Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
DEADPOOL star and producer Ryan Reynolds has no bigger fan than Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who has a fun cameo in the film and also serves as an executive producer. “There’s never been a character like Deadpool, and Ryan Reynolds plays him as though he was born to play the role,” says Lee. “Just like Robert Downey, Jr. was born to be Iron Man, you just can’t picture anybody else besides Ryan as Deadpool.”
Reynolds embraced the character’s myriad (and often twisted) facets. “In the comic book world, Deadpool is a man of our time with the ability to spout just the right thing, in terms of a pop culture reference, at the worst possible moment,” he quips. “That’s what makes him interesting to me and also makes him sort of limitless.”
Reynolds had long championed a film version of the iconic comics character. His deep involvement in the film’s development continued throughout production, in brainstorming sessions with director Tim Miller and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (“Zombieland”).
Tim Miller, who makes his feature film directorial debut on DEADPOOL, notes, “I think Ryan’s personality and DNA are really infused in the character. It was a close match to begin with, which is why Ryan was so attracted to Deadpool in the first place.”
“Ryan has a tremendous sense of humor, is very quick, and the character has really seeped into him,” says Reese. “He became in a way our ‘Deadpool Police.’ Whenever we got off tone or were writing in a way that didn't feel quite right, Ryan would say, ‘I don't think that sounds like Deadpool.’ We knew he was the best arbiter, because Ryan knows and loves the comics and has assimilated Deadpool’s voice and sense of humor.”
“We’re staying as true to the character as possible,” adds Reynolds. “We really ran with the idea of Deadpool being aware he’s a comic book anti-hero. It gave us the freedom to tell this story in a totally unorthodox way. We occupy a space that no other comic book movie has – or can.”
Deadpool is also known as the “Merc with the Mouth” – and for good reason. “A lot of comic book movies almost feel like you could watch them without sound and still get what's going on,” notes Reese. “We wanted you to hear Deadpool’s voice and his comedic commentary, so we really embraced dialogue. This is not one of those movies where the hero is silent for 15 minutes. In DEADPOOL, the other characters can't get a word in edgewise, because he’s constantly filling silences with lucidly insane cracks.”
Deadpool is a unique figure in the Marvel Universe. Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld created Deadpool as possessing an often non-superheroic attitude. A sardonic foil to the holier-than-thou heroes and villains that populate Marvel’s other comics, Deadpool constantly cracks edgy jokes and breaks the fourth wall.
Liefeld joins Stan Lee in his admiration of the filmmakers’ work in translating the character to the big screen. “DEADPOOL explodes with action,” says Liefeld. “Ryan, Tim Miller, Paul and Rhett mined all the good stuff in the comics from about a ten-year period and came up with a movie that sews it all together. This will be the Deadpool that will become canon moving forward!”
Director Miller provides Deadpool’s cinema incarnation with a fractured narrative that hurtles back-and-forth in time. The film is anything but predictable, while also being accessible to those who’ve never before encountered the Merc with the Mouth.
The character’s accessibility is defined partly by his twisted sense of humor. “It really draws you in,” Reynolds notes. “Deadpool has this bright, optimistic outlook on life, even though his life is pretty shitty. I mean, he’s become horribly disfigured from the experiments that gave him his powers. And, he can’t find love and he’s more than a little insane.”
Reynolds’ director is also infused with Deadpoolian traits. “Tim has a bit of Wade Wilson’s acerbic attitude in him,” says Reynolds. “He sort of speaks, moves and talks like him, too. I think that helped Tim access the character. He really understands how to balance the over-the-top action and humor with pathos, because in some ways, Wade Wilson is a tragic character.”
In fact, Miller’s reality-based storytelling generates empathy for all the protagonists, particularly in the poignant love story between Wade and Vanessa Carlysle, who fall in love because of their flaws, rather than despite them. Vanessa had a rough childhood and is living a life full of regret. She's a prostitute when Wade meets her, and together they embark on a quest to become better people.
“We wanted Vanessa to be someone who totally owns her space, isn’t a damsel in distress, and when she does get into deep trouble, does everything she can to get out of that predicament and really kick ass,” Reynolds notes. “Morena Baccarin embodied Vanessa from the get-go.”
“Vanessa is incredibly different from any character I’ve ever played because she’s a great combination of smart, sexy, cool and tough,” says Baccarin. “She’s a guy’s girl, but also very much a woman. She’s also a fighter and it’s incredibly refreshing to see a female character in a superhero movie who is just as tough as the guy, has something to say, and has balls.”
Deadpool’s nemesis is Ajax, played by Ed Skrein (“The Transporter Refueled”). Ajax is the architect of Deadpool’s transformation. “He runs the WeaponX workshop and is a sadistic bastard,” notes Miller. Ajax takes special pleasure in torturing Wade during the procedures that transform him into Deadpool (and his face into an amalgam of scar tissue).
Ajax – his given name is Francis (and you better believe that Deadpool has a field day with that!) – had undergone the same program that Wade came through. The powerful villain’s abilities include heightened agility and strength, as well as numbness to pain and human emotion. Ajax doesn't feel empathy or sympathy and has no qualms about tormenting someone as a means to an end.
Ajax’s henchwoman and “muscle” is Angel Dust, a statuesque beauty who possesses incredible physical prowess. She does the jobs that Ajax avoids – and loves every minute of it.
“Angel Dust’s superpower is basically accessing her adrenaline to create super-strength,” notes Gina Carano, a former international mixed martial arts champion. “It’s kind of like that horse that you want to let the reins go on a bit. I feel like Ajax has the reins and Angel Dust says, ‘Oh, I’m ready. Put me in.’”
There’s sometimes a thin line between these enemies and Deadpool’s mutant “allies,” Negasonic Teenage Warhead and a behemoth known as Colossus. Apart from her powers as a living, breathing nuclear warhead, which provides what may be the coolest superhero name ever, NTW is in many ways a typically rebellious teenage girl. She’s too cool for school, standoffish and sarcastic.
Colossus, a CG creation, can change his skin into steel, and in DEADPOOL is moonlighting from his stint as one of the X-Men. He has been charged with being NTW’s mentor.
The film introduces a fun and idiosyncratic dynamic between Deadpool and Colossus. “When I read that Colossus is kind of watchdogging Deadpool, making him the straight-man to Deadpool’s antics, I fell off the couch,” recalls Liefeld. “It’s genius! It elevates Colossus to a place he’s never been before.”
The movie breaks away from its rapid-fire action sequences involving these uber-powerful characters to showcase Deadpool trading wisecracks with barkeep pal Weasel, played by actor-comedian T.J. Miller (“Silicon Valley”). In spite of his motto of always “looking out for number one,” Weasel is a trusted friend to Wade. Weasel owns Sister Margaret’s Home for Wayward Girls, a clandestine establishment where mercenaries drink away their conscience. He’s also a savvy weapons dealer who loves money and guns.
Miller appreciated the film’s unique elements. “DEADPOOL is nothing less than the greatest story ever told – with guns and swords,” he jokes. “It’s also very self-aware; Deadpool knows he’s in a comic book and he even knows he’s in a movie. He breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience. Sometimes he’s mean to the audience, but they deserve it! I like to think of him as the regenerating degenerate.”
Deadpool also relaxes by kicking back at home with his roommate Blind Al, a sightless senior citizen whom Deadpool found on Craigslist. Singer/actress Leslie Uggams takes on the role. “Al is independent, sassy, sarcastic and tough, and she can give as good as she gets,” Uggams says.
They’re an unusual pair of roomies, but they end up becoming friends. It's a quid pro quo relationship. “Wade makes the money and Al keeps house, more or less,” Uggams notes. “Because she’s blind and can’t see his disfigurement, Al provides a comfortable camaraderie for Deadpool, and he makes no judgments – and certainly offers no special accommodations – for Al’s challenges.”
Bringing the exploits of an unconventional superhero to life sometimes created an equally unexpected vibe on set. Notes Stan Lee: “When you see Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds working together, they are both so in sync; they see the movie the same way. It’s though they’re playing a game and each one of them is doing his job so magnificently. When I did my scene in DEADPOOL, I didn’t even know I was working. When it was over, I said, ‘When do we start?’ and Tim said, ‘You’re finished.’ That’s how effortless he makes it seem.”
That kind of playfulness, intermixed with a badass physicality, marks the film’s acrobatic action sequences. “Deadpool’s always been more lithe and agile than other characters in the Marvel universe,” says Liefeld. “Without even thinking about it, he can drop into a moving car and then take out a small army of tough guys, all the while cracking wise.”
Wade is a tactically-trained ex-mercenary, and his newly acquired mutant powers allow his body to regenerate. So, “it’s kind of like all bets are off, when it comes to Deadpool fighting,” says stunt coordinator Philip Silvera. “There’s also an off-the-wall, tactical approach to combat. To the observer, Deadpool’s martial strategies don’t make a lot of sense, at first, but in the end, you realize his methodology works!”
One of the all-time boxing greats inspired some of Deadpool’s approach to fighting. Notes 2nd Unit Director/Supervising Stunt-Coordinator Rob Alonzo: “When we trained with Ryan, we incorporated some of Muhammed Ali’s boxing moves. Ali was known to constantly talk during a bout, and when we watched Ali’s early fights with Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, we noted that Ali was both dangerous and carefree. The physicality that Ryan brings to Deadpool is playful and comedic, but at the same time I’ve held mitts for Ryan, and I’ll tell you, he can pack a wallop on a punch.”
Adds VFX Supervisor Jonathan Rothbart: “Deadpool’s moves are dynamic. He's a superhero, so we wanted to make him more than human, but we also kept the action grounded. We did amazing stuff on set, and in-camera, to which we would add some visual effects to make the action even more over-the-top. We went just a little crazy with the action, which is something I love about it.”
In one memorable face off, the Merc with the Mouth wields his signature katanas against Ajax, who’s armed with a pair of deadly axes. “We created a hybrid style for the katanas,” Silvera explains. “It’s not a traditional Japanese sword style; it’s more of a mix of tactical thinking, Japanese and Chinese sword work, and [the Filipino martial art] Kali strikes – always making sure that Deadpool is attacking vital points and control points.”
Another key mutante a mutante fight sees Colossus squaring off against Angel Dust. It’s truly a clash of the titans, even if one of the combatants was largely created months later, as a CG figure. In the X-Men comics, Colossus is over seven feet tall and massively strong, so “I was after that enormous, bigger-than-life quality, and the only way to accomplish that was with CG,” says Miller.
For the Colussus-Angel Dust battle royale, Gina Carano enjoyed taking on what would become a CG figure. “I’ve never fought a CG character before, and most of the actors that I’ve fought are usually around my size or just a little bit taller,” she says. “All my moves in the scene had to be so big and so strong, so the audience believes that Angel Dust has the strength to take on Colossus.”
From a technical standpoint, Colossus presented some unique challenges and opportunities. “He’s entirely reflective, so we used a 3-D camera system to capture all the action that happens around him,” Rothbart explains. “Then we put that back onto him as a reflective component of his body. It’s going to be fun because we have a lot of scenes where Deadpool is running circles around him and doing all sorts of crazy things, and we really wanted to make sure that we didn’t just capture Ryan’s performance on camera, but also caught it in the reflections on Colossus.”
A famous poet wrote that, “…the most massive characters are seared with scars” – which would certainly apply to Deadpool, whose mutilated visage was the result of the horrific experiments he underwent at The Workshop. Equally applicable is this comment from his buddy Weasel: “You look like Freddy Krueger face-f***** a topographical map of Utah.”
On set, Reynolds wore the iconic red suit as a badge of honor, and inhabited Deadpool’s scars with the same sense of kinship and admiration. When Reynolds as Deadpool removes his mask for the first time to reveal his disfigured face, you can’t help but feel empathy. It’s a moment that really humanizes the character, because as vile and violent as Deadpool can be sometimes, he presents here an unmasked vulnerability.
“Ryan and I had a lot of fun with the scene when Weasel sees the scarred version of Wade for first time,” T.J. Miller recalls. “It’s pretty horrifying to look at. It was difficult for me to talk to Ryan when he was in makeup. He’d come over and say, like, “T.J., I’m lonely, you know? I need a friend on set.” And I would say, “Get away from me. Your face looks like a roadmap to hell.”
Makeup Department Head Bill Corso worked with the Creative Character Engineering department to create that scarred look. “We did multiple full-makeup tests and designs, trying to come up with not just a guy who’s disfigured, but a cool, iconic character,” Corso explains. “I knew that, with Ryan, Deadpool would also possess a certain charm and ruggedness. We took his features and strengthened and played with them, to slightly skew everything, so it’s still Ryan but an enhanced, mutated version of him.”
In the end, Corso created a series of thin silicone prosthetics with a translucent quality, revealing muscles, blood and tissue beneath the skin. “Ryan had ten paper-thin silicon appliances on his head,” Corso explains. “Now multiply that by a whole body for the compelling fight sequence with Ed Skrein as Ajax at the Workshop, when Ryan is basically au naturel. It’s a raw, brutal fight, and there’s no clothing or padding. It gets very real!”
Along with Deadpool fighting in the buff, the film’s torrid scenes between Wade and Vanessa, and Deadpool’s non-stop and off-color verbal stylings, all contribute to the film’s R-rating. “I think the R-rating allows us to have a level of reality that wouldn’t be possible with a PG-13,” says Miller. “I also think it’s an important step in the expansion of the genre. There’s a type of film that can only be made with this rating, and that really expands the boundaries of the stories comic book movies can tell.”
As the filmmakers ready DEADPOOL for a February 2016 opening, they remain convinced the time is right for this unique movie event. “When comic book movies first appeared, they had to be ‘tentpole’ movies, which had to appeal to the broadest possible audience,” Miller says. “DEADPOOL was always meant to be an edgy film, and the time is right for it. The genre of superhero and comic book films is wider and it feels like it’s time to do a film like this, that sort of pushes the boundaries a little further.”
DEADPOOL is produced by Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”), Ryan Reynolds and Lauren Shuler Donner (“X-Men: Days of Future Past”). The executive producers are Stan Lee, John J. Kelly (“Spy”), Jonathon Komack Martin (“The Change-Up”), Aditya Sood (“The Martian”), and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
The director of photography is Ken Seng (“Project X”), the production designer is Sean Haworth (“Goosebumps”), the editor is Julian Clarke, ACE (“District 9”), and music is by Tom Holkenborg (“Mad Max: Fury Road”).
RYAN REYNOLDS (Deadpool, Producer) is one of Hollywood’s most diverse leading men, seamlessly transitioning through drama, action and comedy in his rich and ever evolving career.
Recently, Reynolds was seen in “Mississippi Grind,” alongside Ben Mendelsohn. The film directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden premiered at Sundance to rave reviews and opened October 2015.
Also this year, Reynolds was seen in the features “Woman in Gold,” “The Voices” and “Selfless.” In The Weinstein Company’s “Woman in Gold,” Reynolds starred alongside Helen Mirren to tell the story of Maria Altmann (Mirren), a Jewish refugee who is forced to flee Vienna during World War II and embarks on a mission to reclaim a painting the Nazis stole from her family: the famous Lady in Gold.
In Lionsgate’s serial killer comedy “The Voices,” by famed French director Marjane Satrapi, Reynolds stars as a troubled, med-addicted factory worker driven to murder by his talking pets, a psychopathic cat called Mr. Whiskers and a peace-loving dog named Bosco. Reynolds also voices the animals. He then starred opposite Ben Kingsley in the independent feature “Selfless,” directed by Tarsem Singh.
Reynolds voiced two DreamWorks Animation films in 2013. In “Turbo,” Reynolds voiced a snail who has dreams of winning the Indy 500. The movie also features the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Lion and Michelle Rodriguez. Prior to that, Reynolds made his animated film debut as the voice of Goy in DWA’s “The Croods.” The movie also featured the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener and earned over $508 million worldwide. Reynolds has signed on for the sequel, which is in development.
His other film credits include the Universal action thriller “Safe House,” opposite Denzel Washington, which opened to $40 million domestically in its first weekend and went onto earn $208 million worldwide; the Universal comedy “The Change Up,” opposite Jason Bateman; the Warner Bros. adaptation of the popular DC Comic “Green Lantern”; and the mystery/thriller “Buried,” in which Reynolds is the only actor to appear on camera.
In 2009, Reynolds and Sandra Bullock starred in Disney’s romantic comedy “The Proposal.” The film opened at #1 at the box office and grossed $315 million worldwide. That same year, Reynolds was seen as Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” He starred opposite an all-star cast, including Hugh Jackman, and the film grossed $365 million worldwide. Also in 2009, Reynolds starred in “Adventureland,” opposite Kristen Stewart, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated in the “Ensemble Performance” category at the 2009 Gotham Awards.
Reynolds’ other film credits include “Paperman”; the Working Title film “Definitely, Maybe” for Universal Pictures; writer/director John August’s “The Nines”; director Joe Carnahan’s “Smokin’ Aces,” for Working Title and Universal Pictures; and “The Amityville Horror,” a remake of the classic cult film that opened to #1 at the box office and made $107 million worldwide.
Reynolds’ TV production company, DarkFire, recently sold its first two projects – the live action comedy “Guidance” and the animated comedy “And Then There Was Gordon,” to 20th Century Fox TV. Reynolds will executive produce the series alongside Allan Loeb, Jonathon Komack Martin, Tim Dowling and Steven Pearl.
Reynolds serves on the board of directors for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. In November of 2007, Reynolds ran the New York City Marathon in honor of his father, who has long suffered from ravages of Parkinson's disease. Reynolds’ marathon run raised over $100,000 for the Foundation.
MORENA BACCARIN (Vanessa) made her television debut in the science-fiction drama “Firefly” and she reprised her series role of Inara Serra in the 2005 film “Serenity.”
In May 2009, Baccarin made her Off-Broadway debut in Theresa Rebeck's television satire “Our House” at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. That year, Baccarin joined the cast of the Showtime television drama “Homeland,” for which she won acclaim for her performance as the conflicted wife of a former prisoner of war. In 2013, she was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 2013 Primetime Emmy awards for her performance.
Her other television credits include “V,” “The O.C.,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Justice League” and “Gotham.”
ED SKREIN (Ajax) grew up in North London and is one of the most highly versatile artists of his generation. He was selected by Screen International as one of their “Stars of Tomorrow” in 2012, which showcases the next generation of talent from the UK.
Skrein stars in the action crime thriller reboot, “The Transporter Refueled,” directed by Camille Delamarre and produced by Luc Besson and Mark Gao (“Lucy,” the “Taken” films). Skrein portrays the lead role of Frank Martin, a former special-ops mercenary who now spends his life as a transporter of classified packages for questionable people on the other side of the law.
Skrein also recently appeared in “The Model,” directed by Mads Matthiesen, which chronicles the story of an emerging fashion model who struggles to enter the Parisian fashion scene and develops a deadly obsession for fashion photographer Shane White (Skrein). Nordisk Film Distribution releases the film.
In 2016, Skrein will appear alongside Nicholas Hoult and James Corden in the comedy crime film “Kill Your Friends,” directed by Owen Harris. Based on John Niven’s 2008 novel, the film tells the story of a 27-year-old A&R man working at the height of the Britpop music craze and going to extremes to find his next hit. “Kill Your Friends” screened at Cannes and was purchased by Well Go USA Entertainment, which will release the film.
In 2013, Skrein appeared in the critically-acclaimed and BAFTA and Critics Choice Television Award winning HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Skrein portrayed the character Daario Naharis, originally a lieutenant in the Second Sons, who takes over the company after killing his superiors and aligns with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
In 2012, Skrein starred in Revolver Entertainment’s critically-acclaimed drama “Ill Manors,” written and directed by Ben Drew. The film revolves around the lives of eight characters as they struggle to survive on the streets. It takes place over the course of seven days, with each story blending into the others, painting a gritty picture of a world on the brink of destruction.
Other film credits include “The Sweeney,” “Tiger House,” “Piggy,” “Northmen – A Viking Saga,” “Sword of Vengeance” and “Goldfish.” Other television credits include “The Tunnel.”
Skrein currently resides in London.
T.J. MILLER (Weasel) is one of the most sought after comedians in the comedy world, but not in the drama world, or the finance world. He was one of Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch,” and EW's “Next Big Things in Comedy."
Miller lent his voice to Disney’s Academy-Award® winning animated feature, “Big Hero 6.” You may recognize his non-animated face and body from his role in 2014’s surprise indie hit “Transformers 4,” or from Mike Judge’s HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley,” for which Miller received the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Comedy.
His podcast "Cashing in with T.J. Miller" on nerdist.com is listened to by 12 and ½ people, and Miller is a nationally touring standup, crisscrossing the country listening to Kris Kross. (He's also done shows in the U.K. and Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico did not go well.)
Miller has been performing his absurdist observational standup act for over 10 years, and has never gone to the bathroom in his pants on stage. His hour long Comedy Central stand-up special “T.J. Miller: No Real Reason” and hip-hop/pop/folk music album “The Extended Play E.P” is an E.P. with 41 tracks, and the “Illegal Art Remix Tape” are all available now. He hosted Comedy Central’s “Mash-Up,” a mashup of standup, sketches and visualizations, and has appeared on “Chelsea Lately” more than most women his height.
Miller got his start touring with Second City in Chicago and improvising with Annoyance Theater, iO, and managers at electronics stores who asked why he is late and smells like gin. Miller has been in a number of major studio films including “Cloverfield,” “She’s Out of My League,” “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” “Our Idiot Brother,” “Yogi Bear” (Ranger Jones is Miller’s greatest role to date), “Unstoppable” and “Get Him to the Greek.”
He has appeared on television in “The League,” “Carpoolers,” “Goodwin Games,” “Happy Endings,” and other canceled programs. Miller also talks like an old drag queen after a hard night of chain smoking, and thus voiced the character Tuffnut in the Oscar® nominated animated film “How to Train Your Dragon” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” He voices Robbie from “Gravity Falls” on Disney, Tuffnut in the Netflix “How to Train Your Dragon” television series, and “Gorburger,” a very strange show you just have to Google to understand.
Miller currently resides in Hollywood, California, where he struggles to find meaning in an uncertain world. He is a comedian.
GINA CARANO (Angel Dust) stars in Lionsgate’s upcoming “Extraction,” opposite Bruce Willis. Prior to that she had lead roles in “Bus 657,” opposite Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kate Bosworth and Dave Bautista, and also appeared in a remake of the cult film “Kickboxer,” with Dave Bautista.
Gina had a key role in “Fast and Furious 6,” as the partner to the character portrayed by Dwayne Johnson. The film opened at #1 during the biggest Memorial Day weekend in box-office history. Universal had their largest debut ever with that installment in the action franchise, collecting $96.7 million in three days toward an incredibly strong $120 million opening weekend and over $785 million worldwide. It was also Universal's largest opening ever in China.
Gina made her acting debut starring as Mallory in the Steven Soderbergh directed film “Haywire,” with a supporting cast that included Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum and Bill Paxton. The film received strong reviews and Gina was nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in an Action Film, alongside such Hollywood heavyweights as Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Judi Dench and Emily Blunt. In preparation for “Haywire,” Gina trained several months with ex-Israeli Mossad agent Aaron Cohen.
Gina is a top rated MMA athlete who fought in the first ever female main event, which aired on Showtime and was the highest rated fight of any gender in Showtime history. She is widely acknowledged as the original face of female MMA. While actively competing, Gina was rated as Yahoo's top female athlete and was the fifth most influential woman on Yahoo, on a list that included Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton. In 2014, despite having been out of competition for several years, Gina was still the tenth most searched athlete on Yahoo.
BRIANNA HILDEBRAND (Negasonic Teenage Warhead) recently wrapped a leading role in Kerem Sanga’s independent drama “First Girl I Loved.” Brianna previously starred in the award-winning web series “Annie Undocumented.”
TIM MILLER (Director) is the Executive Creative Director/Co-Founder of Blur Studio. With over 20 years of experience in the CG/VFX world, Miller’s work has been honored with Academy Award, Annie and Ves Award nominations.
Miller’s deep knowledge and love for books, comics, sci-fi, fantasy and games informs his writing and directing across multiple visual platforms, including commercials, game trailers and feature film development. Tim directed the opening prologue for the Marvel film “Thor: The Dark World,” as well as a launch spot for Microsoft’s epic marketing campaign for "Halo 4: Scanned.”
Additional directing projects include Warner Bros.’ "Batman: Arkham City,” Sony’s “DC Universe Online,” and a “Dante’s Inferno” Super Bowl spot for EA. Miller also led the creative effort on the title sequence for David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and was selected for The Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase 2012 in Cannes. Miller is currently developing feature film projects at 20th Century Fox, Legendary and Sony Pictures.
RHETT REESE & PAUL WERNICK’s (Writers, Executive Producers) first feature collaboration was “Zombieland,” which they wrote and executive-produced for Columbia Pictures in 2009. “Zombieland” received critical acclaim (90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and became one of the highest grossing zombie movies of all time ($100M+).
More recently, the two wrote Paramount Pictures’ “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” starring Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis. The film went on to gross $375 million worldwide.
Reese and Wernick currently have several projects in development, including “Life,” for Skydance Productions, with Daniel Espinosa directing; and “Cowboy Ninja Viking,” for Universal Pictures, with Chris Pratt starring. They recently optioned “The Real Coke, The Real Story,” a non-fiction account of the epic failure of New Coke, which they plan to write and produce.
Reese and Wernick first collaborated in 2001, creating, writing, and executive-producing “The Joe Schmo Show” for Spike TV. The series drew Spike’s highest-ever ratings. “Joe Schmo” was named to numerous Best Of lists, including Time magazine’s Top 10 TV Shows of the year and Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Best TV Shows Ever on DVD. Reese and Wernick followed up with “Joe Schmo 2” and “Invasion Iowa,” a high-concept comedy hybrid starring William Shatner.
Reese has written movies for Pixar Animation Studios (“Monsters, Inc.”), Walt Disney Feature Animation (“Dinosaur”), and Warner Bros. (“Clifford’s Really Big Movie”), among others. Wernick has produced several network reality shows. He won three Emmy awards for his work in news.
Reese and Wernick met in high school and have collaborated professionally for over 15 years.
SIMON KINBERG, p.g.a. (Producer) has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most prolific filmmakers, having written and produced projects for some of the most successful franchises in the modern era.
Kinberg graduated from Brown University, and received his MFA from Columbia University Film School, where his thesis project was the original script “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Released in 2005, the film starred Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. In 2006, Kinberg wrote “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which opened on Memorial Day to box-office records, and began his ongoing relationship with the franchise. In 2008 Kinberg wrote and produced Doug Liman’s film “Jumper” for 20th Century Fox. In 2009 Kinberg co-wrote the film “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downey Jr., directed by Guy Ritchie. It set the box-office record for the biggest Christmas Day opening in history. Robert Downey, Jr. received a Golden Globe® for Best Actor, and the film was nominated for two Academy Awards.
In 2010, Kinberg established his production company Genre Films, with a first look deal at 20th Century Fox. Under this banner, he produced “X-Men: First Class,” executive produced “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” and wrote and produced “This Means War.” In 2013, Kinberg produced “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, directed by Neill Blomkamp.
On Memorial Day 2014, Fox released “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which Kinberg wrote and produced. The film opened number one at the box-office, received critical acclaim, and went on to gross $750 million worldwide.
Last year, Kinberg re-teamed with Neill Blomkamp to produce “Chappie” starring Hugh Jackman and Sharlto Copley, and produced Disney’s “Cinderella,” starring Cate Blanchett, directed by Kenneth Branagh. The latter was Kinberg’s ninth picture to open number one at the box-office. Also in 2015, he wrote and produced “Fantastic Four” and the next X-Men movie, “X-Men: Apocalypse,” to be released Memorial Day 2016. In addition, Kinberg is producing the X-Men spinoff movies, “Gambit” starring Channing Tatum, and the next “Wolverine” movie with Hugh Jackman.
Kinberg is also writing and producing one of the upcoming “Star Wars” films, served as consultant on “Star Wars: Episode VII,” and is the creator and executive producer of the animated show “Star Wars: Rebels,” on Disney XD.
LAUREN SHULER DONNER (Producer) has in the past three decades established herself as one of the most successful and versatile producers in Hollywood. To date, her films have grossed over $4 billion worldwide.
Shuler Donner was bound for success from the beginning, as the first feature film she produced was the smash hit comedy, “Mr. Mom,” one of the top ten grossing films that year. She then went on to produce “Ladyhawke” starring Matthew Broderick, Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer and “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Pretty in Pink,” both of which created a new phrase in teen lexicon, “Brat Pack.”
In the early ‘90s, Shuler Donner produced the box office smash hits “Dave” and “Free Willy,” two of the top ten films of 1993. The critically acclaimed “Dave” was nominated for both an Academy Award (Best Original Screenplay) and a Golden Globe (Best Picture-Comedy). She went on to produce “You’ve Got Mail,” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, “Any Given Sunday,” “Radio Flyer,” “3 Fugitives, the sequel to “Free Willy” and “Constantine,” with Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz. As head of The Donners’ Company, she has executive-produced “Volcano,” "Bulworth” and “Just Married.” Shuler Donner’s other productions include “Timeline” with Paul Walker and Gerard Butler, “She’s The Man” with Amanda Bynes and "Hotel For Dogs," starring Emma Roberts.
Shuler Donner also produced “The Secret Life of Bees” for Fox Searchlight Pictures, which was written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and stars Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo and Paul Bettany. This film won multiple People’s Choice awards - “Favorite Film” and “Best Dramatic Film” among them. It also won Best Picture from the NAACP Image Awards.
In 2000, Shuler Donner began a new franchise with “X-Men” and followed up in 2003 with "X2: X-Men United.” The second film was released by Fox and broke box office records with an opening weekend total of $86 million dollars nationwide. Not only did the film gross $406 million dollars internationally, it is also the only sequel of 2003 to receive critical acclaim as well. “X Men: The Last Stand” was released in May, 2006 and a month later it was on its way to the half billion dollar mark worldwide. In 2011, she produced “X-Men: First Class,” the fifth film in the “X-men” franchise, which received critical raves.
Her most recent films are “The Wolverine” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” released in 2014, and which became a global blockbuster.
In October 2008, both Shuler Donner and her husband, Richard Donner, were awarded stars next to each other on the Hollywood Blvd. Walk of Fame. She and Richard were also honored by The American Cancer Society in June of 2006 and by Lupus L.A. in 2008. She has been recognized for her body of work in 2001 by Premiere magazine with the Producer Icon Award, and was recognized by Daily Variety with a Billion Dollar Producer special issue. In June 2006, she received the prestigious Crystal Award from Women in Film. They were also awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Ojai Film Festival in November of 2008.
Shuler Donner is a dedicated philanthropist who thrives on giving back to the community. She was on the board of directors for Hollygrove Children’s Home until it merged with EMQ in 2006. She has been on the advisory board of Women in Film, was a long-time member of the advisory board of TreePeople, and is an ex-Board member of Planned Parenthood. She is serving currently on the advisory board of the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the advisory board of the Natural Resources Defense Council, USC School of Theater, is the Treasurer for the Producers Guild of America, and is on the executive committee of the Producer’s Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
STAN LEE (Executive Producer) the chairman emeritus of Marvel Comics, is known to millions as the man whose superhero characters propelled Marvel to its preeminent position in the comic-book industry. Hundreds of legendary characters, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, The Avengers, The Silver Surfer, Thor and Dr. Strange, all grew out of his fertile imagination.
Lee served as executive producer for “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “The Wolverine,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Iron Man 2,” “The Avengers,” “Thor”,” X-Men: First Class,” ”X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Captain America: The First Avenger, “The Amazing Spider-Man, and “Iron Man 3,” and many other hit films based on Marvel Comics titles.
It was in the early 1960s that Lee ushered in what has come to be known as The Marvel Age of Comics, creating major new Super Heroes while breathing life and style into such old favorites as Captain America, The Human Torch and The Sub Mariner.
During his first 25 years at Marvel, as editor, art director and head writer, Lee scripted no fewer than two and as many as five complete comic books per week. His prodigious output may comprise the largest body of published work by any single writer. Additionally, he wrote newspaper features, radio and television scripts and screenplays.
By the time he was named publisher of Marvel Comics in 1972, Lee’s comics were the nation’s biggest sellers. In 1977, he brought the Spider-Man character to newspapers in the form of a syndicated strip. This seven-days-a-week feature, which he has written and edited since its inception, is the most successful of all syndicated adventure strips, appearing in more than 500 newspapers worldwide.
In 1981, Marvel launched an animation studio on the West Coast and Lee moved to Los Angeles to become creative head of Marvel’s cinematic adventures. He began to transform his Spider-Man and Hulk creations into Saturday morning television and paved the way for Marvel’s entry into live-action feature films.
Under the umbrella of his new company POW! (Purveyors of Wonder!) Entertainment, Inc., Lee created and executive produced an animated “Stan Lee Presents” DVD series. Lee’s television credits with POW! include serving as executive producer and star on the hit reality series “Who Wants To Be a Superhero?,” and as co-producer and creator of “Stripperella” on the Spike cable channel. Previously, he executive produced “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Spider-Man” and “X-Men.”
Lee has written more than a dozen best-selling books, including “Stan Lee’s Superhero Christmas,” “The Origins of Marvel Comics,” “The Best of the Worst,” “The Silver Surfer,” “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way,” “The Alien Factor,” “Bring on the Bad Guys,” “Riftworld,” “The Superhero Women” and his autobiography “Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee.”
JOHN J. KELLY (Executive Producer) recently produced the comedy “Spy,” with director Paul Feig. Kelly also produced the blockbuster “Divergent,” Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Witness Protection,” Timur Bekmambetov’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Darling Companion” starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline.
Kelly produced the Golden Globe and Oscar nominated “127 Hours,” starring James Franco. The film was nominated for numerous Academy Awards including; Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Picture. It was also nominated in many of the same Golden Globe categories.
Kelly spent all of 2006 producing Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild,” which garnered two Academy Awards nominations, two Golden Globes, four SAG Awards™ and two Teen Choice Awards.
Kelly worked with David Mamet on “Spartan,” Kevin Reynolds on “Tristan and Isolde,” Brian DePalma on “The Black Dahlia” and Roger Donaldson on “The World’s Fastest Indian,” starring Anthony Hopkins.
JONATHON KOMACK MARTIN (Executive Producer) is Ryan Reynolds’ producing partner at their company DarkFire Films, with a first-look TV deal at Universal Cable Productions. In addition to their feature slate, the company focuses on developing both half-hour comedies and one-hour dramas, for cable outlets and broadcast networks.
Martin served as executive producer on “R.I.P.D.,” starring Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, and “The Change-Up,” starring Reynolds and Jason Bateman. Martin’s previous producing credits include “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder,” “Held Up,” and the long-running “George Lopez” television series.
ADITYA SOOD (Executive Producer) is the President of Simon Kinberg’s production company, Genre Films, which they started together in 2010. Genre Films has a first look deal at 20th Century Fox. Sood was a producer on Fox’s critically acclaimed and award-winning blockbuster “The Martian,” directed by Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon.
Before that he was executive producer on the successful action-comedy Let’s Be Cops.
Prior to working at Genre, Sood ran Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald’s production company at DreamWorks and was Vice President, Production at Warner Bros. Pictures. He started his career at New Line Cinema and DreamWorks, and later was a story editor for producer Mark Johnson. A Seattle native, Sood is a graduate of Pomona College and lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Becky Chassin.
KEN SENG (Director of Photography) captured international attention with his groundbreaking large-set choreographed 3D action sequences in “Step Up 3D.”
His other feature work includes the comedy “Project X,” the slick thriller “Obsessed,” starring Beyoncé, and the horror film “Quarantine.”
Frequently lending his hand to large scale commercial campaigns, Seng crafted the beautiful images in the most recent Canadian Budweiser campaign, directed by Oscar-nominated Henry Alex Rubin.
SEAN HAWORTH (Production Designer) was the production designer on the hit film “Goosebumps,” the science fiction thriller “Ender’s Game” and the horror film “The Thing” (2011).
As an art director, Haworth won an Art Directors Guild Award (shared) for his work on “Avatar,” and was nominated for his work on “Tron: Legacy” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” His other notable credits as art director include “Thor,” “Mission: Impossible III” and “Transformers.”
JULIAN CLARKE, ACE (Film Editor) collaborated with director Neill Blomkamp on several projects including “District 9,” “Elysium” and “Chappie.” For his work on “District 9,” Clarke was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Film Editing, an American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Award for Best Edited Film Feature (Dramatic) and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Editing.
Clarke’s other work includes “Project Almanac” for Paramount Pictures, and “The Thing” for Universal Pictures.
TOM HOLKENBORG (Composer), aka Junkie XL, is a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum producer and composer. A multi-instrumentalist who plays keyboards, guitar, drums, violin, and bass, he also possesses a mastery of studio technology.
Now focusing on film composition, Holkenborg recently created the score for director Scott Cooper’s drama “Black Mass,” George Miller’s blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Ericson Core’s “Point Break.” He is also scoring a wide range of upcoming films, including the crime comedy “Kill Your Friends,” and Zack Snyder’s much-anticipated action adventure “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” His recent film credits also include Jaume Collet-Serra’s “Run All Night,” Robert Luketic’s “Paranoia,” Neil Burger’s “Divergent,” and Noam Murro’s “300: Rise of an Empire.”
The foundation for Holkenborg’s new career path was laid in his native Holland, where he created multiple film scores. He later continued to grow under mentorships with renowned composers like Harry Gregson-Williams, on the films “Domino” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” and Klaus Badelt on “Catwoman.” From there, Holkenborg formed a successful association with composer Hans Zimmer, with whom he worked on Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel”; Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Inception”; and the animated “Madagascar” films and “Megamind.”
Earlier in his composing career, Holkenborg also provided music for such films as “Bandslam,” “DOA: Dead or Alive,” “The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury,” “The Animatrix” and “Resident Evil.”
Holkenborg’s career as an artist began in 1993 when he started the industrial rock band NERVE, while also producing hardcore and metal bands like Sepultura and Fear Factory. Drawn by electronic breakbeats, he started Junkie XL in 1997, debuting with the album Saturday Teenage Kick. Holkenborg went on to produce five more albums under the Junkie XL moniker while playing headline shows all over the world. In 2002, the producer-remixer scored a number one hit in 24 countries with his rework of Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation.” Following that success, Holkenborg collaborated with celebrated artists like Dave Gahan, Robert Smith and Chuck D, and remixed such artists as Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, among many others. In addition, Holkenborg created the music for videogames, including “Need for Speed,” “The Sims” and “SSX,” as well as commercials for global campaigns for Nike, Heineken, Adidas, Cadillac and VISA.
JOHN HOULIHAN (Music Supervisor) since working on the acclaimed music film “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, has has helped shape more than 70 feature films, numerous television series and dozens of popular soundtrack albums.
Most recently he worked on the Antoine Fuqua directed drama “Southpaw,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forrest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams.
Houlihan’s numerous credits include “Training Day” which earned a Best Actor Academy Award for Denzel Washington, all three “Austin Powers” films, and both of the “Charlie’s Angels” films. Recent releases include “Looper,” “Don Jon,” “Let’s Be Cops,” the animated film The Book of Life” and the Keanu Reeves thriller “John Wick.”
Documentary project highlights are Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s “From the Sky Down” and Davis’ acclaimed public education exploration “Waiting For ‘Superman.” Houlihan was co-producer and music supervisor for the entertainment industry documentary film “Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon,” which marks the directing debut of Mike Myers. Houlihan also worked on several films that were part the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns for President Barack Obama.