Deadpool is undeniably a superhero movie that changed the game: Dirt cheap at $60 million, it’s made more than ten times its budget, and as one of the first R-rated superhero movies, proved that you don’t have to play nice to do well. It’s done so well it’s easily eclipsed the last time Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But somebody finally tracked down director Gavin Hood and asked why it went wrong the first time.
Hood, in the interview, is surprisingly diplomatic about the whole thing. Really, this sums it up quite well:
You know, when he did the little cameo bit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was exactly what we’ve been talking about. It was the studio attempting to plug in a few characters and test the waters…They had to make it R rated, but can you imagine if they were trying for PG-13? I just don’t think it would have worked. Which is not to say that other films shouldn’t be PG-13. Of course you want that huge audience. But you’ve got to be very careful that you’re not torturing the material to fit a particular marketing strategy, and that’s what they didn’t do with Deadpool.
It’d be easy to throw Hood under the bus for one of the least popular X-Men movies and how it mishandled the Merc with a Mouth, but Hood, who has the movie Eye in the Sky in theaters, has opened up elsewhere about it, as well, and it seems to have been more or less a nightmare from the word go. Part of the reason the script is so terrible is that it couldn’t be rewritten: X-Men Origins: Wolverine was made during a massive writer’s strike in Hollywood, so they were stuck with the script they had before the writers walked out. Hood rather politely refers to “certain parameters set by studio heads,” instead of making reference to problems like, say, the head of the studio ordering a set repainted without Hood’s knowledge. Apparently, the title was changed and nobody even bothered to tell Hugh Jackman about it, let alone Hood.
He’s got a sense of humor about it: He notes that the movie bought him a house. And he’s effusive in his praise for Deadpool, singling out not just Ryan Reynolds, but the production designer, Sean Haworth. Still, we’re left wondering what might have happened with Deadpool if Hood had been allowed to make the movie he wanted.