liked. He’s intentionally trying to annoy everyone.” 

Giving back
“One of the great pleasures of playing Deadpoool was inviting a lot of the Make a Wish kids [onto the set]. They connect with the character because he’s a guy who has cancer but he’s never let it stop him. It was amazing to see their faces when you walk in wearing that suit.” 

Marvellous Marvel
“Marvel handles those properties really well. They really know what they’re doing, and they know how to appeal to a vast audience in a way that also has some real artistic merit.” 

Superhero past
“Playing Green Lantern was difficult in certain respects, one of which is that there was no identifiable Green Lantern suit. It was created in post-production by computer graphic artists.”

Superhero future
“Would I play Batman? God no! We all want to be Batman alone at home in our Batman pyjamas but I have no desire to play any other superheroes after this. I’ve punched that superhero card a few times now. But hopefully we’ll get to do Deadpool again.” 

deadpool ryan reynolds stan lee.jpg Ryan Reynolds with 'the man who made Marvel' Stan Lee.

Career choices
“I made a lot of choices that were driven by the word 'should’. But the ones that are most satisfying are driven by the words 'I want’.”

Fickle fame
“I really feel for the younger stars, those 19 to 20-year-olds who are coming in to fame and fortune. It’s easy to laugh at them and poke fun, especially because they are obscenely privileged, but at the same time, what they’re dealing with can be pretty dangerous. We see people fall victim to it and have their lives destroyed.”

“I don't have that kind of swagger in my life. My insecurity-to-confidence ratio is 90:10. I can kind of turn it on, but it's not me.” 

Running the New York marathon
“That was incredibly tough. I would never do that again, no way. I don’t know how people do marathons. What’s wrong with them? I would rather run that entire thing on my face, it hurts your feet that much.” 

Having three older brothers
“When you're the youngest of four aggressive males, your defence mechanism isn't going to be your fists – it's going to be something else. My mind is the thing that got me through it without too many broken bones. One of the reasons I started performing was just to get out of the house.” 

Fatherhood tips
“The one piece of advice I would say is: don’t listen to any advice. Because there’s nothing you can do to prepare for it. There is something of a relief to it, that you’re not the centre of your own universe any more and there’s something nice about how trivial all those other little things you used to lay awake at night worrying about become. I think there’s something beautiful about that, and that’s not something I was expecting.” 

Being a geek
“I wouldn’t say that I’m a cool guy, but I’m no geek either. I’m pretty geeky in my obsession with gadgets. When I got my first iPad, I started picking the thing apart, testing it out, trying things out – and then I looked up and realised it was, like, four days later. I had a beard, I’d lost 3lb, I had nails like Howard Hughes.” 

deadpool ryan reynolds wife blake lively.jpg Reynolds is married to movie star Blake Lively with who he has a daughter.

Deadpool opens in UAE cinemas on 18th February.