An extension of Fox’s X-Men cinematic universe, Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool teams up with two mutants out of that universe: Negasonic Teenage Warhead, a texting and eye-rolling trainee at Xavier’s School (played by Brianna Hildebrand), and Colossus, a Russian giant whose body is made of unbreakable steel.
While Colossus has been portrayed by other actors before, in Deadpool his voice is provided by Stefan Kapičić, best known to American audiences for previous roles in 24 and The Event. But what people might not assume from looking at the scruffy six-foot-seven Serbian actor is that he is also, quite literally, a giant comic book geek. While talking to Kapičić, I sensed a child-like giddiness underneath his thick Eastern European accent.
“When I was a kid my favorite comic book was X-Men,” he said to me. “Like when I was 6 years old. So having a chance to be a part to be apart of the X-Men, I cannot verbalize it.”
During the recent press tour for Deadpool, I spent a few minutes with Kapičić to learn about his unique role in bringing the fan-favorite Colossus to life.
So tell me as a comic book fan how you felt about getting the role as Colossus. What was it like?
Unexplainable. When I got that call I was the happiest man in the world and I still feel like that. Even if I wasn’t [going to be] in this movie, I’m watching every single comic book movie. I have a huge comic book collection. So having this chance is, for me, similar to getting the Academy Award, from my childhood perspective. I’ve done so many TV shows, performances, great projects around the world, but my inner child feels like this is something totally specific, something really hard to explain and hard to verbalize. It is surreal for me.
What can you tell me about this version of Colossus that’s in Deadpool?
I think this is Colossus. I think Tim Miller, as a comic book fan, he knows what he’s doing. So from my perspective, too, I think we made Colossus original. He is a huge brute, you know, but on the other side he has a soft, gentleman, idealistic soul. He’s an old Russian idealist, you know? A real superhero. So I hope that one day we’re going to have a chance to see Colossus in human form and hopefully I’ve been given the chance to be that.
Did you know going in that you were going to be providing his voice and not suiting up?
Tim Miller wanted animation. The thing is, the voice sold the character and I knew I was going for that. Like Star Wars, everybody knows the voice of Darth Vader, James Spader as Ultron, or Bradley Cooper [as Rocket]. The thing is with the voice, it’s really hard to give the character emotions, the soul, the feelings, especially in a superhero movie. So Colossus’ monologues [about Deadpool] trying to get on their side to become an X-Men, it’s really hard to do. You have to push with everything you’ve got.
When we’re talking about Colossus in the X-Men franchise, he didn’t have enough space. It’s a pity that Colossus didn’t have the space because Colossus is a huge character; he’s one of the strongest in the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, they didn’t have his spot there, but now we have him in Deadpool. The reactions to Colossus are amazing, so I hope that they will continue to draw him into the Deadpool movies.
Because your role is through voice acting, were you able to interact with your costars?
I was working with them. Mainly, the movie was filmed in Vancouver, so I got there during the summer. While I was working on that for about four months, you know, with the writers, so I was in the studio mainly.
What was it like working with Tim Miller?
I’ve worked with so many directors in theater and TV, but Tim Miller has something that no one has. His psychology, he knows everything about comic books, he knows how to approach you as an actor, he knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it. He has so much confidence, it’s unbelievable. I was working with him eight to 10 hours a day and I always wanted more. I never got tired. I have to say he’s one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. He’s a friend, first of all, he approaches me as a friend, which is unbelievable. And I feel like he is a friend, not just as a director that gave me this chance.
You have a natural accent on your own. Was it hard tailoring it to sound Russian?
There were a few versions of the accent. I’m Slavic, and our language has similarities to Russian, so I can do the accent. But we didn’t want to make it cartoonish. We tried to find an accent, but not too much of it. So we tried some hard R soft R, we didn’t want to go anywhere too close to an American accent because Colossus is Russian. He cannot speak like an American! It’s authentic to have that.
Out of curiosity, what comic books are you reading right now?
I’m reading a lot of Deadpool right now, but lots of things that come to mind. I’m reading a lot of scripts, so I don’t have a lot of time for anything else, unfortunately.
Are we going to see Colossus in the next X-Men movie? Will he get a solo picture?
That would be fantastic. I don’t know if Colossus will have a solo movie, but being a part of X-Men would be perfect. Especially because fans are raving about Colossus. Bringing Deadpool back, he’s a fantastic character, but the good thing is bringing Colossus back to life. Fans were raving about it, they want to see him back. This Colossus, people love him. It could be amazing, lots of franchises.
Did you feel any pressure from fans to portray Colossus right? After all, it’s something they’ve been wanting as much as a proper Deadpool.
I didn’t want to disappoint them. But on the other side I feel them because I am a fan. So I did put myself in my own perspective as a geek, as a comic book fan. So when I was working I was trying not to disappoint myself. So if I was watching it as a fan I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Deadpool is out now in theaters.