Hi Reddit! We're Rhett and Paul - screenwriters of the new Deadpool movie!

Our (Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick) first feature collaboration was Zombieland, which we 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, we wrote Paramount Pictures’ G.I. Joe: Retaliation, starring Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis. The film went on to gross $375 million worldwide.

​We 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. Next, we followed up with Joe Schmo 2 and Invasion Iowa, a high-concept comedy hybrid starring William Shatner.

Rhett has written movies for Pixar Animation Studios (Monsters, Inc.), Walt Disney Feature Animation (Dinosaur), and Warner Bros. (Clifford’s Really Big Movie), among others. Paul has produced several network reality shows. He won three Emmy awards for his work in news. ​ We met in high school and have collaborated professionally for over 15 years.

We're here to talk about the Deadpool movie, our other work, and almost anything else. So please - Ask Us Anything!

Volunteer moderator /u/courtiebabe420 is here with us in person assisting with this AMA.


Edit: Alright, it's 2pm ET and we've got to get some other stuff done. Thanks for hanging out with us today, Reddit!

Comments: 367 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

MattBaster296 karma

Was this screenplay written with Ryan Reynolds in mind as the title character?

RhettAndPaul586 karma

Rhett: Yes. Ryan hired us to write the screenplay. We auditioned against a bunch of other writers for this job with Ryan himself. And he was intimately involved in cracking the outline.

We sent him screenplay pages 20 or so at a time. And it's, there's no other way to say it. He's just the guy. He's a genius and he's been with us every step of they and elevating the material every step of the way.

Frajer248 karma

is it true that Matthew Mcconaughey was supposed to cameo in Zombieland and not Bill Murray originally?

RhettAndPaul310 karma

Paul: Yes. Absolutely. In fact, we had a conversation with Matthew and Woody is friends with him. He had not read the script yet. I'm still not sure he ever read the script haha but we ended up with the ultimate cameo in Bill Murray and couldn't be more pleased.

drake0727246 karma

If there's a sequel to Deadpool, do you guys have a contractual right to write that film as well or is it negotiations all over again?

RhettAndPaul361 karma

Paul: Are you our agent?

Rhett: Let's hope not - you should know the answer to that question. But in truth, it's a negotiation.

Paul: Would you like to be our agent?

ContentDeleted404201 karma

Will there be a Deadpool Christmas special?

RhettAndPaul308 karma

Rhett: Ooooo.

Paul: This movie is a Deadpool Christmas special!

Rhett: That said - bite your tongue! Chewbacca ain't comin' near this thing!

amorningofsleep189 karma

Was the process difficult to make sure the film got an 'R' rating?

RhettAndPaul372 karma

Rhett: Um Well, the decision up front was Ryan Reynolds' decision and he said "Push it. Push it real good." hahaha There's a Salt N Peppa reference for you.

He said "Write it R, go as far as you want and we'll see if the studio is okay with it" and thank god they turned out to be okay with it!

PointMan528491158 karma

Some of the movie's production seemed a little bit worrisome at times with the leaked test footage and a draft of the script getting out on the Internet. We're you ever worried the film would never be made?

RhettAndPaul351 karma

Rhett: Well - we were convinced it would never be made multiple times. But those things you just mentioned are the reasons it did get made.

Paul: Which is why we are the prime suspects for both leaks.

Rhett: Paul was Professor Plum in the dining room, with the candlestick. And I was Colonel Mustard int he study with the rope.

Paul: Now we need both an agent an a lawyer.

Moronthislater151 karma

You have collaborated with a lot of talented improv comedians/ad libbers, from Ryan Reynolds and TJ Miller in Deadpool, to Bill Murray in Zombieland, to Kristin Wiig, Ralph Garman, and Chelsey Crisp in The Joe Schmo Show. What is your role as writers when working with people and scenes that will rely on that kind of spontaneity?

RhettAndPaul171 karma

Rhett: Every name you just mentioned, when someone like that is involved, they make you look good. So your job is to provide a springboard for them to jump off of. And they are the ones that do the jumping and all the crazy flips in the air and stick the landing. So... we have an immense respect for improvisational actors. They've made our careers in a lot of ways.

You surround yourself with talent and you look good by virtue of that and that's been a rule of thumb for us.

Em0tionLessRedditer134 karma

Do either of you read comics and or have liked deadpool for a while?

RhettAndPaul324 karma

Rhett: The ugly little truth is that when we were approached to write Deadpool we'd never heard of him. And all of our affection love for him came from diving into the wealth of comics and reading what all these phenomenal writers had done before us. We fell in love with him just like you and everybody else did. Just late in the process or later in life - just a little later in life.

Paul: He's a self-loathing egomaniacal nutbag and they say "write what you know."

Em0tionLessRedditer73 karma

That is amazing, I am glad you enjoy the character, I cant wait to see the movie. Do y'all think you will do more comic book movies in the future?

RhettAndPaul93 karma

Rhett: If we have anything to say about it, yes. But you never know what the future holds, and we have some original projects that are also very near and dear to us.

Mrs_Damon131 karma

If you could see your version of Deadpool with the beautiful Ryan Reynolds star in any Disney animated film, which film would you want to see him in and why?

RhettAndPaul272 karma

Paul: Frozen - because he's got a beautiful voice.

Rhett: And I would say Beauty and the Beast because that's how I feel every time I"m standing next to Ryan Reynolds.

Paul: Are you the beauty or the beast?

Rhett: Come on.

DirtyDC74126 karma

How do you feel about how obsessed fans get over this character? Is it a little scary? Got any crazy fan stories?

RhettAndPaul366 karma

Paul: We love it. I have 3 Deadpool cosplayers sleeping in my back yard.

Rhett: Paul, too, is currently dressed as Deadpool.

Paul: From Origins. Don't look me in the eyes cuz of the lasers.

orangejulius116 karma

How do you feel about the viral success of your ad campaigns? Did you have a hand in that?

RhettAndPaul206 karma

Rhett: We did have a hand in that, we still do. Ha And there's more cool shit to come in the next 3 days.

Paul: It's so rare that a movie tonally makes it from script to screen to the marketing campaign and this was one of the exceptions. This - the marketing campaign has been brilliant, the marketers behind the campaign have been brilliant. And have really geared up the audience into seeing this movie.

Rhett: And they aren't tricking you into going to a movie that's different from what you'll see. They are selling what you'll see. It's a very honest campaign and a good one.

Paul: The Valentine's Day billboards - this is love story, truly. The joke's not on your girlfriend of going to see this movie, it's on your boyfriend.

Rhett: But don't worry - there's a ton of dismemberment.


If Deadpool were able to sense the thoughts of his writers (which seems to be a thing he does in the comics), which of your many zany ideas would you most fear him taking revenge on your for?

RhettAndPaul166 karma

Paul: Oh boy.

Rhett: What did we put in there that he would take revenge on us for? Well.. we put Deadpool in blue Crocs int he movie and I half expect to come around the corner and see him ready to bludgeon me to death with one of those blue Crocs. Which would be a painful way to go. And undignified.

Paul: But fitting!

Perdin87 karma

Where their xmen characters you wanted to use but couldn't because they have plans elsewhere or because of the R rating?

Also, favourite mutant? Any plans for Cable?

RhettAndPaul151 karma

Rhett: No, I mean we chose the characters we chose for very specific reasons. We wanted Colossus because we thought he'd be a great comic foil to Deadpool. And we love Negasonic Teenage Warhead because of her name.

Paul: Is Spiderman an X-Man? Haha

Rhett: Paul kids, Paul kids.

Rhett: Well - it's not Deadpool, he's not a mutant.

Paul: Super Grover?

Rhett: That's hilarious. That's great. That used to be my tag when I played video games. So I have a soft spot in my heart for Super Grover that will never be surpassed by any super hero. Shoutout to my Tribes brothers!

BustedLung79 karma

Is there anything that you really wanted put into the movie that didn't make the cut, or something you didn't want in it that ended in the movie?

Also, if you two were given a massive budget for a movie that you had absolute control over (production, direction, etc), what kind of movie would you like to make?

RhettAndPaul298 karma

Paul: We had a moment where Wade tosses the action figure Deadpool from Wolverine: Origins in the trash and calls it the worst fucking piece of shit in the history of earth.

Em0tionLessRedditer73 karma

What was your first instinct on the level of gore in deadpool the movie?

RhettAndPaul116 karma

Rhett: What'd you say? The studio put no kind of leash on us so we wanted to push it. With the caveat that we never wanted to alienate a genearl audience, but we pushed it. We like creative violence and this movie more than any movie we've done in the past allowed us to get creative with slicing and dicing.

Paul: We were given the gift of an R rating and that allowed us to get away with things we could usually not get away with in a superhero move. This was an apple among oranges. You know, bullets in the head, blood spurts, nothing was off limits.

Em0tionLessRedditer39 karma

What I meant is how much gore did you want to involve in the movie before shooting?

RhettAndPaul87 karma

Rhett: I would say the exact amount that's in there. Yea, you're gonna see what we wanted definitely.

victorioborges71 karma

Who is the mind/ad team behind this extremely badass marketing campaign? As a advertising student, I need to know that

RhettAndPaul139 karma

Paul: Marc Weinstock is the leader of this brilliant team of marketing geniuses.

Rhett: But don't forget Ryan Reynolds.

Paul: But don't forget Ryan.

Rhett: It's important to us that Ryan remains the author, ya know, of the campaign because he so lives and breathes the character. When he swatted at the imaginary bees in the Australia Day promo, that was maybe the funniest ad lib I have ever seen.

Paul: The guy laughing int he background of the video is me!

Rhett: I didn't know that - that's awesome!

Paul: I couldn't help myself.

Rhett: But thanks to the genius - that ridiculous hat Ryan wore, that was the genius international marketing team at Fox.

tex7570363 karma

It seems you have both written for almost every genre, What is your favorite thus far? I cannot wait for this movie, I'm so happy and excited that it has the R rating; Deadpool as anything else just wouldn't be Deadpool.

RhettAndPaul156 karma

Rhett: Where here's a dirty little secret. We were the first runner up to the write the 50 Shades of Grey movie.

Paul: True story.

Rhett: True story. So there's no genre we don't want to tackle. Again, they say "Write what you know."

BelieveEnemie62 karma

Did you worry that you would write a great script and then someone else would come along and fuck it up?

RhettAndPaul100 karma

Rhett: Uh... hahah. YES. We always worry about that.

Paul: We always worry about us fucking it up.

Rhett: We have a phrase that we didn't make up but we just call it "assassins". Hollywood is full of assassins and you never know where they're coming from.

DirtyDC7460 karma

If Ryan Reynolds was busy "washing his hair", who would you have loved to have been cast as Deadpool?

RhettAndPaul152 karma

Rhett: Long sigh

Paul: Is Ryan naked while he's getting his hair washed? Cuz that's all we can think about.

dispatcher_8356 karma

How long had the Deadpool script been in development? Was it written before the film was green lit, like when the test footage took place?

What difficulties did you have writing this movie versus other films?

How much of the film would you say has been ad-libbed or scenes were given extra attention to try different jokes out (specifically thinking of TJ Miller stating a lot of the "you look like..." jokes got caught due to content)??

RhettAndPaul174 karma

Paul: It's been in development for 6 1/2 years and was written long before the test footage was shot. The test footage was shot in 2011 and the script was written in 2009. We've had a draft every year, and the script was leaked in 2014. And that's really the reason we're sitting here today. You guys - the fans - brought this to the screen with your passion and love.

Paul: This was the easiest movie we ever wrote - the hardest to get made, but the easiest to script. It's so much fun to write the character and the voice - it lives within our heads. He's irreverent, funny, outrageous - what else would you add?

Rhett: And you get to break every rule when you write him. Every rule of decorum and every screenwriting rule. And what's more fun than that?

Paul: Most filmmakers have a passion project and it's usually a small independent movie. Ours was a big Marvel/Fox superhero movie.

Rhett: Paul's touching himself again. I guess this s what passion looks like.

Paul: You should see how it feels.

nywanderer51 karma

You guys kiss your mother's with those mouths?

RhettAndPaul249 karma

Paul: I kiss Rhett's mother with this mouth.

Rhett: This partnership is over.

Paul: If I teamed up with your mom, we'd still be Reese-Wernick.

mwthecool49 karma

How did it feel for the idea to FINALLY get through fox? Also, what are some things you had to cut from the movie because it was too dirty/vulgar?

RhettAndPaul159 karma

Paul: It's a dream come true. We've spent 6 1/2 years pushing the ball up the hill only to have it roll back and crush us each and every time. So finally see it come to live on the screen makes us happier than you can imagine.

Rhett: Paul's touching himself as he talks about this right now.

Paul: I'm actually touching you, Rhett.

Rhett: So that's what that was.

Paul: We've been partners so long we're not sure who's touching who but we enjoy it.

TheKingOfFlan48 karma

What was your favorite moment on set?

RhettAndPaul131 karma

Rhett: I would answer the banter between Ryan Reynolds and TJ Miller in the bar. hearing two of the world's finest improvisers both deliver our lines and sometimes improve upon them was something I'll personally never forget.

Paul: My favorite day on set was the time we brought in a sushi chef.

Mrxcman9247 karma

Will you be writing the Deadpool sequel if it happens or will some other writers take charge? Also are there any characters you would like to include in the sequel (if it happens) that you couldn't include in the upcoming movie?

RhettAndPaul117 karma

Rhett: Well, I mean, absolutely. There are characters linked to Deadpool such as Cable, Siryn, etc. plus a plethora of X-Men characters to explore. We are licking our chops.

Paul: That's me licking your chops. Again.

Rhett: This is starting to sound like the ComiCon appearance of Dan Radcliffe and James McAvoy.

justSFWthings43 karma

How do I convince my wife to see your movie with me? Nothing has worked so far. ;)

RhettAndPaul124 karma

Rhett: Nothing as worked so far... Have you considered chloroform?

Paul: Oh! And Ryan Reynolds takes his shirt off. And his pants.

Rhett: And his underpants!

bumbleshirts38 karma

Is Deadpool more a 4chan, a reddit or a 9gag?

RhettAndPaul107 karma

Rhett: Reddit all the way. Smiles

musubitime38 karma

Was an NC-17 rating ever on the table?

RhettAndPaul84 karma

Rhett: No, it wasn't. Studios just don't make NC-17 movies. But that said, we wouldn't have wanted to make one. We think Deadpool goes just the right amount of "far".

Daaziengs36 karma

How do you get into the writing business? Just a curious enthusiast.

RhettAndPaul86 karma

Paul: Write! And keep writing.

Rhett: We call it "seat time." Wear out the seat of your chair and watch a ton of movies,

Paul: Live a ton of life, because you're always drawing on personal experience.

Rhett: And read a ton of history and literature. And watch Breaking Bad.

TheKingOfFlan36 karma

What's the first thing you are going to do when the movie is released to theaters?

RhettAndPaul114 karma

Paul: Go see it. Again and again and again.

Quite honestly, it's a true thrill to watch the movie with an audience. We spend our time more watching you watch the movie than we do the movie itself. So if there's a guy staring at you for an hour an 46 minutes in the dark, it's probably Rhett or myself.

Rhett: Or you starring in Stephen King's Gerald's Game.

samsamuel77730 karma

What is your favorite line from the movie? Have you ever gotten to use a Deadpool line in real life?

RhettAndPaul65 karma

Paul: We sit around, Ryan, Rhett and myself, and quote lines from the movie all day long. It's rather insufferable.

Rhett: And pathetic. I'll say my favorite line of Paul's, which is the joke about Professor X and the X-Men timelines.

Paul: Mine is what Vanessa says to Wade about his appearance near the end of the movie.

devilsadvocate0927 karma

Hello fellow humans,

This question is for the both of you, what is your least favorite food?

RhettAndPaul91 karma

Rhett: Coconut, I gave Tallahassee in Zombieland my exact aversion to coconut. The texture, not the taste.

JigglesTheThird27 karma

How annoying is it when someone calls Deadpool, spider-man?

RhettAndPaul63 karma

Rhett: Hahaha Only annoying for Deadpool, we're cool with it.

Paul: And Spiderman.

Mist3rA27 karma

You already had a completed script before the movie was greenlit, so when Fox said yes, did you change and rework the script?

RhettAndPaul52 karma

Rhett: Most of the changes after a greenlight have to do with budgetary and logistical issues. So yes we did change it, but creatively it stayed very similar.

SeamusMcGeee26 karma

Was this film made with the idea that a sequel was always going to happen?

RhettAndPaul68 karma

Paul: We write every movie with the idea that a sequel is going to happen. At least, that's our hope. Doesn't always come to fruition. But yes, we've spent the last 6 1/2 years thinking of not only this movie but Deadpool movies that will follow.

Rhett: You're jinxing us! So quit!

sunkissed2125 karma

Were you on set during the filming? If so, did it inspire any re-writes or additions / deletions to the script?

RhettAndPaul51 karma

Paul: Every single day. And every single day.

lockd0wn24 karma

What do you think sets your scripts apart from others?

Are there elements of storytelling you focus on?

RhettAndPaul70 karma

Rhett: I think one thing we pride ourselves in is an ability to juggle different tones and find combinations of tones that stand apart from what people are used to seeing.

Plus, we write all our scripts in wedding font.

vensmith9317 karma

When did you start writing Deadpool? And how much fun have you had writing it? Any shenanigans that you'd like to share?

RhettAndPaul55 karma

Rhett: Writing Deadpool was a joy. I remember sitting in PF Chang's in Santa Monica, California 6 years ago writing the scene where Deadpool fights Colossus and I was practically bouncing up and down in my chair. Dreaming of a moment when that scene would come true on the big screen with an honest-to-god CG Colossus and Ryan Reynolds in a suit. So when that came true, you can imagine how I felt.

The toughest part was the intervening five years because so much of our job requires begging people to trust us. And the really gratifying thing is that this regime at Fox did trust us and they deserve all the credit in the world. If I could send one message to Hollywood it would be to trust the lunatics sometimes.

Life_in_the_tropics14 karma

Was there any pressure to tone down the script?

i.e. get it to PG 13 rating.

RhettAndPaul53 karma

Paul: We wrote a PG13 draft of the script somewhere in the 6 1/2 years of development.

Rhett: It wasn't terrible but it felt a little off. There's was just something wrong about it.

Ikimasen14 karma

How much comic-book reading did you do as part of the preparation process? What character notes did you work with for creating an identity for Colossus?

RhettAndPaul35 karma

Rhett: Well, I mean, we did a fair amount. I mean, that was our job. But we knew Colossus from previous comics so that was easier. Um You need to do your reading and then you need to set that stuff aside, because you don't want to become a mimic. Our job was not to mimic the brilliant writers who came before us. It was to put our own individual spin on the characters, while also being faithful.