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Marketing a superhero film creates a unique challenge for filmmakers: fans want to see the iconic costumes and masks, while studios want to capitalize on the star power of a lead actor. For storytelling purposes, most comic book movies have opted to try and find ways to show the lead actor’s face during action – see: Iron Man – or ditch a character’s trademark mask altogether – like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. According to Deadpool director Tim Miller, the upcoming film provides a unique occasion to keep the mask on without sacrificing the expression of the hero.
In a recent interview on Adi Shankar’s The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show, Miller elaborated on why Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool can keep his mask on:
If Deadpool were a different type of character, it would be difficult to portray emotion. … But Deadpool is running at the mouth the whole time. You almost don’t need to see his face because he’s telling you how he feels constantly.
Deadpool offers the opportunity for the filmmakers to keep their lead actor in costume far longer than the average superhero film. Wade Wilson is the Merc with the Mouth, so his constant ranting and breaking of the fourth wall will clue audiences into exactly how he feels about a given situation. Obviously the film will take him out of the suit here and there – primarily due to the fact that even with his "haunting" scars, Ryan Reynolds’ handsome game is still airtight – but compared to most other franchises, they have the freedom to keep Deadpool faithfully hidden under his mask.
Earlier in the interview, Tim Miller explains that non-verbal expression is important when utilizing a character like Batman because The Dark Knight speaks considerably less than someone like Deadpool. It seems that the more vociferous the hero, the less filmmakers need to show of their face. For example, while Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield often removed their Spider-Man masks in the climactic battles of their respective films, they still kept the Webhead’s iconic mask on for the majority of the time they were in character. Like Deadpool, Spider-Man verbally expresses himself during battle far more than the average brooding hero – although he keeps it considerably tamer for the kids. Even Neo-Batman Terry McGinnis – who has his entire face covered by his advanced Batman suit – cracked wise much more than his predecessor Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. Admittedly, that was animation and not film, but the principle certainly still applies.
Early promotional material for Deadpool seems to have already established that the film will maintain extreme fidelity to the comics. Keeping Ryan Reynolds under the red and black mask as much as possible only helps to solidify that reputation. You can check out Miller’s entire Bootleg Universe interview below.
Audiences will get a chance to see – or rather hear – how Deadpool feels about this when the film hits theaters on February 12 of next year.