To set the mood for the murderous mayhem of its hotly anticipated, utterly irreverent sequel Deadpool 2, Twentieth Century Fox’s turned to Method Studios. The New York team created a dramatic opening vignette with 90 seconds of full CG, full of fandom-appropriate flourishes. And, nods to one of the OG action blockbuster legends.
“I’ve always loved Deadpool. In fact, I taught myself to animate using Deadpool back in the day,” said Method Studios Creative Director John Likens, who led the studio’s work for both the opening titles and main-on-ends. “The first Deadpool film had such an iconic opening sequence, it set a high bar for the franchise and inspired us to create something equally as strong for the sequel. We thought it would be really fun to take Deadpool through the tropes of Bond film opening sequences, so we pitched the concept to David Leitch and the team. Turns out they loved it as much as we did.”
To bring this vision to the big screen, Likens, together with Method Studios Executive Creative Director Jon Noorlander and a team of artists, collaborated with production VFX supervisor Dan Glass, director David Leitch, and producer and lead actor Ryan Reynolds, with Leitch and Reynolds providing much of the creative. Throughout the opening, the Merc with a Mouth breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience at various points, while navigating situations brimming with action, sex appeal, and the power ballad chords of Celine Dion’s “Ashes.”
While Deadpool is portrayed in abstract environments, the character himself is photoreal. Method helped develop a feature film Deadpool asset, which was the keyframe animated into scenes by Method’s Matt Hackett and Goran Ognjanovic. Keeping in line with the Bond-esque visual approach, artists employed dynamic light and shadow, and created stylized transitions.
“The opening sequence went through every department here at Method New York so our entire team brought something to the table. It was a really fun project; everyone was doing their best work and it was definitely a career highlight for me,” added Likens.
Bookending the feature, a smaller design team at Method also created the main-on-end titles for Deadpool 2. The 90-second sequence features a montage of crayon drawings, presumably done by Deadpool, that revisit scenes from the film. Likens drew nearly 60 different scenarios for the sequence by hand, with about half making it into the final cut.
Likens concluded, “We had a lot of back and forth with production on the jokes and how far to push things. There’s so much Deadpool culture and memes to pull from, it was a really fun exploration and I hope the audience enjoys the drawings. My personal favorite is Deadpool dressed as Blind Al – smile for GrannyPool!”
Additionally, Method VFX teams handled about 300 VFX shots for the sequel, and Skip Kimball of Method sister company EFILM provided the color grade.
Deadpool 2 is now in theaters. More info and showtimes at www.deadpool.com .