'Deadpool' Star Brianna Hildebrand on How Franchise Could Work in PG-13 World

The actress says the ideas behind 'Deadpool' transcend its rating, even if the series is tamed in a move to Disney.
Twentieth Century Fox/Photofest

Like any film, Deadpool 2 isn’t a perfect movie. That being said, Once Upon a Deadpool, the newly released PG-13 version of the sequel that includes new footage with actor Fred Savage, pokes fun at some of its flaws. To Brianna Hildebrand, who plays Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the franchise, that’s something that sets the superhero apart.

"It’s refreshing to see a movie make fun of itself," Hildebrand tells The Hollywood Reporter. "That’s refreshing, to see a superhero not be so self-righteous. I think it’s really cool that they even have the ability to do that."

Hildebrand points out how "meta" and "self-aware" Deadpool can be, and how it is taken to another level by this new version of the sequel. "That’s what makes Deadpool cool, that he says, 'Uh, obviously I suck at being a superhero, so I’m going to be an antihero.'" She also thinks that is what connects with fans of the franchise on a deeper level. "It doesn’t take you out of the movie," she says. "It makes you feel like you’re in on the joke."

However, Hildebrand has learned that not necessarily everyone has been in on the joke.

"I’ve talked to so many parents who are always bringing their kids to my table at conventions and being like, 'Oh, you know, they love you in this part, the only part that I let them see.'" She even jokes that Deadpool himself recognizes this. "He’s just so aware that he’s not living up to the full superhero ideal."

There's some uncertainty in Deadpool's future as the Disney acquisition of Fox looms over the character. Will the family-friendly brand allow an R-rated Deadpool? Disney CEO Bob Iger has indicated the answer is yes, but there's a joke in Once Upon a Deadpool that plays off of the upcoming acquisition.

As to whether or not future films will be restricted by a PG-13 rating, Hildebrand thinks that the franchise goes beyond that. "I think if it were to be PG-13 in the future, it wouldn’t be difficult to relate to audiences," she says.

Hildebrand points to her own character as an example of why. Her character is the first openly gay Marvel character on the big screen.

"There’s so much representation happening throughout Deadpool, which I think a lot of young audiences are really passionate about and they want to see that," she said. "And Deadpool kind of does it in this cool, funny, nonchalant way."

There’s an aspect of the nonchalant within the character of Deadpool himself, as amidst all of his raunchy jokes, there’s the underlying presence of his cancer diagnosis in both films. "People who really love superheroes, these films mean a lot to them and have helped them through a lot of stuff, and then it’s just great to know that it reaches people who aren’t just superhero fans," she says. "It reaches people who are just having a hard time, even people who are struggling with cancer or have a family member going through cancer, chemo, whatever it is."

To that end, one dollar of every ticket sold for Once Upon a Deadpool will be donated to the foundation Fudge Cancer.

Hildebrand is now working on the Netflix series Trinkets, based on the YA book about teens who meet at a shoplifters anonymous meeting.

"It’s such a blessing to have started with Deadpool because I feel like there’s nothing that I can do now that’s too extreme," she says.

Once Upon a Deadpool is in theaters now.