We already knew Fox wanted Deadpool to be a mid-budget film, considering the inherent risk that comes with making a hard-R comic-book movie. But it seems that budget got a whole lot leaner at the midnight hour.
To promo Deadpool’s opening tomorrow, the film’s co-writer Rhett Reese chatted with io9 about the project’s long development cycle, which included a script leak, a test footage leak and myriad fan campaigns to keep the project just outside development hell. Not surprisingly, the rewriters were myriad, but Reese said the final rewrite might’ve been the toughest.
With the film’s budget inching closer to a point where Fox felt comfortable to pony up the cash, Rhett and co-writer Paul Wernick received word that $7-8 million needed to be axed from the budget with about two days to secure an official green light. So they got to work — and actually pulled it off (swimmingly, if the reviews are to be believed).
So, how’d they do it? Here’s Reese’s breakdown:
“Angel Dust, played by Gina Carano, used to be three different characters. It was Garrison Kane, Sluggo and Wire. There was a reduction of action. We had a motorcycle chase between Deadpool and Ajax on the freeway that we took out. We had a big, big gun fight in the third act that we took out and we basically had Deadpool forget his guns as a means of getting around it. So there were just reductions…
We had to carve something like $7-8 million out of the budget in a 48-hour window. And we, as a group, just put our heads together, got creative, and said ‘How do we cut what is essentially nine pages out of a 110 page script?’ It was that last, lean and mean chop that got us to a place where Fox was willing to make it. The script was very efficient and not too long. That was a function of budget more than anything, but I think it really made the movie pace nicely.”
Basically, they used the irreverent Deadpool tone as a weapon and let the quirkiness tweak the narrative enough to make the cuts feel natural. Which is pretty brilliant, really, when you’re dealing with a character like this.