Deadpool 2 is not your typical superhero movie. It’s full of R-rated gore and language, plus all sorts of mutant mayhem. One of the film’s climactic battles has Colossus vs. another CGI character who will make X-Men fans happy. Even though it’s two CGI characters, director David Leitch of John Wick fame still got to choreograph them.
“That was really an interesting experience for me,” Leitch said. “As a fight choreographer and a stunt coordinator coming up in the business, I like to work with real stunt guys and choreograph that way. That’s how we approached that fight in the third act. There’s a lot of analog rehearsals with stunt people. We did some motion capture. We had the animators help and take over from there but it is fun and liberating in the CG world because you can literally do anything. It’s fun that way.”
Another striking fight scene features a full speed Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) dispatching henchmen, while his target runs away in slow motion. Leitch explained how they did it.
“That shot in the meth lab, there is a technical achievement,” Leitch said. “It’s a motion control shot. The camera rig shoots two passes of the action, one at one frame rate and one at normal frame rate. So we did a pass with Sergei first at 48 frames. Then we do a pass with the background action and then we line up the two takes together. It’s a real tricky logistical puzzle to get everything on stacks and working and timed and comping those two layers together. That shot took an entire day of rehearsals and photography.”
Deadpool movies can also have fights that don’t need to be badass. Leitch said it’s a similar exercise crafting a comedy fight.
“You’re building a rhythm and a timing,” Leitch said. “It’s often like telling a joke. You’re building up rhythm and you’re finding that perfect beat to pull the rug out. That’s what’s fun about Deadpool. We can have fight scenes that don’t have to be over the top and so bombastic and violent, but then we can also have them. I think the tone of Deadpool can literally go anywhere, and then you can always bring it back to this core emotional story that he’s going through. It’s so fun in a Deadpool movie how many tones you get to work with, how many palettes you get to work with.”
You might think that because Deadpool wears a mask, they can add lots of jokes with ADR. Leitch said most of the masked dialogue sticks to the script.
“No, the script came in and it was so strong, we often had a hard time beating it with alts or improv,” Leitch said. “There are moments of things that we changed that actually moved the needle in a positive way, but man, there’s a lot of the original. Look, I love the mask and it was fun in post to find those moments that heightened it, but I can’t stress enough how strong the original material was. We’d always go back to it, like man, it’s hard to beat that joke.”
One addition to the script was a title sequence that spoofs the animated titles of James Bond movies.
“That was something that wasn’t in the script,” Leitch said. “There’s a moment where we kind of needed to have a moment for the audience to breathe. As I put the movie together, you feel like we need a breath here. It felt like a late title sequence might work for that. I had worked in some storyboards and pitched a sequence that could land there, and then we looked for a thematic song in the spirit of a Bond movie that worked for the arc of our characters.”
Deadpool 2 opens May 18.