Apologies To Ryan Reynolds, But This Is The Real Reason To See Deadpool

Photo: Photo: Maarten de Boer/Contour by Getty Images.
Brianna Hildebrand, the 19-year-old from Texas who stars in a highly anticipated superhero movie opening this weekend, isn’t all that into superhero movies. “They are really hit-or-miss for me,” she said during a recent interview in New York. “I want to see...what is it? Captain America vs. Superman, is it?” (For the record, Captain America faces off against Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. And then there's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.)

Hildebrand's apathy for comic book flicks is actually appropriate, given that she's in Deadpool, which is as much a part of the genre as it is a sarcastic riff on it. Ryan Reynolds plays the cocky hero, a former mercenary who gains his powers through an experimental treatment that also leaves him horribly disfigured. Deadpool cracks wise, breaks the fourth wall, and disparages the franchise culture that has consumed Hollywood. Hildebrand — who also starred in a Sundance indie, First Girl I Loved, and is a singer-songwriter on the side — plays Negasonic Teenage Warhead, an X-Men apprentice with a killer, so-over-it glare who comes to Deadpool’s aid. Negasonic (née Ellie Phimister) dies quickly in the comic books, but here she is, full of life as a surly teen who wears black and matches Deadpool's snarky commentary. She can also turn herself into an exploding fireball.

It's not a bad way to make your big-screen debut, literally bursting onto the scene.

What was your first impression of Negasonic?
“She was so cool. She’s super apathetic, which is kind of opposite to my own character.”

Were you ever that sullen, too-cool-for-school teenager?
“Absolutely. I was definitely super rebellious, probably when I was 15 or 16. I was out partying all the time and piercing things, and just, like, by myself in my room with my friends.”

How did you nail down her persona? You must have had to perfect an eye roll for it.
“Kind of, yeah. I think also I have a pretty stern resting bitch face. It was easy to give the nasty looks. It was cool to hone in on her insecurities and how they actually affect this persona that she tries to project. She is so cool and doesn’t care, but obviously she really cares inside.”

There are more and more female superheroes projects, but it’s still a male-dominated genre. What was it like building your own kick-ass superheroine?
“It was awesome — especially getting to put in the parts of me that are really strong and superhero-like. Because everyone has a side to them that’s, like, invincible-feeling. It made me feel super strong."

What was it like developing Negasonic's relationship with Deadpool? She's one of the few who hits him back with a dose of his own medicine.
“It was pretty fun, because I have three older brothers. When I was really young, they would always pick on me and I would just be really mean back, because that was the only thing I could do. I think [Negasonic and Deadpool have] kind of a brother-and-sister relationship, the way they nag at each other.”
Photo: The Moviestore Collection Ltd/REX Shutterstock.

What's your favorite Negasonic put down?
“At the end, when Deadpool goes to the X Mansion and [calls me] ‘Ripley from Alien 3,’ she says, ‘Fuck, you’re old.’ That’s my favorite part of the whole thing. I was stoked they let me say a cuss word.”

Deadpool compares you to Sinéad O’Connor several times in reference to your hairstyle. Are you a fan?
“Absolutely. Woman power. Anyone who shaves their head, I am totally a fan of. I probably shaved my head like two years ago, just because I felt like shaving my head. I think it’s really cool that women are just like, My hair doesn’t define me. Anybody with short hair I will worship, probably.”

Did you get a lot of Sinéad comparisons when you shaved your head?
“Yeah. That’s probably the first thing I got — Sinéad O’Connor. Then, it was Demi Moore.”

You’re pretty young. Did you get those references initially?
“Yeah, I definitely knew who Sinéad O’Connor was because I was obsessed with her for a second — probably when I was 11 to 13. I really love music, I’m a musician, so I loved Sinéad O’Connor anyway, and the fact that she had a shaved head was so cool.”

I have a pretty stern resting bitch face. It was easy to give the nasty looks.

Brianna Hildebrand

You filmed in Vancouver. As a cast, did you bond a lot?
“Our movie’s so rated R, and Tim [Miller, the director] is vulgar as himself. So on set, it was rated R, too. We definitely hung out a few times outside of set, probably [the other cast members] more than me, because I’m a lot younger than them and I can’t get in anywhere. So it would be like, 'Okay, guys, have a good night.' I was chilling. I brought my cat to Vancouver.”

Teen boys are going to love Deadpool. What do you hope teen girls get out of Negasonic?
"I hope they just relate to her. I hope they are just like, Man, I feel like that all the time. I wish I could act like that all the time. That’s how I felt when I read her. I think it’s awesome that Deadpool’s love interest [Morena Baccarin] is really strong, too. All the women in this film are."

Was it hard to keep a straight face during any of the scenes with Deadpool?
"Yeah, multiple times. It was hard to take him seriously. Especially once you see [Ryan] out of the suit and then he’s back in the suit as Deadpool. You’re like, 'Pfft, I know you’re in there.'"

Is that because Ryan is sort of goofy out of the suit?
"I would say he’s more goofy than Deadpool. Deadpool is more vulgar. Even though Ryan’s still vulgar, he has a daughter. He’s more fun and goofy than rated R all the time."

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