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Production on 20th Century Fox’s adaptation of Deadpool is pretty far along, even if they did take a break for all the characters to hitchhike to San Diego Comic-Con. That doesn’t mean there’s not room for more additions, however, as the news just came out that actress and singer Leslie Uggams is joining the cast as Blind Al.
The news hit the web on Uggams’ personal website, and indicates that the Tony and Emmy award-winner has started filming, presumably on the Vancouver, BC, Canada set. There isn’t much more available than this in the way of details, but the character is a key figure in the comics and, if nothing else, adds even more mayhem and strangeness to what already promises to be a chaotic cinematic world.
Blind Al, who is also known as Althea or Blind Alfred from time to time, shows up in the comics living with Deadpool in his San Francisco house, the Deadhut. If you guessed that living with Deadpool takes a special kind of personality, you’re right. At first their relationship is unclear, but when it comes into focus is just bizarre. A former member of U.K. intelligence, though her exact role is hazy, she is a war hero who actually fought alongside Captain America.
When he was still plain old mercenary Wade Wilson, he was hired to take her out, but for some reason he killed everyone else at the base she was stationed at in Zaire and let her live. After he gets cancer, goes insane, acquires a healing factor as part of the Weapon X program, and becomes the Deadpool we all know and are terrified of, he runs into Al, kidnaps her, and things get weird. She’s alternately a prisoner, housekeeper, friend, butt of his cruel jokes, and pseudo mother figure, among other roles. She’s one of the Merc with the Mouth’s few confidants, and though she’s technically his prisoner, which calls their whole dynamic into question, they’re very close.
While this is the first news that specifically mentions Blind Al, it isn’t the first time that reports we’ve heard have made us think she may be involved. A few months back there was a casting call for a movie ultimately revealed to be Deadpool searching for a an African American woman between the ages of 60 and 80 with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and great comedic timing. Fans of the comics immediately guessed this was for Blind Al, despite the fact that she’s always been portrayed as a white woman in the comics.
As an actor, Uggams is best known for her role in Roots in 1977, but she’s also a noted stage performer and singer. In an on-stage career that is now in its sixth decade, she has appeared in everything from Magnum P.I. to Nurse Jackie.
Deadpool is currently filming, and we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see if they reveal anything big at their panel at Comic-Con. The movie hits theaters February 12, 2016.