Exclusive: Zazie Beetz On Playing Domino in Deadpool 2Posted by Wilson Morales
May 18, 2018
Now playing in theaters from 20th Century Fox is Deadpool 2 in which Ryan Reynoldsis reprising his role as the Merc with a Mouth alongside Zazie Beetz as the luck-manipulating mutant Domino and Josh Brolin as Cable, the time-traveling son of the X-Men’s Cyclops.
After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.
Also returning from the first Deadpool are Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, Morena Baccarin as Vanessa, Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and Stefan Kapicic as the voice of Colossus.
Best known for her role as Donald Glover’s best friend and the mother of his child, Van in the Emmy Award winning FX series, Atlanta, this is Beetz’ biggest exposure in her acting career. In playing Domino, the German-American actress is playing a character that comes from the comics where Domino is a mutant with telekinetic powers in the mercenary group Six Pack and later X-Force.
Blackfilm.com spoke exclusively with Beetz as she spoke about her role in the comic book film.
Was there anything special you did that you may have landed you the role?
Zazie Beetz: I think Ryan really liked working against the sarcasm and sometimes the darkness of the lines but approaching some of it with a lighter air. In the film, Domino approaches her life with a bit of carelessness. Because of her luck, she doesn’t have to worry about it. Everything just works out. I think in the audition I think I embodied some of that. Honestly, who knows. The other women (Lizzy Caplan, Sienna Miller, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead) they were talking to are pretty great actresses as well and do more comedy than I do. Maybe a little bit of luck played a role as well.
Was this role presented to you or was it something you wanted to do?
Zazie Beetz: This is something that was definitely presented to me. My agent called me up and said that Ryan and David Leitch (the director) were interested in talking to me about potentially working on this movie with them. I had an initial meeting with Dave and then an initial meeting with Ryan, and then a couple of weeks later they flew me back to LA to do a chemistry read with Ryan. I also read with Dave and then weeks later I had found out that I had booked the role. They had been looking for a women for some time. I didn’t pursue this. I didn’t know it was happening. There are so many projects that happen simultaneously. It was a relatively normal, organic auditioning experience in a way.
What makes Domino unique on-screen that’s different from the comic books?
Zazie Beetz: I think in the comic books she is less humorous than she is on-screen. In the comic books, she’s a little bit more dark and serious and in the film we played up her effervescent lighter and spirit take on life than in the comics, which I think works really well.
What did you do physically to prepare for the role because Domino has some scenes where she’s kicking some butt?
Zazie Beetz: I did a lot. I did about four hours a day. I started working out two months before production and then I didn’t do any action scenes until a month into production. I did two hours in the morning where I did a bunch of fight training, and it was the choreography and mixed martial arts and boxing training and sparring; and in the afternoon, I did two hours of weight lifting. I had more fun with the fight training than with the weight lifting. It’s almost like dancing because you’re learning these moves and you’re also learning these skill sets. I was learning how to kick and how to move my body in order to do that and finding balance and finding strength. I was trying to learn how to do flips and all these things, and that was a more interactive experience and learning new skills. Whereas the weight lifting was monotonous. That ended up being so necessary to have the stamina and basic foundation to have the physicality in order to do those fight scenes. The director wanted me to do as many stunts as I could. I did the majority of them and I think most of them made it in the movie. There is one I know for sure where it was my stunt double but besides that I don’t know where they may have filled in a CGI. It looks better when you’re not using a double. You feel strong and in control. It’s a cool thing to experience.
How much fun was working on the set and working with Ryan?
Zazie Beetz: Stuff like that happens naturally. A lot of times in movies they will start with easier scenes so that you’re not thrown into a super emotional scene and you don’t know anybody. With Ryan, we had met before we started shooting and preparing for the movie. A lot of times, you meet your fellow actors when you come to set and you begin shooting. It’s tough to throw someone into a super emotional scene and you don’t anyone but over the course of shooting a movie, or shooting a TV show, you spend 12 to 16 hours a day together and so it just happens naturally where you are waiting around for your next shot and you are preparing and rehearsing together and relationships just organically develop, which is why movie sets are interesting. After six to nine months, you get to know each other after long periods of time. You’re completely thrown into this family and you are removed from your own family. I was alone in Vancouver for the majority of the five months I was there. That was my family and those were the people I knew. Everybody that I met on that set. You get super close and then when you wrap, you don’t see them again for another year because everyone lives all over the place. That’s why you have auditions and chemistry reads. You can’t fake chemistry so much, and they have to see that although you can act the role, but can you work with the other actors involved. That was a big part of it as well.
In a span of four years, your visibility has increased immensely. From “Atlanta” to “Deadpool 2,” folks are starting to know you. How do you stay humble?
Zazie Beetz: I think I keep myself relatively grounded. I’m very close with my parents. I have a really wonderful partner who I live with and we’ve been together for four years. My family is super grounding. I keep my friends close and they are tight, small, and these are people I have had in my life for many years. When I go into a room with them, fame isn’t a character as with other people I’m meeting now in my life. It’s about being aware. I haven’t been wildly successful in this industry for many years, and I can’t speak from experience, but people start treating me differently. People take care of everything for you and you become more isolated. Suddenly you become an opportunity for many people and people want things from you and you have to protect yourself within that space. It’s about staying aware and reading a room and what’s the situation right now. It’s also about allowing space where you can do things for yourself and remaining capable for yourself. I’m also relative self critical about my work. I think I can do better and I want to keep learning. This month, I want to get an acting coach so I can continue working on my craft. I think if you stay in the mindset of doing better and continue to remain emphatic, that’s how you do it. I don’t know.
Are you signed on to do more Deadpool films and what’s coming up next?
Zazie Beetz: I’m contracted to Fox for three more movies. That’s not necessary sequels, just movies with the studio. I’m pretty sure I’m a part of the X-Force movie. I’m met the director of it and he’s lovely and so smart and wonderful. I think they are going to re-introduce the characters they introduced in this film, and double down on just getting to know them. There is no script, as far as I know, available. I don’t really know what the storyline may be. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a part of it. These are the conversations I loosely or unofficially had with Ryan and the team.