How Ryan Reynolds almost didn’t become the Deadpool we know today

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Before he was the over-smart and wisecracking Marvel anti-hero Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds tried many things—mushy romantic comedies to action films. Yet, none of them mirrored his off-screen personality as much as Deadpool did, though he did witness bursts of commercial success, accompanied by numerous disappointments.

Prior to the R-Rated Marvel film, there are a handful of memorable Ryan Reynold’s films—-probably enough to be counted on five fingers. He played a supporting role in Blade Trinity, and the film was slammed universally for its trite themes and formulaic action sequences. His glimpses of comic timing were spotted in the romantic comedy The Proposal, opposite, Sandra Bullock, as an employee trapped in a pretend-marriage with his boss, who he later falls in love with. Yet, Reynolds had set his sights on the character Deadpool, and the first incarnation of the character was in X Men Origins: Wolverine. The character was so off track and outlandishly wrong that Reynolds continues to express regret about filming scenes for the film, even today.

In the X-Men film, we meet Wade Wilson who has been genetically altered with a pool of dangerous abilities. The character is a far-cry from the one we know today, and what was worse that Deadpool’s mouth was sewn shut. Fans were rather baffled, as Reynolds had been vying for this character for a while. Later, Reynolds told Jess Cagle during an episode of Sirius XM Radio, that it was his fondness for the character that had prompted the makers to come knocking at his door with the offer, and they had already built a certain version of Deadpool in their heads. ”
Reynolds Ryan Reynolds as the first incarnation of Deadpool (Photo: 20th Century)
“I was already attached to the Deadpool movie,” Reynolds explained. “We hadn’t, at that point, written a script yet. But that came along, and (I was basically told), ‘Play Deadpool in this movie, or else we’ll get someone else to.’ And I just said, ‘I’ll do it, but it’s the wrong version.’”

Two years later, Reynolds became Green Lantern, his first shot at being a superhero. The film bombed spectacularly, and was a disaster on all fronts. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2016, he told them, “With Green Lantern, I don’t think anyone ever figured out exactly what it was.” He continued, “It also fell victim to the process in Hollywood which is like poster first, release date second, script last. At the time, it was a huge opportunity for me so I was excited to try and take part in it.”

After the Green Lantern debacle, it looked as if Reynold’s version of Deadpool would never materialize. Ironically, a short test reel was commissioned by Fox executives in 2012, and that changed the fortunes of Reynolds. Director Tim Miller, who had previously created a few Iron Man-centric short animated films for Marvel Studios ahead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via Geek Tyrant), was given a minuscule budget to produce a short scene explaining his vision for a Deadpool feature, according to The Hollywood Reporter. However, the film wasn’t given the go-ahead, not at first. In 2014, it was leaked online and received enormous praise from fans, which forced the studio to reevaluate its position.
Ryan ReynoldsRyan Reynolds Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern (Photo: DC)
It’s still unclear who leaked the footage, though we have a hazy idea. Reynolds later told Jimmy Fallon in 2016, “There’s four of us (who could have leaked the footage): me, (screenwriters) Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and Tim Miller, the director. We all said at the beginning that someone should leak it, so the idea was planted, but I’m 70 percent sure it wasn’t me.”

Reynolds got his revenge in the Deadpool films by continuously mocking the Wolverine film and even tried to rewrite history in the second film, that released in 2018, where Deadpool shoots the 2009 version of himself in the credits.

With Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds strode into public consciousness and his past sins were somewhat erased or rather forgiven, as he somewhat used it to his benefit. Reynolds continues to laugh about Green Lantern and X-Men Origins’ Deadpool. He is so closely associated with the present character Deadpool that even when he’s giving interviews as himself, you just hear Deadpool talking. Filmmakers have now cashed in on Reynolds’s snark and wit, as it makes for some sharp comedy too.  Reynolds was last seen in Free Guy in 2021, which received rave reviews.

It took a while to get here, but Reynolds has established himself as one of the leading actors in Hollywood.

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