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Swimming in a murky (Dead)pool

June 14, 2010 |  7:02 pm


Although his "Machete" has been generating some hot buzz, Robert Rodriguez has been riding a little bit of a cold streak lately. The "Sin City" auteur didn't set the world afire with his suburban fantasy "Shorts." And "Grindhouse," the exploitation experiment on which he collaborated with Quentin Tarantino (Rodriguez directed the "Planet Terror" half of the bill), fared worse.

But Rodriguez's stock remains high at Fox, which is distributing "Machete," as well as the Rodriguez-produced "Predators." High enough, in fact, that the studio is interested in hearing what Rodriguez would do with a big new property, its comic book movie "Deadpool," in which Ryan Reynolds plays the mouthy Marvel mercenary.

Some development-board rumors over the weekend that had Rodriguez "offered" the job led to numerous Web outlets running with the story Monday -- using euphemisms such as "approached" and the more concrete "offered" -- to describe Rodriguez's involvement with the Rob Liefeld adaptation. Sources say the director has indeed been sent the script (penned by the writers of "Zombieland") but has not been extended an offer.

Indeed, it's hard to imagine why Fox would put pen to paper on a deal this far ahead of the release of "Machete": Rodriguez has some options but he's not that hugely in demand.

Would the filmmaker make a good "Deadpoool" movie? Certainly the fan sites that have breathlessly been reporting the Rodriguez news are intrigued. And any time a quirky auteur with an accomplished movie under his belt is given both a dark character and mula to play with, it's worth paying attention.

But there are also reasons to pause at all this. As a character, the dark superhero is becoming a little less interesting by the movie; a dark superhero movie increasingly turns on what you do with that character as opposed to the novelty of the premise itself. And Rodriguez's best film had the benefit of drawing off far richer source material in "Sin City."

Don't get us wrong. Rodriguez would be an interesting choice. But there are other directors who show as much vision and versatility. Producers know this, and the Rodriguez-inclined Fox probably knows this. And Rodriguez himself may, judging by some of what he's taken on lately, move away from the comic book adaptations. We'll believe a Rodriguez "Deadpool" -- and a strong Rodriguez "Deadpool" -- when it's in front of us on the screen.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Image: Deadpool. Credit: Marvel Comics

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Comments () | Archives (4)

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If Deadpool isn't "R" and crazy I'm not watching it. That character is great, but I'm not sure how he will fare as the main guy in a hollywood movie. If they camp it up and try to make him good it will be awful.

Yes please, get Rodriguez to direct Deadpool!!!

I grew up reading Deadpool in New Mutants, X-Force and his own title -- which was irreverently written by Joe Kelly with Ed McGuinness art -- so I am the final word on this. Dealpool is "Merc with a Mouth" so some level of camp is to be expected, JokerOC. What I don't want is some super-serious take...that would be contrary to the essence of the character. Truth be told, the bloom is off the rose with the superhero flicks, I felt that Kick-ass only lived up the word after the hypen in its title and Iron Man 2 was a waste of time. Let Deadpool lie fallow for a few years and bring him to the screen after the inevitable backlash against comic adaptions -- which starts as soon as Jonah Hex TANKS.

Rodriguez could pull off a great Deadpool flick. I wonder just who else you have in mind.

Webslinger48 is right that there is some sort of camp that just goes along with Deadpool. You can't make a Deadpool movie without camp without disappointing the core fanbase. Being exaggeratedly self-aware? Breaking the fourth wall? Ragging on your creators? That's what Deadpool does!...(while perpetrating bloody violence).

Zeitchik and Webslinger48 are right about the bloom, too. Increasingly, the superhero premise will not sell a movie--not because of over-exposure, but just because there have been so many bad superhero movies.

They may still make money from the portion of movie-goers that put down cash for shiny, moving objects, sure, but the portion that exhibits a capacity for critical judgment--and does sway the other portion somewhat--needs you to do something with the superhero premise, dark or not, and make it enjoyable in one way or another--especially as we move beyond the front superheroes to the mid-range.


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