In Deadpool 2, Zazie Beetz makes her superhero debut as Domino in a flourish of luscious afro and nonchalance. A reluctant member of Wade Wilson’s newly formed X-Force, Domino has a dark and twisted past, but from her unbothered attitude, you’d never know it. Beetz was determined to make the character, originally created by Rob Liefeld, her own. The second she learned she was in the running for the role, the Atlanta actress set off on an adventure to figure out who Domino was in the Marvel comics and who she would become on the big screen. “As soon as the conversation began that I would potentially be engaging in and working with Ryan Reynolds and Dave Leitch on this movie, I began researching a bunch online,” she revealed. “I went to a comic book store here in New York, where I live, and I told one of the employees, ‘I need to do some research on Domino.’ Obviously, I had to ask without revealing what it was for. I was hoping to find comics that would encapsulate her spirit — not necessarily following a specific storyline trajectory or even sticking with one artist. So this man collected a bunch of different books that he thought would be good for me to look through, and I got the original comic where Deadpool, Domino and Gideon were introduced.”
After getting some context from the comics, Beetz moved on to the cartoon versions of Domino to get a sense of the character’s movements, cadence and tone. “I bounced around, and I watched one of the X-Men,” the German native said. “There used to be this cartoon and Domino had a role in it. I watched that. For the audition, I felt it was important for me to understand her spirit and her character, and I did the best that I could. As we kept going, I continued. After booking the role, I deepened my research and deepened my involvement with the character and the universe.”
Understanding Domino at her core was one thing, but getting physically prepared to play the mutant mercenary was another challenge. “The training ends up becoming this mental and emotional experience as well,” Beetz reflected. “I was doing about four hours a day for many months. I was doing two hours in the morning of fight training, and boxing and choreography. It’s kind of like learning a dance, martial arts, mixed martial arts, and then in the afternoon I did a bunch of weight training. I found the fight training to be actually a lot more fun for me because you’re using your mind when you’re sparring, and it’s a whole body experience, and it’s sort of this cardio mixed with knowledge and you’re learning how to kick and you’re learning how to punch and you have to adjust your body. With weight training, it felt very monotonous, and it felt like a challenge just all the way through and it didn’t feel as mentally engaging.”
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