Welcome to Commentary Commentary, our long-running series of articles exploring the things we can learn from the most interesting filmmaker commentaries available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Deadpool was a massive surprise of big laughs, big action, and little baby hands, but the sequel had no such buffer as it now had something to live up to. Happily, Deadpool 2 is an absolute blast, and the new Blu-ray features the fantastic theatrical release and an extended cut that’s arguably even better. It’s also loaded with extras including a commentary track on the theatrical cut featuring Ryan Reynolds, the director, and the co-writers. So I gave it a listen with my ears.
Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for…
Deadpool 2 (2018)
Commentators: Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
1. There was a debate as to whether Deadpool/Wade (Ryan Reynolds) should be smoking a joint or a cigarette in the opening sequence, but they went with the latter as its message is far more “I hate myself I want to die” than a joint would suggest.
2. They mention that as of this recording James Mangold (Logan) has not seen the film, so they’re unsure how he’ll take the dead Wolverine jokes.
3. Reynolds stole the “dead Logan” music box.
4. The music of Air Supply also featured heavily in Reynolds’ Van Wilder.
5. They once again use voice-over to open and close the film as it’s an easy way to get sentiment and emotion. “And cheaper than shooting exposition,” adds Reynolds.
6. The neon sign at 3:05 says “Dead Pool” or “Pool of Death” in Chinese. They’re not sure which.
7. Every line Reynolds says as Deadpool is repeated on film so the effects team at Weta can map the expressions onto the animated mask.
8. It was Reynolds who noticed the similarity between “Papa can you hear me?” from Yentl and “Do you wanna build a snowman?” from Frozen.
9. Much has been made of the film’s decision to kill off Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) in the beginning — a deserved complaint as killing off the girlfriend of a male hero as a way to power him forward is lazy and cliched — and their decision came down to one shared realization among them. “Deadpool works when you take everything away from him.” The idea is that he has to be the underdog, so while they had versions where they just broke up instead they ultimately went with her death. Meh.
10. The opening credits are meant as a pause of sorts between Vanessa’s death and the bar scene, and with the addition of the song choice the credits sequence became her funeral.
11. When Wade tells Weasel his Yentl/Frozen theory and says “but nobody fucking realizes it” one of them mentions how he always waits for the punchline that will never again hear the light of day. There was originally a joke there, but the studio “forced” them to cut it. “I was so heartbroken when they made us take it out,” says Reynolds. My money is on a John Travolta slam of some sort.
12. Reynolds wants to make sure people catch the quick gag at 18:31 of “The Cure for Blindness” being beneath the floorboards as a nod to a joke made in the first film.
13. The cigarette actually hits the camera lens at 20:34.
14. There was originally a suicide montage building up to Deadpool blowing himself up, but it was cut (and is now available in the extended cut).
15. The afterlife sequence with Wade and Vanessa was originally conceived to be filmed entirely underwater, so they built a set in the tank and tried it, but the water’s chemicals had negative effects on the actors. They scrapped it.
16. Reynolds can hold his breath underwater for a long time, and he credits his grandmother who “was in the Olympics for that very event, I guess I got some sort of weird genetic quirk from her.”
17. Taylor Swift’s cats, Olivia and Meredith, make a cameo on Wade’s t-shirt at the X-Men mansion. They had to get “actual written consent” from Swift to use it.
18. The brief shot of the X-Men having a meeting and quietly closing the door so Wade doesn’t see them was shot by Simon Kinberg while he was filming X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
19. They recorded this commentary three weeks before the film opened in theaters and on opening day for Avengers: Infinity War.
20. The bloody teddy bear was originally a bloody t-shirt, but Leitch suggested the bear instead. The others were unsure at first but came to love it as an image of innocence.
21. Wade breaking Cerebro at 27:14 was an unintentional accident. “You actually broke a historical X-Men prop.”
22. Black Tom (Jack Kesy) was originally a bigger part of the third act as a major villain, but while they filmed some scenes they ultimately decided to trim in back for both narrative and budgetary reasons.
23. “This is the toilet paper manifesto,” says Reese as the sequence featuring the two rednecks discussing the merits of Baby Wipes comes from his own belief that they are superior for cleaning rear ends. “He’s converted many of us.”
24. Reynolds pitched Matt Damon on playing the wet wipe redneck while they were at dinner together, and Damon was an immediate yes.
25. Reynolds misses a line cut from the scene where Wade asks Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) what the evil headmaster did to him. It’s a Skittles gag, it’s very funny, and it’s in the extended version.
26. Budget concerns prevented them from doing it, but Leitch conceived a sequence during the prison fight where everyone’s power dampeners were on the fritz and turning on and off — the fight would see powers coming and going resulting in mayhem.
27. Reynolds points out that Dennison is an athlete despite what some people may take away on a first impression. “He’s so good with physical comedy and action, I was just blown away by him.”
28. While discussing the soundtrack and its bevy of legendary female musical talent including Barbara Streisand, Cher, Enya, Pat Benatar, and Celine Dion, Reynolds wonders aloud how they neglected to make a joke in the movie about Streisand being Josh Brolin’s mother-in-law. “I don’t know how that was overlooked.”
29. Reynolds voices Juggernaut, but he credits “our dwindled budget.”
30. The actors behind the first iteration of X-Force — Lewis Tan, Bill Skarsgard, and Terry Crews — receive praise for agreeing to these abbreviated roles and for saying yes to shooting additional action beats they knew would never make the movie as they were intended solely for trailers.
31. Reynolds is “the mad genius largely behind” the character of Peter’s Twitter account.
32. When it came time to pitch someone on playing Vanisher Reynolds thought immediately of Brad Pitt and wrote him a long letter detailing the joke and asking if he’d be game. Pitt said yes and asked only for a cup of coffee as payment. They had met with him previously as a possible Cable (before the role eventually went to Brolin).
33. The X-Force deployment and subsequent death sequence was originally conceived to have them all landing in a minefield and getting blown to pieces, but they couldn’t justify why there would be a minefield. I’m not sure how that even reached the conception stage, but happily they went with a myriad of demises instead..
34. Stan Lee makes a cameo at 1:04:00 as a mural on the side of a building.
35. Leitch cameos as the mulleted prisoner at 1:06:00 being pushed off the truck.
36. They describe Domino’s (Zazie Beetz) action presence — making luck cinematic — as a “Final Destination/Rube Goldberg mash-up.”
37. Re-shoots gave them the opportunity to dramatically beef up the truck fights between Cable vs Domino and Cable vs Deadpool.
38. The gag where Deadpool stops Cable’s bullet with a sword and then uses both to “stop” multiple bullets only to realize they all made it through to his body was conceived by the stunt team. Leitch passed on it initially as being too comedic for a dramatic sequence, but when he showed it to Reynolds the actor found it hilarious.
39. They cut out a line where Deadpool says “Suck it Mel Gibson” after snapping his head back into place — a nod to Lethal Weapon‘s dislocated shoulder gag — but it’s added back to the extended cut.
40. Reynolds wrote the entirety of the toddler dick scene. “Shirt-cocking is a phrase I’ve heard my wife say.”
41. The shirt Wade’s wearing during the scene is the one Chunk wore in The Goonies. “I was so sad,” Reynolds add because Brolin didn’t even notice.
42. One of them asks how they got away with showing the toddler’s dick. “It’s my dick and balls,”replies Reynolds. “That’s how we got away with it.”
43. There’s a piece of Basic Instinct‘s score over the Basic Instinct gag.
44. The “kill baby Hitler” joke was originally a “kill Steve Harvey” joke. It’s clearly funnier, but they decided they didn’t need to be that mean.
45. “We have a rule that’s one fart joke per movie,” says Reese, before being devastated to learn that it’s been cut from the film. Like, he’s seriously upset. (It’s added back for the extended cut though!)
46. The song Deadpool plays on the tiny boombox was originally Chicago’s “It’s Hard to Say I’m Sorry” before being shifted to Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”
47. Juggernaut is Prof. Xavier’s brother? News to me although I’m sure many of you were already aware.
48. Wine does not have gluten in it despite Deadpool joking to the contrary after Cable says the teddy bear is dirtied by his daughter’s blood. The alternate joke from the scene is “Are you bear God, it’s me Margaret” which is restored for the extended cut.
49. Originally Firefist slapped the dampening collar onto Deadpool, but Leitch had the very smart idea that Deadpool should do it to himself.
50. The loss of red coloring in Deadpool’s suit after the blast from Firefist is a nod towards his ongoing transition into X-Force.
51. The score over Deadpool’s long death scene is the score from Wolverine’s death scene in Logan.
52. It was Leitch’s idea to add an end credits coda involving time travel. “I always sort of had an anxiety that we were killing Vanessa,” he says, so they shot this as a protection of sorts. They kept riffing on it and adding jokes atop the emotional catharsis.
53. When the “adjusted” scene from X-Men Origins: Wolverine plays Reynolds says “I tell ya, nothing felt better than this.” They retrieved the original dailies from the film so they could extend Hugh Jackman’s closeup.
Best in Context-Free Commentary
“There’s the Disney logo, and/or Comcast. We’ll see.”
“We love the Buster Keaton.”
“I love that Wade’s possibly the worst dresser on Earth.”
“We took out bitchin’?”
“Can we go back to the ejaculate in the soap dispenser?”
“Josh Brolin has let his body go.”
“I think my actual asshole was whistling.”
“The Proposition does have a wonderful Guy Pearce performance.”
“Here we have the much-debated longest death scene on Earth.”
“Everything in act 3 should be planned for and exist somewhere earlier. You should be paying stuff off almost every second of the way.”
Buy Deadpool 2 on Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon.
This is once again a terrifically entertaining commentary track that’s both very funny and very informative. The surprise here is learning just how many of the film’s most memorable beats were conceived by Leitch during production. That said, all four of them are clearly major players in the beauty that is this movie. Both cuts are worth watching, the disc is loaded with extras, and the commentary track is a must-listen for fans. Highly recommended.