We spent some time chatting with Julian Dennison while he was in Sydney promoting the upcoming release of Deadpool 2.
Julian is a Kiwi actor, known best for his role as Ricky Baker in Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople. In Deadpool 2, he plays Russell Collins – aka Firefist. We spoke a bit to the lovely teenager about his role in the film and his interest in the Marvel films – and tried to keep it spoiler-free.
How did your role in Deadpool 2 come about?
I was in LA already for something else. We just met up with the director [David Leitch] and I did a screen test and a reading with Ryan [Reynolds]. They sent it off to Fox and they said ‘yeah, we’d love to have you play Firefist.’
Were you much of a Marvel Comics fan before you landed the part?
I wasn’t much of a fan of the comics necessarily, but I’ve watched all the movies. I love sitting down with my mates and watching Marvel movies, they’re all great.
What kind of research did you do to prepare for the character of Russell?
I read a couple of the comics that Firefist was in, but David wanted to take the character in a bit of a different direction from the comics. We – my acting coach and I – worked on making Russel more of an angry character. Firefist is a kid from the earlier stages of the comics, from the ’90s, so not many people remember him or know who he is.
How was working with actors like Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin?
Working with Ryan was great – he’s a really cool dude. Working with Josh as well was awesome; he seems so intimidating, and he put on a lot of muscle for this role and seems really huge, but in reality he’s such a nice, down to Earth guy.
How was working on Deadpool different to working on a smaller project like Wilderpeople?
It was on such a bigger scale. The budget was bigger, the catering was probably better – actually, not probably, it was. It was different – meeting so many new people, and it was such a phsycially challenging movie as well. All the stunts and the coordination. The CGI was really cool, too.
So did you do a lot of your own stunts then?
Not all the big stunts; I did the beginner ones, the ones where you see my face. There was supposed to be this cool one where I could wear a harness and go up in the air, but they ended up not needing it, and I was a bit gutted about that. I had a really amazing stuntman; his name was James and he was a really cool dude.
Is there anyone in the Marvel universe that you’d like to team up with?
I love how Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) have a really cool partnership in Thor: Ragnarok. I’d probably like to team up with a bigger character – maybe Hulk or She-Hulk. It would be cool to see the contrast with little Russell and a bigger mutant or superhero.
Do you think Russell has a positive impact on Wade/Deadpool’s life?
Yeah, of course. Deadpool’s sort of like a father figure to him, but like a really horrible father. Like, really bad – the worst father. Russell’s a good influence on him; he change’s Deadpool’s life, and makes him care about something else.
So does that mean now that Russell is a member of X-Force?
I hope so! I hope they don’t kill me off. The writers could be like ‘actually, we’re getting bored of this character, let’s kill him off,’ and then he dies or gets shot in the first act. It would also be cool to have a solo film. I’ve always wanted to be in a team up movie like The Avengers or whatever so that would be cool.
Finally – we know that in Wilderpeople Ricky likes to make up haikus – do you have one for Russell?
My name is Russell Collins.
I am Firefist.
I have the best super powers.
Deadpool 2 is in cinemas May 16.