While the popular version of the fairy tale surrounding the production of Deadpool has fan pressure inspiring 20th Century Fox to greenlight the project after test footage was leaked online, that is, inevitably, not the whole story. The fact is that if Deadpool had gone before the cameras in its original form, it would have been a wholly different kind of film.
It was a last minute demand from the studio, for $7 million to be cut from the budget, that created the Deadpool we have all been enjoying in theatres this weekend – because a requirement to cut an estimated 9 pages from the script necessitated some intensive creativity on the part of the writers of the film, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, as Reese explained to i09.
“Angel Dust, played by Gina Carano, used to be three different characters. It was Garrison Kane, Sluggo and Wyre. There was a reduction of action. We had a motorcycle chase between Deadpool and Ajax on the freeway that we took out. We had a big, big gun fight in the third act that we took out and we basically had Deadpool forget his guns as a means of getting around it. So there were just reductions.
“It was that last, lean and mean chop that got us to a place where Fox was willing to make it. The script was very efficient and not too long. That was a function of budget more than anything, but I think it really made the movie pace nicely.”
It turns out that the opening credits of Deadpool refer to Reese and Wernick as “the real heroes here” for a very good reason. Firstly, imagine if they had gone with Garrison Kane, Sluggo and Wyre, instead of Angel Dust. That would have left a total of one adult woman in the film – the damsel in distress. Now, the use of Angel Dust instead of those three male characters doesn’t exactly balance out the genders in the film, but it’s better than having just one solitary woman that needs rescuing. Plus, watching Gina Carano throw Colossus around is endlessly entertaining.
Then, there is the additional comedic value in Deadpool losing his temper, collecting “all the guns”, and then forgetting to bring them. The collection scene is great in itself, but the fact that he then realizes, on arrival at the scene of the showdown, that he left his bag of artillery in the taxi-cab draws some big laughs. It also serves to humanize the lead character, and then create a much more inventive final confrontation. Truly, we have had more than our fair share of third-act shoot-outs in action movies, and the need to cut this one out of the film actually makes it much stronger, and deeply refreshing.
So, far from being the big, bad, corporate overlord that inexplicably tightened the purse-strings on what was, essentially, a guaranteed commercial hit, 20th Century Fox and its budgetary caution actually inspired the improvement of Deadpool – thanks to the creative talents and determination of the team behind the project. Occasionally, it seems, business and art can combine in a way that benefits the audience.