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DEADPOOL– Morena Baccarin Q&A By Joe Utichi – www.joeutichi.com
Morena Baccarin has captured the attention of audiences and critics alike for her moving performances across television and film.
Amongst the hallowed halls of the San Diego Comic-Con, she’s beloved for her work as Inaraon Joss Whedon’s enormously popular cult show FIREFLY(and its movie adaptation SERENITY) andAnna in V from Kenneth Johnson and Scott Peters.Garnering an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Jessica Brody on Showtime’s Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning drama series, Homeland, she can now be seen on Fox’s GOTHAM, based on the BATMAN series of comics.
On the big screen, she was most recently seen alongside Melissa McCarthy in Fox’s SPY, as Karen Walker, the all-too-perfect secret agent McCarthy’s character wishes she could be.
In Fox’s upcoming DEADPOOL, based on the Marvel Comics character created in 1991 by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, Baccarin plays Vanessa Carlysle, a former prostitute whose first encounter with Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson is a meeting of minds. She’s there for him when he’s diagnosed with terminal cancer, and sticks by him as he’s co-opted by the same Weapon X program that created Wolverine, which leaves Wilson permanently disfigured but impervious to pain and able to regenerate from his wounds.
Dubbed “The Merc with a Mouth”, Deadpool is a pop culture-literate antihero unique amongst comic book characters in that he can break the fourth wall and flip superhero conventions on their head. From New York, Baccarin explains why she fell in love with the character of Vanessa, and details the challenge of keeping up with Reynolds and delivering a different kind of comic book movie.
Vanessa doesn’t mess around. How much fun has she been to play?
It’s been so rewarding to know that’s been the case. When I read the script, I was like, “Finally, a girl in a movie who’s not just like, ‘Save me!’”. She’s struggling a little bit when they first meet. She’s a prostitute who has come upon some hard times, but she’s a survivor. She’ll do whatever it takes to survive. She meets Wade in a bar and some guy smacks her ass. She really gives a damn, and Wade is sort of taken aback. They start talking and they just connect over their mutual dark humour. Her ability to keep up with his shtick makes it love at first sight for both of them. They have this immense chemistry together.
The film plays with the very notion of cinema and its tropes. Was that an element that appealed to you?
For sure. It plays with every convention. We break the fourth wall, and we don’t care who we’re offending. The jokes they’d come up with on the spot… I was like, “Oh god, can we really say that?” They’re like, “YES.” It was so fun to be in a movie where I didn’t have to edit myself or worry about what I was doing. As a female, to not be like, “I have to be proper, or a certain way,” you know, it was really fun to just let it all go.
It’s a very meta read on the damsel in distress; in many ways she’s a lot more capable – and probably saner – than Wade in the movie.
For sure. [laughs] She’s definitely saner than Wade. But I think she likes his crazy, and she says in the movie, “Your crazy matches my crazy.” It’s true; they just fit together. The proposal scene was so fun. We had a couple of hiccups on the day; trying to figure out how to keep it funny but still tell the story of two people who have fallen in love. In order for some of the humorto land and be brutal, you have to feel a deep connection there. We wanted it to be funny but still have a couple of serious moments in there, and it feels like we got a little bit of both.
How did the role come to you?
I auditioned for it, just with some sides because they didn’t give me the script right away. I met with the director and we hit it off, so I tested for the studio. At that point I got to read the script and was thrilled it was so good. [laughs]
How quickly did you find the chemistry with Ryan?
It was relatively quick. The day we tested, we rehearsed first with Ryan and it really solidified it. At that point it was one scene, and it didn’t take long to learn, so by then I was sick of it. When we finally shot that scene, I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t do this scene anymore.’ So it was fun that we got to reinvent it together on the day.Ryan was just incredibly fun and so hard-working. Every scene we tweaked and perfected and really worked-on on the day.
There’s lots of GREEN LANTERN references in the script for Ryan. Did the script change at all when they cast you?
No, my character stayed pretty much as she was originally. We tweaked some scenes and put in some moments, but nothing major changed.
Half of the lines in the movie aren’t in the script. Did you enjoy the improvisational aspect?
At first it was terrifying because it’s tough to keep up with Ryan Reynolds. He’s the funniest, quickest human being ever. But then you just go with it and allow yourself to relax into it. Once you’ve got the character down it becomes really fun. There was a lot of freedom and you start to have ideas and want to play around with things.
The project has been in the public eye for so long, and you took the movie to Comic-Con, which I imagine wasn’t a first for you…
Not even a little bit. [laughs] I’ve been there far too many times! To be honest with you, I haven’t had a lot of interaction with the DEADPOOL fans yet but am looking forward to it. The only stuff we got to do with the DEADPOOL audience was screen the trailer, which had a phenomenal reaction. It went really well. I haven’t yet had any one-on-one moments with them, like I have with SERENITY and FIREFLY. I have a feeling the DEADPOOL fans are going to be a bit like Deadpool. Not too serious and completely unabashed.
I remember the outpouring of love that greeted SERENITY a few years ago, and I get the sense that DEADPOOL fans are similar in their passion for what they love.
I know, SERENITY was crazy and something I’d never experienced. You’re right, with DEADPOOL it feels there’s a built-in audience of people you don’t want to let down, and there’s already a lot of anticipation for it.
This is Tim Miller’s debut feature. How was he to work with?
Tim was really amazing considering how much he was juggling. If you hadn’t told me beforehand that he was a first-time director, I wouldn’t have believed it afterwards. He was really with it and gave us really great notes on set. We loved teasing him, because he’s the kind of person with no filter. Whatever goes into his brain comes out of his mouth. You’re like, “Did you just say that out loud to me? We’ve only known each other 24 hours…” (laughs).
You’ve had an eclectic and varied career, which is a rare gift. Has it been hard fought on your part to find these kinds of fully-developed roles?
I feel that I’ve been lucky, but it’s no coincidence that the majority of work I’ve done has been genre-based stuff. I think the majority of strong female characters are in genre movies and shows.
Why do you think genre roles are the ones getting it right?
Genre is a made up universe and it’s a world where you can put on paper what you would like to see reflected. I think there’s more need and desire for more interesting female roles. With realistic things, it’s somehow harder to put that out there. I don’t want to be all kumbaya about it, but I think it is gradually changing. There have been several articles in The Atlantic and The New Yorker about women working more and earning more, and I feel like it’s slowly changing. There’s always a lag, though, between that change happening and it actually being seen.
What is actually next for you?
GOTHAM. I’ll be busy with that until March of next year. And then maybe DEADPOOL 2 – you never know!
Video -Trailer Link :
DEADPOOL– Ryan Reynolds Q&A By Joe Utichi – www.joeutichi.com
Ryan Reynolds knows a thing or two about comic book movies. His first flirtation with the medium was BLADE: TRINITY in 2004, by which point the Canadian actor had established himself as movie star thanks to a breakthrough turn in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VAN WILDER.
It was his role in 2009’s X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE that first put Deadpool on his docket. The Marvel Comics character, created in 1991 by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, made an appearance at that film’s finale that was supposed to set up a standalone movie, but given his comic book alter ego was dubbed “The Merc with a Mouth,” it was a surprise to fans that his mouth was sewn shut for his climactic battle with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.
Reynolds’ love for Deadpool never abated, though. Indeed, doing the character right meant having a chance to atone for mistakes of the past: Deadpool is unique amongst comic book characters for being aware of his place in the superhero mythos. He can break the fourth wall, and is regularly shown reading issues of his own comic book and commenting on the pop culture of the day.
Directed by Tim Miller, DEADPOOLtells the origin story of Wade Wilson (Reynolds), whose terminal cancer is ‘cured’ by the same Weapon X program that created Wolverine, leaving him permanently disfigured, but impervious to pain and able to regenerate from his wounds.
Expect plenty of wry humour in the movie, directed at Reynolds’ own experiences in the comic book world, which also include turns in GREEN LANTERN and R.I.P.D. The first teaser, which debuted at the San Diego Comic-Con, came with a knowing voiceover: “From the studio that inexplicably sewed his mouth shut the first time, comes five-time Academy Award viewer Ryan Reynolds…”
From New York, ahead of the release of the movie, Reynolds talks about his love of the character’s self-deprecation, and the long journey to bring him to the big screen in his own movie.
Where does your interest in this character begin?
The comics were sent to me in bulk in 2004. I read them and loved them. I loved this character and couldn’t believe I didn’t know about it already. I became a little obsessed with the idea of him, too – the idea that he’s meta and breaks the fourth wall, and he’s self-loathing and self-deprecating. I was pretty fascinated by it. But I think most people just didn’t know what to do with it, because it was kind of obscure and odd and a very weird thing to turn into a movie.
Finally, we were given a little seed money from Fox, who paid Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to write a DEADPOOL script. We all locked ourselves in a room for four or five weeks and hammered out what the story would be.
And then it just stalled again, until they gave us a little more seed money to make a short presentation, which is what leaked online and that was what got this movie made. And the studio said, “You’re going to make your movie, but it’ll be for the catering budget of most superhero movies.” We said, “Fine, let’s go. We’ll figure it out.” Since then it’s been about putting every last penny on the screen, and here we are. The studio let us be, and everyone’s been really supportive.
Isn’t it true that in the DEADPOOL comics, the character had suggested you as the best person to play him in a movie version?
Yeah, and there was another comic where it said he looks like a cross between Ryan Reynolds and a Shar Pei. [laughs] There’s been a weird, pleasing symmetry between the comic and the movie, and it predates my involvement with it.
There’s a lot of self-deprecation in the movie, and GREEN LANTERN is a topic that comes up more than once. Was the movie therapy for you?
It was, and the studio has been surprisingly alright with all our X-MEN and WOLVERINE references. I find you can always take the piss out of someone as long as the subtext is you’re taking the piss out of yourself, too. The movie doesn’t ever really pick on any one public figure without alternatively taking a stab at Ryan Reynolds.
It takes a brave actor to put themselves through that.
I mean, I started in this industry not taking myself seriously, and I think I recognized early on – at 19 years old – that that’s what got my foot in the door. I liked having my foot in the door, so I wasn’t going to stop doing that. I’ve never taken myself very seriously, and there’s lots of material there to make fun of. [laughs]
Was the movie always going to be the origin story, and was Ajax always going to be the villain?
There were certain characters we wanted and couldn’t get. It all comes down to licensing, and Marvel owns certain ancillary characters. We did have Garrison Kane at one point, too, but Ajax was just sort of perfect. He fed into the origin story we were telling and allowed us to create a fully fledged-out movie. But there are little Easter eggs with other characters that may or may not show up down the line.
Was it challenging finding the structure of the movie?
Well, it’s a very fractured narrative, which is always a tricky thing to try to do. You’ve got to go back and forth and let the audience know we’re going back and forth. Luckily, we’ve got a character who becomes severely disfigured, so when I’m not disfigured we know it’s the past. But it gives us a lot of freedom, and the comics have been a huge inspiration for the writers and me and everyone else involved.
At what point in the process did Tim Miller come on board as director?
Tim came on shortly after the first draft of the script had been written. We’d met with about ten directors, and a couple of other guys were attached briefly. Tim just kept coming back with all this passion, but people would say, “He’s never directed a movie before.” He kept saying, “I can do this, I can do this.”
I think his great strength is recognizing he’s never directed a movie before. I’ve worked with some first-time directors that act like they’ve been to this big show before and they haven’t and it can be really frustrating. Tim asks for help when he needs it, and that’s the most you can ever ask of the guy on his maiden voyage. He’s smart enough to rely on his crew and that’s a very wise quality. I’d have been terrified if he was walking in there like he owned the joint.
You’ve said Deadpool will be the last comic book character you play. Is that still how you feel?
Oh yeah, I’ve had my spin around that merry-go-round more than I probably should have, and I feel DEADPOOL is something I’ve wanted to do forever, so it does to a certain degree feel a bit like a homecoming to me. And he’s not a superhero, he’s an antihero and something completely different. It speaks directly to the comic book audience, and I’m for that, 100%. If it were a traditional superhero movie it wouldn’t be for me. They wouldn’t hire me, let alone me putting my hand up for it. I’ve done it, I’ve played that kind of character, and it’s time for someone else to do it.
In a way, it feels timely the movie is coming out now. Deadpool feels like a bit of an antidote to all the superhero movies we’re seeing these days.
Yeah, and that’s why we’re actually happy it took so long to get made. It’s coming along at a perfect time. I don’t know if audiences are fatigued by superhero fare, I think that’s subjective. They’re still coming out to see them in droves. But regardless, they’re fluent in this language now, and it’s a great time to be able to put out DEADPOOL because it’s going to speak directly to that language.
Are you hopeful you’ll be able to spend a little more time with this character, though, in future? He’d be odd to see pop up in an X-MEN movie…
Yeah! [laughs] He’d be calling Wolverine ‘Hugh Jackman’, so it’d definitely mess with the universe to a certain degree. But there are certain characters within the DEADPOOL universe that I feel could work for a future movie. I guess I could be so bold as to say that Cable is one of the core group of DEADPOOL guys that I’d love to see brought to the screen.
Given all the talk about the way women are represented on screen at the moment, Vanessa in this movie is a delight, and Morena Baccarin has brought a real spark.
I think there must have been three hundred people or more who came in for that role, and with Morena, she just knew right away what to do. She’s really great about ensuring she doesn’t play the damsel in distress in a movie, and she carries that attitude with her the whole film. She’s a delight for everyone, and the whole crew was sad to see her go when she finished up her scenes.
What kind of comic chops did TJ Miller bring?
There must be a thousand lines that are in the movie that aren’t in the script, because on the day we just explored, and TJ is just a genius. He’s one of the funniest people I know and he steals this movie. He’s so funny and so watchable and I just wish he were in it more. We had days where there’d be 15 alts to every joke, and it started to drive Tim crazy because he’d start yelling, “I can’t match any of this. I can’t match it!” You can’t just change everything, but we certainly made the crew laugh.
And I have to say, at the end of the day, Fox did not expect us to be the most functional set they had going, but we finished on time, on budget, and it was kind of a shock to them. We don’t know if that was a good sign or a bad sign. We were like, “What do you mean, we could have gone over? We could have spent a couple more million bucks?” [laughs]
Thanks & Regards-Suresh Chandra