America loves Deadpool…at least based on box office numbers. But the titular superhero doesn’t necessarily have warm feelings for the franchise’s star. “I feel like Deadpool can’t stand Ryan Reynolds,” jokes, um, Deadpool 2 star Ryan Reynolds of his unfiltered, uncouth superpowered antihero. “He can’t defend the decisions he’s made, right down to, like, the shirt-tie combo. I feel like he just doesn’t agree with Ryan Reynolds’ DNA.”
And yet Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool and the focus of this week’s EW cover story. The actor is the face of the film series and also one of its most passionate creative forces, including co-writing Deadpool 2 with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. “Ryan is the keeper of the Deadpool flame,” says producer Simon Kinberg (2019’s Dark Phoenix). “It’s extraordinary how much he fully invests in Deadpool.”
It’s not hard to see why: Deadpool premiered in February 2016 to $132 million, quickly becoming not only the second-highest grossing R-rated film domestically after The Passion of the Christ (a fact used for comedy in Deadpool 2) but also a new franchise for Reynolds and Twentieth Century Fox. “Going in and making a sequel is intimidating. I never planned on doing a sequel,” says director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde), who stepped in after Tim Miller helmed the first film. “But to have the opportunity to do Deadpool is different in that the world is so fun and irreverent you can kinda go anywhere.”
Deadpool 2, opening May 18, finds the titular red-suited assassin otherwise known as Wade Wilson battling time traveler Cable (Josh Brolin); protecting a fire-wielding mutant youth named Russell (Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison); assembling a motley crew of mutants he calls X-Force, an offshoot of the X-Men; and encountering a smorgasbord of superhero and celebrity cameos. Says Reynolds, “The first movie is a love story masquerading as a comic book movie, and this one is kind of a family film masquerading as a comic book film again.”
One thing that hasn’t changed much is Deadpool’s suit. While other superhero films have featured upgrades to the costume, Wade’s red suit is pretty much as is. “It was like a soft system update,” admits Reynolds. “You know, when it’s like your phone gives you an update, but it’s only like [the] font or something. It’s not going to give you some awesome thing. It was kind of that. My shin guards are shinier. I mean f—, who cares. Nothing that allowed me to find my penis within 20 minutes when I had to pee. No, nothing like that. God forbid we should just put a normal f—ing zipper in it.”
EW talked to Reynolds, 41, about the sequel’s secrets, the franchise’s future, and, naturally, the importance of Barbra Streisand’s Yentl. Get a look at the cover below, and for more on Deadpool 2 pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday.