By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist January 16, 2012 at 10:40AM
Having essentially created the modern-era superhero movie with Bryan Singer's "X-Men," Fox seemed to dominate the genre in the last decade thanks to their mutant franchise, which went from box-office strength to strength to begin with. But three years ago, things started to go pear-shaped, with the badly received spin-off "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," and this year's semi-reboot "X-Men: First Class" ended up with the lowest box-office returns since the original. As such, whereas the studio were once gung-ho about multiple spin-offs and sequels to the series, talk has calmed on many of them.
One of them: "Deadpool," the adaptation of the popular, scarred superpowered bounty hunter anti-hero, played, in bastardized form, by Ryan Reynolds in 'Wolverine.' A more faithful script was comissioned from "Zombieland" writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and, after a number of directors were courted, VFX artist Tim Miller was hired to direct the project last year. But with the tarnish off Reynolds' potential A-list status when "Green Lantern" tanked last summer, things have seemingly cooled on a project that once seemed to be a priority.
Or has it? According to Bleeding Cool, the character's co-creator Rob Liefeld was at the Amazing Arizona Comic Con last weekend, and said that pre-production seems to be moving ahead swimmingly on the film, and it promises to live up to the sweary, gory origins of the character. In fact, there's already a substantial chunk of test footage done on the film.
Liefeld told the crowd, as per the video below, that "They’ve got a great director on the movie, they’ve got a great script. I may or may have not seen some sort of test of footage that would blow your mind if you saw it and go holy crap and that’s Deadpool in costume. Katana swords, guns, shooting people’s faces off and making me laugh. And I may or may not have seen something that looks just like that. And you’ve got what would amount to the first R Rated X-Men movie. Because that script is R Rated. They may or may not have wanted to shoot eight minutes to see how it would play. And all I can tell you, it’s close. It’s closer that it’s even been to going, or going Naaah, that’s too scary a proposition to make a R Rated Deadpool movie.”
As Liefield says, the character has to be R-rated in order to placate the fans burned by his appearance in 'Wolverine,' but that's the thing that also makes the film a tricky box-office proposition; studios will never take an R when a PG-13 will do. Furthermore, with Reynolds in two flops last summer, it'll take the success of "Safe House" and "R.I.P.D." to make Reynolds a safe proposition in the part (although, it's possibly worth noting that Liefeld doesn't mention the actor once). But clearly the studio are taking things seriously enough to finance eight-minutes worth of test footage, and if it's everything that Liefeld says it's cracked up to be, we may be seeing a greenlight on the project sooner rather than later.