Six-time Academy Award viewer Ryan Reynolds was willing to put his money where his Merc with the mouth is to get a Bea Arthur reference in Deadpool. The film was made on a relatively shoestring budget of $58 million, with Fox turning down character after character for being “too expensive” until they settled on more obscure mutants like Angel Dust and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. The limitations spurred them to be more creative and worked out in their favor; the film broke records for an R-rated movie and has a sequel on the way.
Much of that success may come down to naked brawler Ryan Reynolds putting forth maximum effort. It was a definite passion project a decade in the making for Reynolds, and — as pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter and a recent commentary track for the movie spotted by io9 this week — he was so dedicated to getting one funny Easter egg into the movie that he put his own money and time into making it happen.
Deadpool’s obsession with Golden Girls star Bea Arthur (R.I.P. you silver fox) has been a long-running trope in the comics since 2004, and Reynolds wanted to wear a tank top with her likeness on it during the film. As seen in the picture above, the Bea Arthur reference made it in, but two obstacles stood in the way: Paying royalties on a small budget and getting her family’s blessing. Reynolds took care of both, giving $10,000 of his own money to an undisclosed charity and approaching one of Arthur’s two sons, whom he already knew, to get permission. The son, Daniel Saks, indicates to The Hollywood Reporter that Reynolds’ history of being a nice guy definitely helped:
“I was on Dharma & Greg on Stage 21 at Fox when Ryan was on Stage 20 doing Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. He was always a nice guy, and the fact that it was him gave it more weight with me and my brother, Matthew. We thought, ‘Why not?'”
Oh man, we hope when Daniel gave the permission, he told Reynolds, “Thank you for being a friend.”