After years spinning its wheels, Deadpool finally made it to the big screen in 2016, wowing audiences and changing the superhero game. But while Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth was the star attraction, many were equally as drawn in by the inclusion of iconic X-Men member Colossus. With Deadpool 2 hitting UK screens imminently, we caught up with the truly charming Stefan Kapicic – the man behind Colossus – to discuss this most hotly anticipated of sequels, his history as a huge comic book nerd, what may lie ahead for Colossus in the future, working with Ryan Reynolds, and so, so much more.
STARBURST: In terms of screen time and importance to the story, what can you tell us about the role of Colossus this time out in Deadpool 2?
Stefan Kapicic: After the first part, Colossus definitely became one of the fan favourites. I can’t talk a lot about the plot, but Colossus is involved in a big plot. I know the fans are going to be extremely happy in how we’re portraying Colossus, one of the iconic X-Men. The beautiful thing is the relationship between Colossus and Deadpool is being upgraded. Colossus is like a father figure, a big brother figure. He’s an old school superhero who is trying to get Deadpool on the right side. He knows that Deadpool has a good heart and that he can become an X-Men, he can become a real hero. That’s one of the missions that Colossus has in the comic books, and now in Deadpool 2 he’s still going to be pursuing that. In the trailers, Colossus says, “You have a good heart, we’re training you to become an X-Men.” So from that point of the plot, you will see Colossus still trying to get Deadpool to become a good person.
You’re a self-confessed massive comic book nerd. Which comic book characters would you highlight as your personal favourites growing up?
I was born in Germany but I’m originally from the ex-Yugoslavia, so we had a big influence from Italian comic books and European comic books like Corto Maltese or Sergio Bonelli. But then again, you get your first love with DC and Marvel Comics. As a kid, I used to like Superman and Batman, but Batman was my favourite. I can still remember when I got my first Marvel comic books. My grandpa bought them for me, these original comic books, and I remember the first one I grabbed was Wolverine #50. It’s a yellow front page with his claws tearing through the page. That’s when I fell in love with Wolverine and, of course, right away with the X-Men. So as a comic book geek, for me, having the chance to portray a character like Colossus, I’ve said it many times but it’s like an Academy Award for me. We all dream when we are kids to become a superhero, and I got this chance. It’s two years from the first Deadpool. This movie changed my life, Colossus as a character definitely changed my life, and this dream’s still going on. Sometimes I’m pinching myself, trying to understand if this is really happening to me. For a lot of actors, being a superhero or comic book character is just like a job. For me, it’s something really emotional. It combines the beauty of my job and my dreams, my childhood dreams. My first love was comic books, before even movies and theatre and acting it was comic books. It’s something for me that’s a dream that’s still going on.
Upon landing the Colossus role, did you go back and read any particular arcs to pull inspiration from?
I was really, really familiar with the X-Men and Colossus, but when I got the role I sat down with Tim Miller, the director of the first Deadpool. He’s a huge comic book geek. When you go his studios – Blur Studios – you can see a huge wall full of comic books. He knows every single character from the beginning to the end, so we were combining our comic book geek knowledge to see and find the perfect Colossus behaviour, characteristics, the voice, the accent. When we talk now, you can see I have an accent but it’s still not the Russian accent we have for Colossus. Tim Miller wanted to be honest to the comic books, that’s why we made, as fans say today, the perfect Colossus. Fans were not satisfied in how he’d been done in the X-Men franchise, so now they finally got their Colossus. Thank god he didn’t have that much time in the X-Men franchise as otherwise it would maybe be a different sort of character. But thanks to that, we got to make the Colossus people love. In the first part I did some CGI but mainly the voice. Now in the sequel, you can see the difference. Now I do everything, so you can see the face mapping, the facial expressions, and of course the voice. It was mine, Tim’s and Ryan’s creation, but now I’m much more Colossus. I’m really proud and I think we did an amazing job for the sequel. I really am, I’m just so proud and grateful to god and to Fox. I was working with Ryan Reynolds that much more closely, and we did so many new things to Colossus. I had so much help from Ryan Reynolds. Working with him is one of the best things in my career.
As alluded to, this time out you were a lot more involved with the motion capture side of Colossus in addition to the voice. What element would you say was more challenging?
In this situation, it was both at the same time. I’m a theatre actor first of all, so I started my career in theatre. This is so much like a theatre role. It was hard at the beginning because I was new to this. I did ADR [Automated Dialogue Replacement] but this is not like ADR, this is something that you’re creating; the character that will later be done through CGI and through computers. So I had to do all the fights, all the action so many times, but the beauty of the work is your working with something and talking these lines: these famous comic book lines. Sometimes people are talking about how it’s a superhero character so it’s not Shakespeare. But you know, I’m going to say this and I’m going to stand behind this, sometimes comic book characters are exactly the same as Shakespeare’s characters. You can make them real, you can justify them. This is a superhero being, not an ordinary person. Plus, with the voice you have to bring this soul. If you see my face and see me as a person, it would be much easier because you could see my real face and my facial expressions. In this way, it was such a big, big job to do. I’ve seen the final version and I’m so proud at what we did.
Being such a huge fan of Colossus, of the X-Men, was there a pinpoint moment where it hit you that “I’m a superhero!”, that this is real?
Man, I don’t want to sound funny but it’s happening every single day. Even this morning when I woke up. The movie is coming in a few days in the UK and a little bit later in the States. I’m thanking god every single morning when I wake up that I have this chance. I realise it, I get so happy, then I’m “is this real?” With this role, in the first movie we expected it to be a great film but we didn’t know that there would be this craze from the fans, this unbelievable marketing that Fox is coming out with, but we didn’t expect to become a record-breaking movie, especially because we’re R-rated. We’re not like Avengers: Infinity War where you can bring kids, we’re R-rated. So this success for an R-rated movie is unbelievable. I’m always saying how thankful I am, but it’s something that nobody expected so that’s why it seems like a dream.
There’s a lot of people returning for Deadpool 2, from screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, to Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Leslie Uggams, Briana Hilderbrand, and Karan Soni. Given that, is there almost a family feel to the production?
Yeah, those guys are amazing. The thing is, this cast, especially the cast from the first film, it’s like a family. I know a lot of actors will say that because it happens, it’s part of our job, but we were doing a movie full of action, a movie full of comedy, which makes you feel good every morning when you are going to the set. So you bond. Then you have the success with the first one, everybody that came back from the first part, and, of course, the new additions which are unbelievable! Zazie Beetz totally killed it as Domino. That girl is brilliant. And Josh Brolin, who is a great, amazing actor, and his portrayal of Cable is beautiful. I saw Briana last night, and I’m going and doing these Comic Cons all around the world. A lot of us are doing those. So this Deadpool saga is going great off the screen as much as it goes great on the screen. We’re just one really big, happy family.
David Leitch is on directing duties this time around. How would you describe the differences between him and Tim Miller, or was it a pretty seamless transition between directors?
You can never compare directors because each director brings their own signature. I’m not a person that would compare. Tim Miller started this franchise with Ryan Reynolds and Fox, then we have David Leitch, who is a massive action director. He brought his own signature to this, which people will see. Those are different universes. It’s a totally new view with new paths. I’m really happy how David did his job on this sequel. You will see the reactions to the movie. It’s something totally different. The good thing about Deadpool is when you are waiting for Infinity War you know what to expect. If you know your comic books then you know what to expect, that the story will go this way, it’s really serious, it’s heartbreaking. With Deadpool, you never know what to expect. Trust me, I’m in the movie and I didn’t know what to expect. I got surprised in so many ways, so I cannot wait to see how people will react to so many surprises that they don’t even know that’s going to happen.
In writing about Deadpool 2 ahead of its release, there are still even now so many question marks, such as the speculation over Jack Kesy’s role or the character played by Julian Dennison, which is quite refreshing to see from a movie these days.
Exactly! Trust me, it’s so well packed and nobody knows what’s going to happen. What you’ve seen so far is maybe 2% of what’s going on in the movie. With Deadpool, you never know what path it’s going to take. It’s a movie that really cannot be compared to anything. It’s its own genre. That’s really rare for you to be able to make a totally new genre. That’s the beauty of it. Of course, nothing really fits without Ryan Reynolds. That guy, I don’t think there would be anybody in the world who could portray Deadpool like Ryan Reynolds. That guy is Deadpool. That’s it, that’s the brilliance of that. This movie is some sort of a gift, it’s something that nobody expects. It’s a feel-good movie. That’s one of the powers of Deadpool, because you will not go out of the movie without laughing a thousand times. This is going to make you feel happy when you’re exiting the theatre. I’m a movie geek too, and in the last few years there’s not many movies where I’ve felt they’ve made my day, made my night, made me forget my problems. They are things that we did with Deadpool. People were crazy for it and were watching it so many times. My mum and dad are in their 60s and they saw Deadpool five or six times. They just loved the movie, they loved the energy, the optimism, and Ryan Reynolds.
For all we know it might happen in this film, but has there been any discussions of having a non-metal Colossus appear at some point in the future?
It was discussed, but right now this if the concept that’s working really well for Deadpool as a franchise. I can’t say anything about that, but it’s something that’s been discussed. The good thing about the UK is that for MCM London – which takes place May 25th to May 27th – myself, Briana and Zazie are going to attend. So that’s ten days after the film is released, so fans can come and that’s really good, that’s beautiful because I’ll be able to talk a lot more about the things that happen in the movie.
Based on how the reception was to Colossus in the first film – and we’re sure it will be just as good this time, if not even better – is there any chance of that character appearing in the main X-Men franchise?
There have been some talks, there’s some things going on, some things developing. There’s always the possibility, especially now with all of this success. You see what the first part brought to Colossus, and then there’s the sequel. It will be worth waiting for. And then, of course, there’s assembling the X-Force in this one. Everything is up to the studio, but then I’m just extremely happy that I have the chance to be a part of this franchise. My biggest reward is the fans’ recognition of Colossus. I’ve done Comic Cons all around the world, and people are just coming and giving me so much praise. It’s really humbling but it just feels so good that you make something like that. Fans can make you or break you. I’m one of the fans, so I don’t like when people destroy a character or its not done well. With this particular thing, we made it right.
One last question, which isn’t particularly connected to Deadpool 2 or Colossus, but as such a huge comic book fan, whether it’s the X-Men or not, Marvel or not, what are your favourite comic book arcs or stories that you find yourself going back to on a regular basis?
There’s so many! It’s like asking which is your favourite movie of all time. There’s so many arcs that I really love. I don’t want to sound all about X-Men and Marvel, but from Giant-Size X-Men from 1975, the first appearance of the new X-Men with Storm and Nightcrawler, until #126 or #127 of Uncanny X-Men. The whole path of those ones. Maybe #124 as you have Colossus becoming Proletarian. But then again, I even loved Extraordinary X-Men, the new ones. Non-X-Men, I was a huge fan of the Punisher and I loved the Punisher War Zone series. Now you’ve got me, I could talk all day. I’m a huge fan of Preacher. Then again, Frank Miller, c’mon?! And Alan Moore, c’mon?! Every little thing that these guys are doing… Sin City is one of my favourite all-time comic books. Man, you’ve got me. I could talk about this stuff all day long. When I was in Madrid for Comic Con, Frank Miller did for me a sketch of Colossus, which he’s never drawn before. I’ve got this artwork from him of him drawing Colossus for me. There was a portrait, half-face of mine, half-face of Colossus. I’m getting all of this and I just love comic books, so this is unbelievable.
Deadpool 2 is in UK cinemas from May 15th.