Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick cared deeply about Deadpool. The two screenwriters behind Zombieland spent six years on the project, on and (mostly) off. Even when the odds of the comic book movie getting made appeared dire, they stuck with it, firmly believing in the character and director Tim Miller‘s vision. Once 20th Century Fox gave the project the greenlight, they wouldn’t pay to have “the real heroes” of Deadpool to be on set, but the film’s star and producer, Ryan Reynolds, was more than willing to pay them himself.
The budget for the R-rated comic book movie was reportedly around $60 million. That smaller budget, at least compared to most tentpole films, allowed the film to be more specific, but it also meant the studio wanted to keep costs low. So low, in fact, they didn’t want to pay for the screenwriters to keep polishing the script on the set.
To keep the project on the right track, and to maintain the original creative team on Deadpool, Reynolds, as the screenwriters said on AMC’s Geeking Out (via Comic Book), made sure they were a part of the process every step of the way:
We were on set every day. Interestingly, Ryan wanted us there, we were on the project for six years. It was really a core creative team of us, Ryan, and the director Tim Miller. Fox, interestingly, wouldn’t pay for us to be on set. Ryan Reynolds paid out of his own money, out of his own pocket.
For Reynolds, Deadpool was a longtime passion project. It only makes sense that, once the film became a reality, he would want to continue working towards making the best possible version of Deadpool. Keeping its writers heavily involved was surely one way of helping to ensure its creative and financial success.
When we interviewed Reese and Wernick earlier this year, it was clear they appreciated and valued Reynolds’ passion. They credited him for trusting them to play in their “sandbox for a bit,” and for keeping the Deadpool flame alive for as long as he did. The three of them, in addition to Tim Miller, will soon be back on set for Deadpool 2, and maybe this time around, it won’t be Reynolds paying Reese and Wernick, although the screenwriters have promised a sequel that’s not wildly more expensive or larger than its predecessor.
Deadpool 2 opens in theaters January 12th, 2018.