Deadpool 2 composer Tyler Bates visited the production during principal photography and was impressed by Reynolds’ work ethic, as the star continuously improvised on set and added jokes to the film during postproduction.
“Ryan has continued writing and updating the movie,” Bates told Heat Vision during a recent visit to his home studio in Studio City in L.A. “I was getting updated cuts with lots of new jokes. With the full body suit and cutting maneuvers in editing, he’s able to change lines and jokes right up to picture lock.”
Deadpool 2 opens Friday and comes from director David Leitch, with whom Bates worked on last year’s Atomic Blonde. The composer, whose studio is decorated with guitars, splits time between scoring films (such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and John Wick movies), writing songs and touring with acts like Marilyn Manson.
Despite Bates’ long resume, Deadpool 2 presented a new challenge for the veteran composer. Bates had to modulate the score so that it wasn’t at odds with the fast-paced dialogue and never-ending punchlines from the Marvel anti-hero played by Reynolds.
“There was certainly a learning curve with this film, because this is an action-comedy with strong emotional and psychological beats within the story. It’s a true Rubik’s Cube when it comes to score,” Bates said.
Critics have noted that Deadpool 2 is surprisingly emotional for a film that’s billed as a raunchy, violent and funny superhero movie. In addition to Josh Brolin’s Cable, a real draw of the project is Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa and series newcomer Russell, a young mutant played by Julian Dennison. Both provide funny and touching moments.
For Bates, the music’s role isn’t to add comedy — so don’t expect musical cues to do the heavy lifting on that front.
“The music’s role isn’t to add comedy, it’s already funny as hell. It’s mostly to stay out of the way and complement the action and emotional scenes,” he said.
For instrumentation, Bates wanted to give the electronic orchestral score a slight rock sensibility. Specifically, he played a distorted guitar and ran it through a wah-wah pedal. He also used microsynths that offer unique colors in terms of sound. Bates was careful not to give away any spoilers, but he would say that one of his most enjoyable days of scoring came when he was able to record a choir, which will provide some surprising content in the film.
“We had them sing some things that you probably aren’t expecting,” he said. “I won’t say anything other than that. But you’ll definitely be laughing when you hear it.”
(Listen to the Deadpool 2 score below. The choir can be heard on track 11.)
Looking back on an earlier superhero outing, Bates notes that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has a unique relationship with the music in his films. Gunn, who is known for currating his Awesome Mix soundtracks to accompany the movies, works with Bates to craft the Guardians score months ahead of principal photography.
“James likes to have the score ahead of time, so that he can play it in the actors’ ears. It really helps them connect with the scenes, whether it’s an emotional moment or an adrenaline-fueled action set piece,” said Bates.
Bates’ early score on the Guardians movies evolves once he receives cuts of the finished film.
“The score that’s played for the actors is certainly modified as we come up with new ideas and the scenes evolve, sometimes they’re completely rewritten,” said Bates.
Bates believes that finding joy and staying positive can be a big factor in career longevity as well as bolstering audience enjoyment.
“For all the stress, it’s important to remember that we’re making a piece of entertainment for people. If we have fun, that will be transcendent to the audience when they watch the film. That’s what I loved about Deadpool 2, there was a lot of fun in the creative process.”
Bates’ latest collaboration with Marilyn Manson, Heaven Upside Down, was released in October. Deadpool 2 opens Friday, where it is tracking to make $130 million – $150 million at the box office..