Swimming in a murky (Dead)pool


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Although his “Machete” has been generating some hot buzz, Robert Rodriguez has been riding a little bit of a cold streak lately. The “Sin City” auteur didn’t set the world afire with his suburban fantasy “Shorts.” And “Grindhouse,” the exploitation experiment on which he collaborated with Quentin Tarantino (Rodriguez directed the “Planet Terror” half of the bill), fared worse.

But Rodriguez’s stock remains high at Fox, which is distributing “Machete,” as well as the Rodriguez-produced “Predators.” High enough, in fact, that the studio is interested in hearing what Rodriguez would do with a big new property, its comic book movie “Deadpool,” in which Ryan Reynolds plays the mouthy Marvel mercenary.


Some development-board rumors over the weekend that had Rodriguez “offered” the job led to numerous Web outlets running with the story Monday -- using euphemisms such as “approached” and the more concrete “offered” -- to describe Rodriguez’s involvement with the Rob Liefeld adaptation. Sources say the director has indeed been sent the script (penned by the writers of “Zombieland”) but has not been extended an offer.

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine why Fox would put pen to paper on a deal this far ahead of the release of “Machete”: Rodriguez has some options but he’s not that hugely in demand.

Would the filmmaker make a good “Deadpoool” movie? Certainly the fan sites that have breathlessly been reporting the Rodriguez news are intrigued. And any time a quirky auteur with an accomplished movie under his belt is given both a dark character and mula to play with, it’s worth paying attention.

But there are also reasons to pause at all this. As a character, the dark superhero is becoming a little less interesting by the movie; a dark superhero movie increasingly turns on what you do with that character as opposed to the novelty of the premise itself. And Rodriguez’s best film had the benefit of drawing off far richer source material in “Sin City.”

Don’t get us wrong. Rodriguez would be an interesting choice. But there are other directors who show as much vision and versatility. Producers know this, and the Rodriguez-inclined Fox probably knows this. And Rodriguez himself may, judging by some of what he’s taken on lately, move away from the comic book adaptations. We’ll believe a Rodriguez “Deadpool” -- and a strong Rodriguez “Deadpool” -- when it’s in front of us on the screen.

-- Steven Zeitchik

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