Though he’s been a fan-favorite among X-Men readers since his first appearance in Giant Size X-Men #1 by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum, the kind-hearted metallic mutant Piotr Rasputin—better known by his codename, Colossus—has never gotten much of a spotlight in the X-Men films, despite being portrayed in three films by actor Daniel Cudmore.
That’s all set to change in the highly-anticipated Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds as the titular Merc with a Mouth and directed by Tim Miller in his feature film debut. Fans have been looking forward to a faithful big screen version of writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld’s creation for years after his poorly-received, mouthless appearance in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but for many fans, the real appeal is to finally see a big-screen version of Colossus.
Nobody could be more excited about this than 38-year-old Serbian actor and self-described geek Stefan Kapicic, a long-time fan of Deadpool, Colossus, and comics in general. I sat down with Kapicic for a brief chat at a quiet hotel lobby in Manhattan, and his enthusiasm was palpable.
AiPT!: I’m super excited about Deadpool. The site that I write for, AiPT!, is a very comic book oriented, geek media kind of site, and you recently said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that you’re a comic book fan.
Stefan: Yes, a big one. I’m a geek. And I’m proud of it.
AiPT!: You also said that your first comic was an X-Men comic.
AiPT!: Was Colossus in that comic?
Stefan: Yes, you know, that’s Colossus. That’s when it started. When I entered the X-Men world. So there was this X-Men comic book and this Wolverine, special edition, I think it was number 50, with his claws ripping the front page. I still have that.
AiPT!: Oh yeah, that’s one of the best covers in—
Stefan: Yes, ever. Ever, ever.
AiPT!: Was that Todd McFarlane who drew that?
Stefan: I don’t think, no, maybe? [Note: It was actually Mark Silvestri.]
AiPT!: Oh, I’m thinking of a Hulk one actually. Anyway—
Stefan: Anyway! (Laughs)
AiPT!: (Laughs) Sorry about that. I got carried away a little bit.
Stefan: Don’t worry about it, it’s totally cool.
AiPT!: Can you tell me about what that was like, discovering this character for the first time? Would you ever have imagined that you’d be playing him in a movie?
Stefan: Oh, no. Well I was praying for that. To be anything in Marvel universe. Like a tree. Not like a Groot tree, but a tree! Like a bush! To become a part of the Marvel universe, to become a real superhero, and to become a Colossus… it’s simply unbelievable, you know? My inner child is so happy right now, it makes me the happiest man in the world, you know? Being a part of something like this, being an X-Man, and being, you know, in a team with Deadpool? Come on, man, it’s unbelievable. You know, you can understand me, it’s like, it’s something like an Academy Award for me.
Stefan: I’m more in Deadpool than serious… I love to do serious movies that are like artistic and everything, but you know, I really enjoy working in this kind of movie, and to be a part of this universe.
AiPT!: That’s awesome, and that’s something I look forward to seeing in your performance.
Stefan: You haven’t seen Deadpool yet?
AiPT!: (Laughs) I, uh, it doesn’t come out until—
AiPT!: I’m going to be… As soon as I get home from work, though—
AiPT!: That’s my plan.
Stefan: Perfect. You have to. You’re going to enjoy every second of it.
AiPT!: I’ve been looking forward to it for a while, and actually, one of the things that I’ve been talking to my friends about is that, this being the first R-rated superhero movie in that kind of universe… how does Colossus fit into that vision? Deadpool, obviously, is known as this very… kind of raunchy, edgy, real anti-hero, whereas Colossus is a little bit more straight laced.
Stefan: Yes. He’s an original superhero, you can say. You can say he’s an old-fashioned superhero. He’s like a pure person, he’s a perfect man, he’s sort of a Marvel universe Superman. He doesn’t curse, swear, you know. He doesn’t make any bad thing. He’s an amazingly great contrast to Deadpool’s character. There’s no other superhero that you can like put against or with Deadpool that would make Deadpool more interesting. One of the funniest scenes in Deadpool is between Colossus and Deadpool because… Colossus has his own philosophy, and Deadpool is doing like, you know, good things in a bad way, which Colossus doesn’t approve.
Stefan: So the thing is, he’s like a father figure, even to Deadpool and to his trainee, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, which is perfectly played by Brianna Hildebrand. She’s an amazing actress and she’s going to be like a huuuge star. You’ll see that. Mark my words.
AiPT!: That’s awesome. I was also thinking that besides the R-rating… we live in this wonderful time where there are so many comic book and superhero movies coming out, so what can fans look forward to in Deadpool that we haven’t seen before, besides the R-rating, that we haven’t seen before in other kind of comic book movies?
Stefan: This is really like an honest, true movie. [Director] Tim Miller, from his soul, as a comic book fan, every fan will be so grateful, so appreciative, to have this kind of movie, because it’s so funny, it’s so clever, it’s so real, it’s so authentic. It’s something that we need right now, you know, in this new superhero wave that we have right now, and I hope that the studio will recognize this and have more of those R-rated movies such as… you know they’re talking about [an] X-Force movie and Deadpool sequel.
AiPT!: Oh yeah!
Stefan: So we’ll have lots of those things to see. Some group, like an R-rated Avengers, that would be awesome to see. And you know, these R-rated movies, they become like cult movies, which is like perfect. So everybody wants to see it, like kids under 18, they cannot wait to see this movie! It’s something that we really need right now.
AiPT!: I agree: And one of the things that’s very encouraging about the press that I’ve seen about Deadpool is how hard Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds and the producers were fighting to make this R-rated, to really get this character, to get this movie, to be faithful to what fans have come to know. So what was that like, working with Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds, who are both so passionate about this project, and have been for so many years?
AiPT!: And to join—you were cast in August, but the announcement was made—
Stefan: In December.
Stefan: That was like the hardest five months in my life, you know, working on something this big, this huge, and you cannot tell anyone. Oh my God, that was really hard. I was doing something in Europe, and then I was flying to Los Angeles every now and then, so many times, going and going, everybody was asking, “what are you doing there?” I was like “a movie.” “Which movie?” “I cannot tell you but, you know…” Can I tell you, you know, it was really hard, but the thing is, it was worth it, you know, because when Entertainment Weekly had an exclusive interview with me that came out before the Christmas Eve, everything was like, paid off. So I’m very faithful to God that I had this chance, thanks to Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds… who gave me this opportunity.
AiPT!: That’s fantastic. This is also a more comedic sort of superhero movie than we’ve seen, right?
Stefan: It’s Deadpool world. This Deadpool universe… Everything is like, different, from Deadpool’s view or his perspective. And that’s something that comic book movies need right now. We need, like, to change it. You know… “X-Men” are beautiful and amazing movies, but they’re really extremely serious. Avengers, they have like those comic relief moments, but Deadpool is truly honest and funny, like the character himself is. You get what you want to see, you know? If we had like serious Deadpool, like we got in Wolverine: Origins? No, come on! (Laughs). We don’t want that. We want this Deadpool, we want this Ryan Reynolds, we want this kind of, you know, story right now.
AiPT!: That’s great. Yeah, just last night I googled “why did they take away Deadpool’s mouth” in [“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”], and I couldn’t find an answer.
Stefan: There’s no answer for that. Like, you know, you have Wolverine without his claws, or Bruce Banner without Hulk. Come on! One of the main things about Deadpool is that he’s talking and, you know, making jokes about everything. So that was like, really strange, you know, who would do that? But okay, that was the decision, and now the wrong is right.
AiPT!: I want to ask you at least one more question related to comics. Is there any particular interpretation of the character, any particular writer, any particular story, that informed your approach to playing Colossus?
Stefan: As a matter of fact, I had my own idea of what to do and how to work on it, but Tim’s vision was something to help me mostly, because he wanted to have it… as authentic as… you see his form, because he’s in his superhero form in the movie, he’s in his metal form, but the thing is he looks exactly how he looked in the comic book. So he doesn’t have a face that could resemble any other actor, me or whoever. He’s maybe one of the most authentic comic book characters on film, ever. So we had that other pressure to make my voice, my acting, to give him feelings, to give him emotions, to give him soul, that his form can live. Tim wanted to go as close as our imagination would go as Colossus.
AiPT!: That’s awesome, and we saw in the trailers, he does look like he’s straight out of the comic book page.
Stefan: That’s biggest thing about Colossus. Fans love it so much, and that’s like the best compliment I can have, to have all those fans and like, two days ago when we had that screening here In New York, the people were like screaming, and after the screening they were like “oh my God, we want to see more of you Colossus! We don’t want him to get out of the scene!” You know? You will see. We did a really amazing job thanks to Tim Miller.
AiPT!: It was just recently announced that the screenwriters are already working on a Deadpool sequel. Where do you think you can see Colossus going with that vision, with this franchise moving forward?
Stefan: You know what, Colossus is brought back to life. And he is amazing character, and his origin and his life and his teammates. He has so many lines that he can go. This line with Deadpool is something everybody wants to see more. You will see when you see the movie, how good they incorporate… they have really great chemistry as characters. So I think that, you know, Colossus is going to last with Deadpool.