To know the complex, unpredictable, often hilarious and R-rated behavior of Wade Wilson, aka Marvel's Deadpool, is to know that Ryan Reynolds is the perfect actor to play him. Allow director Tim Miller to explain.
"There is a very tiny handful of actors who have what it takes to embody Wade Wilson/Deadpool entirely," Miller tells PEOPLE of Reynolds' multi-faceted appeal. "Incredibly handsome? Check! Willing to hide his good looks under a hideous mask? Check! Stunningly athletic and capable with action choreography? Check! Brilliant actor? Check! Amazing sense of humor and comedic timing? Check! Check! Check!"
"All of those things are true but the real reason is because Ryan – in real life – is very much like Deadpool," continues Miller. "He's got a wickedly smart but goofy sense of humor. He's self-deprecating and unassuming. He wants to be a hero but is uncomfortable with all the moralizing that goes with it. I imagine that for Ryan, slipping into Deadpool's persona is like putting on a favorite shirt that's been worn so many times it feels like a part of you."
Sure, with the film's critical acclaim and current box office heat, it's easy to see how Miller's assessment could be a bit biased but the director swears his star is grounded and was as hard-working as anyone on set.
"I mean this in the best possible way, Ryan is a regular guy," says Miller. "He treats everyone with a casual respect and friendliness that goes beyond mere professionalism. And he's so funny that he's got the crew and me laughing all the time. I ruined a lot of takes because I was back behind the monitors spluttering with laughter. Keeps the atmosphere fun and productive. He's also incredibly generous when working with the other actors, the crew and myself. Both in advice and also just trying to make the process as smooth and easy as it can be for everyone on the set. And I mean everyone – from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom. The entire crew loved him."
So will Miller work with Reynolds again, possibly on another chapter of Deadpool's story?
"Absolutely. He's a brilliant actor and so much more," Miller says of Reynolds. "Deadpool runs the gamut from drama, to comedy, to action and he handles it all flawlessly. He's extremely professional and, for a director, very 'user friendly.' He can adapt and adjust effortlessly to changes in tone and notes I throw at him."
But does all that admiration, trust and respect mean that Miller would let doting dad Reynolds babysit for him?
"Look, I respect the guy, but let's not get carried away," Miller jokes. "Have you ever seen Home Alone?
Deadpool is now in theaters.