״We always felt we were making something very special״
Warning! The following interview contains an addicting video. It took us about a month to get over "Deadpool Musical", and we don't even consider ourselves Deadpool fans!
We asked Michael Parker, who played Deadpool in this hilarious parody, to join us for an interview, and received many hugs and unicorns.
Michael, Deadpool Musical is impressive on so many levels: The writing, the acting, the stunts, the direction, the cinematography. How did you and Julian Higgins, who also directed, come up with the idea?
A Deadpool fan, I had just got a film-accurate Deadpool suit. I was thinking, “Hey, I have this great suit. Now what do I do?” And like Deadpool, Voice whispered “Gaston” into my head. I had loved the song since I first heard it in the original Disney animated feature. “No one… like Deadpool!” sang out to me.
I met Julian on the set of Star Trek Continues in August of 2016, where he was directing an episode of the award winning fan film series. In October, Julian and I had dinner in San Francisco one night with some of the Star Trek Continues cast. And after dinner, I told Julian about his idea. He loved it immediately.
Julian Higgins, Christopher Troy, and Michael Parker
After I threw some of my ideas to Julian, he said he had the perfect guy to write the script. Enter Paul Bianchi (writer/comedian) who wrote the script. From the open scene to the Marvel-esque after credit scene, it was R-rated poetry.
Of course, it was more than a musical, it was a fight scene. So I knew we need 20 or more stunt folks. No fight - no Deadpool the Musical. Julian pulled in stunt coordinator/fight choreographer Brian Danner. Brian loved the script and was all in.
Each gag was really a combination of building on Paul’s script, already a rich source, Julian coming up with great ideas, and Brian, from understanding of Deadpool’s character and how he fights. And everyone was a huge Deadpool, Marvel, and comic fan. It was one of those unique moments where everything fell into place at the right time. I have to give credit to Julian’s vision for the shoot and his editing, though.
The real irony here is when we started to do this, Julian and I had no idea there was a live version of Beauty and the Beast coming out in March 2017. Our original plan was to release in February 2017, a year after the original Deadpool movie release. Talk about synchronicity! When we found out about the live remake, we moved our release date.
Over 14 million views on YouTube and Facebook. Deadpool Musical
What was the budget for this amazing production, and how did you fund it?
It was not cheap, to be sure! Luckily, everyone recognized this was a passion project - our homage to what Ryan Reynolds and team had pulled off. So people helped us save where ever we could. That said, I funded the entire film myself. It was something I just wanted to create, and decided to just make it happen.
Michael, you're truly gifted. You won Best Performance of Fest at The Actors Awards LA for the flawless performance you delivered as Deadpool. How did you prepare for this role? Did you ever perform in front of a camera before shooting this?
Aw… you’re making me blush. And it’s not just the red of the Deadpool suit! I spent a number of years pursuing music when I was younger. My music has been used on MTV, ABC, and a few TV series. I switched to high tech, but have done a ton of video work, in front of and behind the camera.
Adam Critchlow, Christina Benthall, Monette Moio, and Jennifer Wenger
To get ready for the shoot, there were three areas of prep. First was working out. Deadpool is a physical role, and the suit is not forgiving. Even though I had a great stunt man, Adam Critchlow - who was very funny in his scenes too - I prepped physically. Lots of gym time and working out. Julian and I would discuss the physicality of the character. When you can’t see the eyes or facial expressions, there is a lot of body movement to the character to make sure we are making Ryan proud (he is the master, I am the student). Then there was the singing. That was just a lot of rehearsals, and I sent Julian recordings to make sure they were on target. Lastly, there was Deadpool’s voice. Now I’m not Ryan Reynolds, but I spent time listening to his approach, inflection, characterizations. Rehearsals before and on set to make sure the vocal approach was as accurate as possible.
Stunt team rehearsal
Deadpool Musical became viral very quickly. You basically made it for fun, but did you at any point anticipate so much love from the audience? Did you see it coming?
My goal was to hit 12 million views. This past week we cross 14 million view across all the YouTube and Facebook views.
Julian, Brian, Paul, and I always felt we were making something very special. Even on set, everyone kept saying it had the potential to go viral.
But the level of response was so much more than I had anticipated. I didn’t expect so many people to love it. In a world where being negative on the Internet is a given, we’ve had some of the highest % of likes and positive comments I’ve seen. And the press? That completely caught me off guard. From CNET to Comedy Central to Screen Rant to the Nerdist and so many more around the world, we never expected to get the level of positive mass media attention we’ve received.
Casper Van Dien, Julian Higgins, and Michael Parker
What's next for you, Michael, and what's next for Deadpool? Do you plan on creating for a sequel (or perhaps a prequel)?
What’s next? As Deadpool said at the end of the original movie, “OH! you're expecting a teaser for Deadpool the Musical 2? Well, we don't have that kind of money.” But... we have gotten A LOT of requests for a sequel or another parody. And Kira Knightley’s not in the new Marvel Deadpool movie, so… stay tuned!!
Michael Parker, Executive Producer