Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Ryan Reynolds first became interested in playing Deadpool when he saw a joke in a Deadpool comic about Deadpool looking like Reynolds.
The journeys that actors and actresses take on the way to iconic roles can often be quite circuitous. Just look at Harrison Ford’s two most famous characters, Han Solo and Indiana Jones. Ford wasn’t even supposed to try out for Han Solo, gaining the role while working as a scene partner for other actors trying out for the roles of Luke and Leia. Heck, he was making more money as a carpenter at the time than as an actor. Then he only got the role of Indiana Jones because CBS decided to hold Tom Selleck to his contract to make the TV series Magnum P.I. instead. Few actors, though, had quite the journey that Ryan Reynolds had on the way to playing the title character in the blockbuster 2016 film, Deadpool.
The initial discussions about Reynolds in the role took place over a decade ago and had a disastrous shortcut of Reynolds playing a bizarre version of the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.
But what were the origins of Reynolds’ interest in the character? A legend has sprung up that Reynolds was inspired to play the character based on a joke that appeared in Cable and Deadpool #2 (by Fabian Nicieza, Mark Brooks, Shane Law and Chris Stevens). He told Latino Review back in 2009:
“Ya, I love the character. I’ve always loved the character. I remember reading one of the Deadpool comic books, and somebody asked Deadpool what he looks like. And he said he looks like a cross between a Shar-Pei and Ryan Reynolds. And I was like, I really, really wanna play this guy at some point. I thought it was pretty cool. It’s a guy that knows he’s in a comic book. How hard is it to shoot that properly? That’s not something they put in Wolverine nor would it belong in that universe.”
So is that the origin of Reynolds’ interest in playing Deadpool? Read on to find out!
It does not appear so, no.
In February of 2004, hot off working with Reynolds on Blade: Trinity, screenwriter and producer David S. Goyer explained to IGN:
I want to do something else with Ryan Reynolds because I really loved working with him and New Line wants to do something else with Ryan Reynolds and Marvel wants to do something with Ryan because there aren’t a lot of actors anymore that can do credible action and be funny and that are also good actors. Ryan, I think, coming out of this movie and I know it’s a lot to say will sort of be like where Mel Gibson was coming off of Lethal Weapon. He can do it all. He never thought he could do action, ever. And he was in here last week with his girlfriend and I showed him some cut-together action stuff and said, ‘Can you believe that’s you?’ And he said, ‘No, I cannot!’ So, Deadpool came up as a possibility. We would completely reinvent it. We can’t connect it to Weapon X or anything like that. We’ll see.
So that’s February 2004.
Cable and Deadpool #2, with the Ryan Reynolds (by the way, interestingly enough, Reynolds’ name is spelled “Renolds” in the comic, likely an attempt to avoid using a real life celebrity’s actual name) joke?
That came out in April 2004.
So while I am certainly not saying that Reynolds did not get a kick out of the joke in the comic and I’m certainly not saying that it did not have an influence in him continuing to want to play the character, it was not the initial spark, as that had occurred by the end of February when the IGN article came out. Reynolds in 2009 mis-remembering two events that happened a couple of months apart five years earlier is very easy to believe.
Anyhow, I’m going with the legend as….
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.