Deadpool - Making of an Iconic Antihero Suit

By Joe Kucharski - February 19, 2016

Deadpool, one of the most crass, hard-hitting, and iconic comic book characters finally hit the big screen this month, after years of development. The film (and its incredible star Ryan Reynolds!) nails the character perfectly, and both old and new fans alike are singing its praise, propelling it to the biggest R-rated opening weekend in film history (as well as 20th Century Fox’s biggest debut weekend EVER). And what is a great antihero film without a great antihero suit?! To learn more about the costume’s creation, we went right to the source!

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions 

The studio called on Russ Shinkle of specialty costume workshop Film Illusions to help take their concept art and turn it into a reality. Film Illusions is the shop behind some of the most iconic action and fantasy looks in recent years, including costumes for Batman v. Superman, The Avengers, Thor, Man of Steel, The Hunger Games, and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Below is just a small behind the scenes look at the making of a legendary comic book costume.

 Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions

Tyranny of Style: Can you talk to us about the process of initially translating comic book artwork and a studio’s concept art into a design that is appropriate to be worn by a real-life actor?

Russ Shinkle: “For me, it's all about proportions. Typically comic book art is fairly over the top in terms of physique so it is a balance between reality and the source material. When approaching these types of characters I try to focus on the silhouette first before I even think about details. Size, shape and the flow of the design. If you don't start there it's easy to get lost in the details.”

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Patterning and Sewing

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Sewing

T/S: Can you talk to us a bit about the specialty requirements you had to consider and work to accommodate in the Deadpool suit and how you addressed that through craftsmanship and technology?

RS: “As described, Deadpool is violently agile so we knew going in there was going to be a large amount of stunts and movement.  We created costumes specifically for Ryan [Reynolds] as well as two different stunt performers, each with their own specialties.  Obviously, the stunt suits had to be more flexible but we also created the masks so the eye areas were removable.  This way we could make several different versions of the eyes to accommodate the severity of each stunt.  We also made these porous to allow airflow to the actor.  This not only helped the actor breathe, but also eliminated the problem of the eyes fogging over.”

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Removeable Eye Inserts

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Removeable Eye Inserts

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Row of Deadpool headpieces

 

T/S: Can you talk to us about how you approached making a tailored suit that accommodates that whole range of requirements while maintaining a really tough, realistic, tactical feel through the softgoods? This is no shiny spandex suit!

RS: “Luckily for us, Deadpool is very 'geared up' so that certainly helped us to keep the suit grounded in reality.  However, with these costumes every choice or decision you make can have a big impact on the final product.  We all knew very early that the costume would not make the movie, but we could certainly destroy the project if we didn't get it right.  So for me, every color, texture and shape was scrutinized.”

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Finishing

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Finishing

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Fitting

T/S: Can you talk to us about the range of hard goods that go into a costume like this? What are some technologies you use often or possibly developed new uses for specifically for Deadpool?

RS: “In creating these costumes we almost always start with a 3D laser scan of the actor.  We then make copies of the bodies for use in the shop.  This not only gives us constant access to the actor's body, but allows us to use and enhance the body shape to perfect the proportions. For Deadpool, we utilized virtually every department in our studio- digital sculpting and 3D printing, traditional sculpting and molding, costume patterning and fabrication, and mechanical fabrication.”

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Headpiece Development 

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions - Headpiece Development 

Deadpool - Costume Construction by Film Illusions

  

A HUGE thanks to Russ Shinkle for both his incredible work bringing this character to life on screen through this incredible costume, as well as his generosity of time sharing his wonderful process with us. If you have not seen Deadpool (and know that it earned EVERY bit of its R raiting), make sure to check it out on the big screen!

Check-out more of the phenomenal designs and construction from the team at Film Illusions here- www.FilmIllusions.com