Here, frozen in time, in the back seat of an exploding Cadillac Escalade, a hyper-violent tableau takes shape. In what can only be described as some unholy marriage of the Three Stooges and a Michael Bay movie, battered bodies fly in all directions, engulfed in a shower of spit, blood, and broken glass. Why is Deadpool in this ridiculous predicament? Don't worry, he'll explain.
First of all, congratulations on the amazing success of the film. Everything is very positive! I keep forgetting I won this one. We hit a moment. But it feels good. Director Tim Miller blocks out a scene with Ryan Reynolds on location in Vancouver So when we first reached out to the team last year, you mentioned that you had a great idea for the Deadpool opening sequence but that it was ultimately a question of budget.
Where was the development of the title sequence at that point? Just the temp version I had done in a few days. We originally had to cut the title sequence from the visual effects budget. So Franck tell us about the genesis of that early version. Was it in the script? Yeah, it was in the script — at least the very first one that I read. It was actually pretty clear: It was this frozen moment with one of the thugs and the lighter coming out of his mouth. Then we reveal that Deadpool is in there and it switches back into real-time, and into the movie.
Deadpool red band trailer Franck: It ties into the big action scene at the beginning where Deadpool jumps into the car and you have this whole freeway sequence and car chase. I mostly started working on the title sequence because we were going to lead into this at some point anyways.
So we needed to figure out where these characters were going to be in the car and what this static moment was going to look like. So we just started posing the characters, not even working on the camera moves. I did a really quick pass of what the titles could be, but then we put it on hold because for budget reasons.
Once it was greenlit, we started working on the title sequence in October  and we had a couple of months to complete it. The funny part was that, at the time we started the title sequence, no one had been cast except Ryan Reynolds.
But we needed placeholders for the rest. Original title sequence test previs designed by Franck Balson Tim: The generic names just struck me as very funny. The writers obviously loved the sequence since it was their concept, but they especially liked the idea of fake titles — the whole movie is very meta and that was super-meta.
Well, thank you for recognizing writers as the real heroes out there! Did the meta credits create any issues? It was an issue that was discussed, but it ended up not being a problem because no one had real credits. Yeah, but it ended up really being a big help on the production side. You know how these things work, there are all kinds of rules about the size of the credits type relative to the other actors, the time on screen. If we had to adhere to real credit rules, it really would have forced us to design it differently.
How was the sequence mapped out? Did you create a storyboard or simply work from the previs test? It was only previs actually. Boards are still a great tool but they only get you so far. In the context of this, where everything has to do with the placement of objects, you can discover so many things, those happy accidents, by working in this concrete computer generated world.
Deadpool main title previsualization Franck: So we went straight to previs. The earlier version was actually a little bit different.
The first try was a pullout, it started the same way but the idea was to reveal Deadpool much later. View 4 images Image set: Visual effects shots produced by Blur Studio for the main film Could you talk about the importance of timing in the sequence?
How did you handle that? With lots of iteration. It was actually quite tricky. It was surprising how much it affected the way the movie played! We were trying to find the right balance. So it was more of a reductive process. We had more jokes in there initially, but it felt cluttered. So we pulled it back.
It has a lot to do with the pacing. The more you have on screen, the more your eyes are kind of moving around not knowing what to look at. So as Tim was saying, we removed about half the gags we had in there originally just to make sure people enjoyed the ones we wanted to hit. Then you need a beat on each one of them. The beats in between them, where you had nothing, were almost as important as the beats where you could see something, so that you would have that time to register.
The screenings were actually a great tool to be able to see what made people laugh. The screenings were so informative. You get to see when and where the audience laughs.
And the magazine cover gets a huge laugh Only at a certain spot though! This is a fake title sequence! That was my bad idea. I thought since it was so abstract that we should let people get a sense of what was going on first. Oddly enough that worked well for the comedy later on.
It seems obvious, but I discovered that when people understand the plot they laugh easier. But for some reason that rule was reversed on the titles and showing the magazine earlier when things are still abstract worked best. As Franck said, it gives everyone permission to laugh and lets them know that the whole thing is going to be a joke.
Working with previs and VFX seemed to afford you a lot of freedom on this sequence. Were there ever any conversations about doing the opening as live action? Coming out of the game cinematic world I was actually very comfortable with an all CG process. So we had quite a few discussions about how best to accomplish this piece. I believe the way we did it was the right way. View 7 images Image set: Main title sequence visual effects process examples Franck: We barely had time to scan and properly photograph the stuntmen because they were already spread out across the world.
But considering the amount of changes we had to do to make the timing work, The flexibility an all-CG approach allowed us was essential to be able to finish it in the time we had. It must have helped that many of the 3D assets needed for the sequence had already been created by Atomic Fiction , the VFX company that worked on the freeway scene, right?
We got their assets, but we did need to rework them for a few reasons. They were always wide shots or action shots, so you could get away with a lot of stuff. We have to adapt it to our purposes, which usually involves adding more detail. Did it take any convincing to get Ryan Reynolds back into those green underoos? The number of iterations on this card was insane! Yeah, it was a delicate situation. Yes, Doctor Killebrew is the guy in the comics that runs the Workshop.
Was the goal just to find the most antithetical piece of music to pair with all the murder and mayhem or what? Did you have any other songs in mind?
Juice Newton has been in there since day one. It was in the script. It was always in there. Other songs came and went, but that one never changed. It was in the test footage as well. The writers and Ryan are just a compendium of 80s and 90s pop music — they just love that shit!
I think everybody gets a smile at the contrast of hardcore thugs off to commit murder and mayhem listening to Juice Newton.