A Salute to the Hero Who Leaked the 'Deadpool' Test Footage


With Deadpool already earning raves from critics ahead of its much-anticipated opening on Friday, it’s worth taking a moment to remember just how much of a fluke it is that this R-rated superhero flick exists at all.

Originally developed at New Line Cinema, the movie found itself stalled at Fox after Ryan Reynolds made a brief appearance as the Merc with a Mouth in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And then, in mid-2014, it suddenly got the green light. The game-changer, as Reynolds told Yahoo Movies back in February: "Leaked test footage, 100 percent.“

That summer, footage leaked of an action sequence that Reynolds, director Tim Miller, and some collaborators shot as a proof-of-concept several years prior. It hit YouTube, and after the raucous fan response, Fox gave the film the high sign — and clearly didn’t request all that many changes. As writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick told Yahoo Movies, the final film is about 70 percent of their original script, and that leaked scene looks a whole lot like a major action set piece in the movie that fans will see this weekend.

Related: ‘Deadpool’ Screenwriters Go Deep: X-Men Choices, De-powering Copycat, and All Those Sex Jokes

"Honestly, we all thought Tim Miller had leaked it,” Reynolds told Yahoo Movies. “But I have since investigated that enough, in quiet moments when he was beyond the point of being penalized by anybody, and he said that he really didn’t do it. The initial [leak] came from Fox they think — someone recorded the footage on their iPhone and then released it. And then once that happened, somebody hacked into Blur Studios and got the original footage in high-res and put it online.”

In an interview with Mashable, Reese and Wernick suggested that it wasn’t the leak alone that caused Fox to have a change of heart: Miller’s determination — and help from big names such as James Cameron and David Fincher — helped convince Fox to invest the $50 million to make the movie.

We’ll see how fast they make their money back this weekend.

Watch Deadpool himself discuss his film with Yahoo Movies: