The time-travel premise of the new Netflix movie “The Adam Project” concerns a man traveling back in time and interacting with his younger self. But when casting Ryan Reynolds as the lead of the film, the prospect of finding a pre-teen performer capable of, frankly, keeping up with Reynolds and nailing his specific mannerisms and inflection seemed nearly impossible.
What Reynolds and director Shawn Levy didn’t know, however, was that in casting newcomer Walker Scobell to play the younger version of Reynolds’ character Adam Reed, they had hired one of the world’s biggest “Deadpool” fans.
“In the same way that you can’t direct someone to be funny, you also can’t direct someone to be more Ryan Reynolds-ish,” Levy candidly told TheWrap in a recent interview. “Here’s where I lucked out: I hired Carmen Cuba, who cast ‘Stranger Things’ for us, so I knew that I had a Jedi master of talent hunting in Carmen. We found Walker who was authentic, utterly inexperienced and super grounded and real as a result. What I didn’t know is that Walker has been watching ‘Deadpool’ since he was 7.”
Levy then recounted how he and Reynolds were blown away by Scobell’s line readings, only to discover how intense his “Deadpool” fandom really was:
“So he shows up day one, he somehow knows exactly the way Ryan would say everything – and Ryan and I are like, ‘What is happening? Why do you know every inflection, every pause, every talk-fast, every talk-slow?’ And Walker’s like, ‘I can recite ‘Deadpool 2’, you want me to?’ And we were like, ‘F—k off.’ Cut to he recites all of the movie, including like screen direction. So this kid coincidentally was brilliant but also a mega-fan, so his intuitive sense of the Ryan-ish way to play things was baked in.”
In fact, Levy said, Scobell could even keep up with Reynolds when it came to improvised dialogue. “I didn’t need to worry about that, so we could flow with improv and feed the kid lines, which we did 50 times a day, but he would always spit it out the way Ryan would because he was such an avid fan of Ryan’s coming into the process.”
You can be wowed by Scobell’s performance in “The Adam Project” on Netflix, where it’s currently streaming.