Interview: Actor Stefan Kapicic Talks ‘Deadpool’

kapicic

The new antihero action/comedy Deadpool is out now and it is a rare exercise in satirical fun. The script is as sharp as the titular character’s swords and the cast is absolutely perfect. Croatian-Serbian actor Stefan Kapicic is included in that perfect cast and he plays X-Man Colossus in the film. Through the use of motion capture technology, the gifted actor relies mostly on his voice and his performance is without a doubt, one the film’s strongest aspects. I was able to sit down with Stefan and it was truly illuminating chat. Here’s how it went:

Stefan, tell me how you got involved with the project.

Well, it was like, in the beginning, a regular process. I was doing some performances in Croatia and Montenegro, so when managers sent me the sides for some hush-hush project, so I didn’t know what’s going on because the names were, like, totally different from real names. And you know, I did the tapes and sent them back, and a few days after that, a casting director from 20th Century Fox approached me, and they gave some new indications of how I should work on that role, so I did it, and then again, a few days after that, they called me, and they changed some names. And me as a comic book geek, when I read it’s name “Weight,” it had the name “Weight” on the sides, I knew that it could be only be Wade Wilson. The other guy’s a superhero, and he speaks with a pseudo-Russian accent. The only one it can be is Colossus, so I was like, oh my god, I know how to do this! And I’m very familiar with this man, Wilson, and their universe. So I did, like, 120 takes, lots of different versions, and we sent that. I had, like, a three day gap between my performances in Croatia and in Montenegro, so they flew me in. I was traveling all day. The next day, I was filming, like, it was supposed to be four hours. I was working for nine hours with Miller, who is one of the best directors I ever worked with, and after that, I got on a plane and went back to Montenegro and arrived, like, 2 hours before my performance. So I sat on the stage in my costume and was like, was this a dream? And thank god, it wasn’t. A few days later, they called me and said, “You booked the job.” And I became the happiest man in the world.

Growing up, were there other superheroes that you looked up to, that you wanted to play?

Oh yeah, so many of them, you know, because when I was a six-year-old boy, I fell in love with the Marvel universe, and the first comic book that I read was X-Men and Wolverine. After that, Punisher was one of my favorite characters, and the other universes, I’m a fan of all comic books. The whole universes of other…how do you say that? Other comic books, in general. But I would love to play, and I’m saying this so many times, but I would love to play Kraven the Hunter because I think he’s a really cool villain, and he’s not used yet, and he’s Russian, Sergei Kravinoff. And the good thing is I resemble, I look like him, a lot.

I’m not really familiar, is he an X-Men or…?

No, he’s a villain. He was, like, Spider-Man’s villain, but he shows up in lots of other comic books, and I think he had an encounter with Deadpool, so who knows? Maybe I’m going to fight Deadpool in the next movie. Maybe I’m going to be Colossus in his human form. I pray to God something will happen like that, but you know, people love Colossus so much, and I did a really great job, so all the reactions from Rob Liefeld, the creator of Deadpool, are amazing. So many amazing compliments, and fans love me as Colossus, so I think we’re going to last a long time.

That would be great, I hope so too. I can feel it after seeing the movie. You can just sense a sequel. You know, I don’t want to jinx it, but…

Yeah, Colossus is still trying to get Deadpool to become an X-Men. That would be really funny.

I like it, I like it. What were some challenges you faced on set?

Well, I enjoyed every second of it, doing this, you know, because I had Tim Miller on my side. From the first moment we met, because he’s a comic book fan, he knows what he’s doing. He has, like, an amazing approach to actors because he just gives you total freedom to do whatever you think is good for the character, and he helps you, you know, with your improvisations, and he takes everything that you create right away to, you know, move in some other direction, and he knew what he wanted. He wanted to make the perfect authentic Colossus, not as a Colossus in the X-Men franchise, which is a little bit different, but from this version of Colossus, and I think this is the correct one. This is the perfect one, plus we have to now, we need to have Colossus with a Russian accent. He doesn’t speak American because he’s not an American. That’s one of the things that every comic book fan knows, like even in the cartoon series, there was – like, you had Colossus talking like Russian, which is something that’s one of the main characteristics of the character.

And now, is it also a characteristic that he would remain in his metallic form the whole time, or would he switch to human form?

Oh, do you mean –

I mean, is your version more in tune with the original?

Yes, yes.

I know that in previous films that he would turn human.

Yes, but the thing is, because Deadpool has, like, humor moments through all the movie, you know, so it would be much better to have Colossus in his superhero mode right away because you see him as a big brute, like you know, Colossus, the metal big guy. But you know, his soul is, like, human. He’s so fragile. He’s such an old-school superhero, you know, old-fashioned guy, like a gentleman. He doesn’t swear, he doesn’t curse, you know, he’s just a perfect man. He’s like some sort of Marvel universe Superman.

Okay, yeah.

He’s a man of steel! (laughs) Literally!

What made you want to become an actor?

Well, my mom was an actress, but when I was born, she decided, you know, her family is more important than her career. Thank god for that. So that influenced from the moment when I was realizing who I am, and my father on the other side was a world-champion in basketball. So I was always in between basketball and acting. I was, you know, captain of the team, of the basketball team, the star. But then I was still going to acting classes when I was a kid, so I had, like, those two things always…I didn’t know which path I’m going to choose. With any one moment, I couldn’t ever be, like, basketball is my father. That was a big burden, and acting was always much more, I loved it more than basketball. So in one moment, I just went to the Academy of Dramatic Arts, and it’s one of the most prestigious acting schools in Eastern Europe, and it’s a big competition. You have, like, five to seven thousand people coming to get into that academy, and they accept only eight to ten people, so I got into it, and in my second year of the academy, I got into National Theatre, and my career just skyrocketed.

What was it like working with motion capture technology?

Everything about creating this Colossus was so specific, so new to me because I did so many voice overs, and I use my voice in so many commercials and cartoons and lots of things. But to create something from the beginning, like we were doing this with Colossus, was something, you know, incredible, and it’s really hard because you cannot use your body as an instrument because you have a CGI character. You know, he’s in superhero form. But you know, trying to get through your voice all those emotions and feelings and to give the soul to something that’s animated, it’s really hard, you know, so you need to push as much as you can and use everything that you know, and thank god that I have so many things behind me in theater and in movies. So I used everything I could, and as I said, I had so much help from Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds.

Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, did you find it hard to stay in character or were you just laughing the whole time?

I was laughing a lot, yeah, because a lot of times when we were working together, me and Ryan, the writers were there because they were getting some new ideas about what Colossus should do. So Ryan was working with them, and one moment, he was kind of directing me, “Let’s do this, let’s make this,” and he was like inundating me, which was really funny. He’s really an amazing person and such an incredible actor, and he has that star quality that I haven’t seen in a long time. He helped me a lot during this process, so I want to thank him for that.

So do you see yourself working with him again in the future?

I hope so. I hope so because I really like him, and he was a great colleague and a friend, and he’s down to earth, so he helps you as a fellow actor, and plus, he’s really a star. He has so many projects behind him. But that doesn’t matter, he will help you. You’re a total equal, which I love and which I respect.

Did you hang out outside of the set?

Well, no, we didn’t because we’re working all the time and then I was like, I hang out with Tim Miller, but Ryan has so many things, and he’s a dad, you know. He has so many other things that he had to do, but during our work during the day, it was like ten hours.

Are there any actors that have influenced you over the years?

Well, I love to say that I’m a big fan, I still am, of the old English school of actors, like Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier. You know, there’s like the old-school actors which I would really respect, and then of course a lot of you know Jack Nicholson or Pacino. There’s so many beautiful actors now. There’s like Bryan Cranston, who I really respect.

Oh my god.

He’s amazing.

In everything he does!

Yeah, that’s, I don’t know how to say, that’s incredible. When you see him act, it’s something totally crazy. Last night, I saw A View from the Bridge, and I totally fell in love with Mark Strong.

Mark Strong, from Sherlock Holmes.

Oh my god, but to see him on stage, the way he acts, his face, his reactions, it’s incredible.

So last question, who would win in an arm wrestling match, you or Ryan Reynolds?

Ryan.

Really? (laughs)

Well, he’s strong. He’s really, in Deadpool, definitely. In the case of Deadpool vs. Colossus, I’d put money on Colossus, but Ryan vs. me, yeah, gonna be Ryan.

Well, Stefan, thank you so much for your time, and hope to speak with you again. Good luck with everything. The movie is awesome.

Thank you so much.

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