It may not be apparent to audiences gobbling up his many viral videos, but Deadpool is a softy. In his movie (opening Feb. 12), Ryan Reynolds’ sarcastic motormouth always has a clever quip – or 12 – at the ready. As in the comic that bears his name, Deadpool is aware that he’s in a pawn in a superhero universe.
But the film goes even deeper into self-deprecation: At one point, Deadpool is talking about society’s obsession with the superficial and deadpans, “Do you think Ryan Reynolds got this far on his acting abilities?”
Yet he says that while resting his head on the shoulder of a sightless elderly woman named Blind Al (Leslie Uggams). When he tells her “I love you” later in the film, it’s not meant as a punchline. He also loves ’80s pop rock groups like Wham! and Juice Newton’s soft rock classic “Angel of the Morning.” The tenderness might seem paradoxical, but like the character, Deadpool’s first-time director also has an soppy, sentimental streak.
Tim Miller spoke to EW last year about making Deadpool and became verklempt while describing a conversation with Reynolds. “I was a first-time director and I made no bones about saying that sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing,” Miller said. “So I had no problem going, ‘Hey, everybody, help me out.’ And Ryan was just so generous in doing that. At the end of the first week I said to Ryan, ‘How do you think we did? What do you think about the stuff that we shot?’”
Miller paused, all choked up. “He looked at me and, uh, I get a little emotional thinking about this. Because Ryan had this look on his face and he said, ‘Tim, it was the single most satisfying week of my acting career.’”
Regaining composure, Miller explained with a laugh: “What can I say, I cry easily.”
He’s not alone, however. The project had been so long in development, suffering setbacks until test footage was mysteriously leaked in 2014, that emotions on the set ran high.
“I’ve shot 40 something movies and Tim hadn’t shot any,” Reynolds told EW last year. “But what he lacked in experience he made up for in heart and ingenuity. And my voice will crack, too, just talking about it. And we all, this core creative group of guys, had the exact same vision. And I don’t think I’ve ever been on a set where that feeling was so true. It was amazing to be together.”
Reminded of his character, though, Reynolds added, “I mean, that said, we all had moments where we wanted to turn each other into a liquid.”