Whenever a movie is a resounding success, each facet of the filmmaking process – from the screenwriter to the director to the actors themselves – all try to stake a claim as to why critics and the movie-going public alike showered it in praise.
In recent memory, Deadpool served as just such a film. It was seemingly long-anticipated for some, while at the same time an unexpected gem for those unware that a subversive and foul-mouthed super hero even existed.
But who deserved the greatest amount of credit?
Was it screenwriters, Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, who spent years on the project and were instrumental in establishing the tone?
Was it first time director, Tim Miller, who cut his teeth as a visual affects/creative supervisor, and brought to life action sequences that perfectly toed the line between comic book absurdity and real world stakes?
Or finally still, was Ryan Reynolds’s titular portrayal which truly took the Deadpool character from the abomination that he was in X-Men Origins to being the hero who was at the center of the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all-time and restored the reputation of the “Merc With a Mouth?”
Well, it seems we’re going to get a chance to find out who was the most vital component after the announcement that Miller wouldn’t be returning as helmer after it was widely-believed that he would assume the post for the sequel.
Initial reports pointed to a rift that developed between he and Reynolds over the rumored casting of Kyle Chandler as Cable, the time-traveling hero, with whom he and Deadpool shared a comic book starting in 2004. Ultimately, the studio sided with Reynolds.
Additionally, Screen Rant speculated that “Miller’s overall vision for Deadpool 2 was said to involve exploring the bigger facets and more unusual realms of Deadpool’s place in the X-Men universe, whereas Reynolds’ vision favored a focus on the first movie’s raunchy comedy and self-referential satirical sensibilities.”
Thus, it is believed that Miller wanted three-times the budget of the original $58 million USD film.
Regardless of what the true breaking point was, Tim Miller is done with the Deadpool franchise and leaves as glaring a hole in leadership as when Christopher Nolan bid farewell to his Dark Knight trilogy.
To borrow a tired sports metaphor, it’s “next man up.” With Fox banking on as successful a sequel as the original, they now find themselves in the position where they have to decide if they should give the gig to an established name, or someone more under the radar like what studios did in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World.
Here are 10 directors – both known and more obscure – who could take Deadpool 2 to new heights.
Yes, this is probably the most unlikely choice given Quentin Tarantino’s track record for focusing on wholly original content unique since he decided to adapt Elmore Leonard’s Jackie Brown for the 1997 film of the same name, and hasn’t returned to adaptations since.
Yet, a change.org petition with nearly 12,000 signatures exists that pleads for Tarantino to brand the Marvel universe and Deadpool with his white-hot style of justice, arguing, “Quentin Tarantino is the master of writing dialogue, and Ryan Reynolds is a master of delivering dialogue. Tarantino makes ultra-violent movies where you love the characters, with horrible language, sexy women, and a villain you will NEVER forget. Tell me Marvel doesn’t need another one of those.”
Rob Liefeld, who teamed with Fabian Nicieza in 1991 to create Deadpool, talked about Quentin Tarantino-esque similarities to the tone and style of the first movie while it was in production.
“Deadpool’s pretty hardcore; it’s pretty awesome,” he said. “When I first read it, I thought ‘This is the voice of Tarantino in a comic book movie,’ which is perfect because Deadpool is more crime-oriented, action-oriented, obviously, and Tarantino has got a great sense of humor.”
Despite Tarantino’s aforementioned affinity for directing his own source material, one can never rule out anything for the auteur.
Some of the hallmark aspects of Deadpool were that it was completely self-aware, and that it injected humor into superhero genre that had become increasingly serious.
Edgar Wright is the rare director who understands that popcorn fare should first and foremost entertain the audience. With films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz under his belt – which provided a unique point-of-view about the zombie apocalypse and the buddy cop genre – he was also already approved by Marvel brass for 2015’s, Ant Man, although he dropped out citing creative differences.
For Marvel, he’s the one that got away. And now that the studio has broken up with its boyfriend, it’s very easy to rekindle a romance with an old flame.
David Gordon Green
Wade Wilson is a big personality who is unapologetic, crass and unafraid who he might offend. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he’s basically Eastbound and Down’s Kenny Powers in red spandex.
The person responsible for the well-received HBO series, David Gordon Green, has shown that he is unwilling to be pigeonholed with his later projects. In the last two years, he has tackled politics in Our Brand is Crisis, continued his absurd tone in TV with both Red Oaks and Vice Principals, and has an upcoming film, Stronger, which chronicles the Boston Marathon bombing which could position him as potential Oscar hopeful.
Having dabbled in various genre fare, David Gordon Green is the type of filmmaker who studios believe can handle a large budget, but also takes pride in keeping audiences on their toes.
When Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele announced that they were ending their successful Comedy Central show in 2015, they were well-aware that the general public would always view them as a partnership, saying, “It was just time for us to explore other things, together and apart. I compare it to Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. We might make a movie and then do our own thing for three years and then come back and do another movie.”
During their hiatus from working in tandem, Jordan Peele has proven to be capable behind the camera with his forthcoming horror film, Get Out, which uses the common anxieties of meeting the in-laws with sharp criticism about institutional racism in this country and begs the question, “What if Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner turned into a thriller?”
Peele’s approach feels new and exciting particularly because he has found a way to make an overdone genre like horror feel new and exiting by not only placing an African-American lead in the center of a world where that particular demographic is often the first to die, but also because of the topical relevance of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Although minority female filmmakers are vastly underrepresented in Hollywood, Marhane Satrapi has carved out a niche with films like Persepolis, Chicken with Plums and The Voices. The latter film – which starred Ryan Reynolds as a man who has a psychotic break and begins hearing his pets telling him to commit murder – was a wholly unique concept which proved that Satrapi is unafraid of exploring humor in otherwise tense and dramatic segments.
David Frankel is best known for his work on The Devil Wears Prada which went on to gross over $300 million USD worldwide. Based on the book of the same name by Lauren Weisberger, many have said that the film is the rare occurrence where that medium actually outshines its print partner.
Whoever fills Tim Miller’s shoes has the pressure of not only the first film, but the comic books as well. In turn, the director needs to honor these past successes but also have the gumption to make strategic narrative choices that will make the sequel feel like an expansion of the world as opposed to just a retread. Frankel was applauded for his adaptation because he turned a good idea into an even better movie.
According to Mashable, John Wick director, David Leitch, has emerged as the so-called “frontrunner” for the Deadpool vacancy, noting “Leitch has history with all of the parties involved, including Reynolds, as he was the action coordinator on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which introduced the actor as Wade Wilson. And John Wick, the Keanu Reeves 2014 cult hit, was extraordinarily popular with the genre crowd that is the foundation of Deadpool’s fan base.”
Additionally, his next slate of films after handing off John Wick 2 duties to Chad Stahelski include two graphic novels; Cowboy Ninja Viking starring Chris Pratt as a counter-intelligence with a multiple personality disorder, and Valiant’s acclaimed comic book, Bloodshot.
Set to make her directorial debut in 2017 with Rock That Body starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz and Demi Moore, Lucia Aniello cut her teeth in the comedy realm as the one of the principal directors for Comedy Central’s Broad City.
While it may seem like a bit of stretch, Deadpool is a comedy with action elements, not the other way around. This is particularly true because Fox has committed to keeping the budget for the sequel relatively the same as the first – meaning that the character isn’t in the business of fighting other worldly creatures or stopping the obliteration of mankind like his Marvel counterparts, The Avengers. Rather, Deadpool is driven by his flawed, human tendencies.
When you think of action films with unexpected packaging, look no further than Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle which one could argue established a template for flawed superheroes using comedy as one of their most viable weapons.
If you needed any further proof, Bill Murray has said of the film, “Kung Fu Hustle is the supreme achievement of the modern age in terms of comedy.”
Much of Stephen Chow’s filmography could be interpreted as parody. Fom Beijing With Love mimicked Bond films, Shaolin Soccer took on the sports genre, and The King of Beggars took on mythical kung fu.
Deadpool is undoubtedly a critique/parody on the superhero genre and Chow would absolutely nail it.
Patty Jenkins is already slated for a huge 2017 after completing Wonder Woman for DC. The gig itself was a byproduct of a decade of work that included 2003’s Monster – which earned Charlize Theron a Best Actress Oscar – and helming the pilot episode the AMC’s criminally underrated series, The Killing.
“The first meeting I had with Warner Bros. after Monster, they were like, ‘Great what do you want to do?’ And I was like, ‘I want to do Wonder Woman,’” said Jenkins. “There was a period of time where people were scared to make a female superhero movie, and a Wonder Woman movie in particular. There was an apologist attitude about how do we make her super hard and impressive? And I said, you have to make her universal.”
Yes, it would be hard to see a director flip-flopping from a DC project to Marvel. However, Marvel was nearly her first choice after they offered Jenkins the vacancy for Thor 2.
- Featured/Main Image: Fox Movies