What to Watch

What to Watch with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

The Deadpool and Zombieland writers share their TV and movie obsessions ahead of the premiere of their latest project, teen vigilante series Wayne.

by | January 15, 2019 | Comments

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Rhett Reese (L) and Paul Wernick of YouTube Premium's Wayne pose for a portrait during the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival on September 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Matt Doyle/Contour by Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Doyle/Contour by Getty Images)

You’ll recognize Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick as the powerhouse writing duo behind Certified Fresh apocalyptic comedy Zombieland, sci-fi fantasy flick Life, and, of course, Marvel’s DeadpoolDeadpool 2, and Once Upon a Deadpool. 

Their latest project is YouTube Premium action series Wayne, which stars Mark McKenna (Sing Street) and Ciara Bravo (To the Bone) as a teen vigilante couple out to battle injustice and rescue a classic car. Executive producers Reese and Wernick describe the show as “John Wick–meets–John Hughes” — heart-stopping, bad-ass action with a sweet, romantic core.

Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the writers-turned-producers to find out their latest TV and movie obsessions, what makes Wayne binge-worthy, and more.


What is appointment viewing for you?

Free Solo
(Photo by Greenwich Entertainment)

Rhett Reese: Well, movie-wise for me recently is Free Solo. I can’t get over Free Solo. It’s all I can think about or talk about, as anyone that knows me knows.

Paul Wernick: I’m embarrassed to say I don’t have much appointment viewing because I like to shut my brain off at night because we’re working so hard in the daytime. It’s hard for me to commit to any one show. Inside The NBA, embarrassingly enough, is my favorite show on television.


What is in your streaming queue?

Rachel Brosnahan stars in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Guy D'Alema/FX; Nicole Rivelli/Amazon Prime)
(Photo by Amazon Prime)

Reese: Right now my wife and I are watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is like stepping into an incredible time machine. It’s very well-acted and beautifully shot. It’s just as rich and luscious a show as you could ever imagine watching. And then the other thing my wife’s got me into is The Great British Bake-Off, or Baking Show, or whatever. That’s our sort of guilty pleasure, where we watch as people try to make tarts without soggy bottoms. And that’s fun. And then our next thing we’ll be embarking on is Better Call Saul because Breaking Bad was our favorite show ever, and we’ve fallen behind on Better Call Saul for whatever reason.


What shows are on your DVR? 

Tyler Alvarez, Camille Hyde, Griffin Gluck American Vandal season 1 (Tyler Golden/Netflix)
(Photo by Tyler Golden/Netflix)

Reese: We really went crazy for American Vandal on Netflix, and that’s not on the DVR cause it’s Netflix, but American Vandal my wife and I are totally obsessed with. … I don’t think there’s ever been a funnier, more grounded, real portrayal of high school on television. It’s just that funny, and that good.

Wernick: I would say mine is Shark Tank. I’ve probably got about 50 Shark Tanks on my DVR that my children and I like to watch.


What’s coming soon that you can’t wait for?

Game of Thrones season 7, episode 5 (Helen Sloan/HBO)
(Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)

Reese: For me it will be Game of Thrones because I was Game of Thrones obsessed since probably — let me think back — probably about 2007 or so. I read all the books, totally obsessed by them. And then was thrilled when they announced that they were gonna do a show, and I’ve done a deep dive on the show as well.

Wernick: You were Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones was Game of Thrones.

Reese: I was in the bookstore, and I was looking for a fantasy series, and I just happened to pick up that first book. And on page 100 when Jaime Lannister threw Bran out the window I was like, “All right, this is gonna be my series of books for the next, y’know, four or five years.” So I go very far back, and I’m really excited to see how they wrap it up.

Wernick: Wayne. Yeah, Wayne. I can’t wait until January 16. I can’t wait for Wayne.



Sophie-Marie Prime for Rotten Tomatoes: How did you become involved with Wayne, and what made you want to be a part of it?

Reese: Sean [Simmons] created this show. He grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts, which is sort of an “other side of the tracks” kind of place. He was inspired to write a spec pilot based on a little bit of his background and watching kids in Brockton who were real tough who would get beat up by groups of bigger kids, but not back down.

Wernick: You know, scripts end up on our desks quite often. This one really jumped off the page. Sean had such a distinctive voice, and that’s really what you look for. There’s so much out there that kind of feels the same, and it feels predictable, and this one you just — it was a page turner. It was kind of a perfect mix of tones for us, and fit into “brand,” if we were to have one, Rhett and I. We jumped at the chance to be involved.


Wayne (YouTube Premium)
(Photo by YouTube Premium)

RT: How would you describe the tone of the show, in comparison to your other projects, like Deadpool and Zombieland?

Wernick: I think it’s very similar. It’s in and out of different tones, and it’s a delicate dance. But real life, it bounces in and out of different tones; sometimes you’re laughing, and sometimes you’re crying, and sometimes you’re getting your ass kicked, and sometimes you’re kicking ass. That’s real life.

Heart is a big thing with all our projects. I think it’s something that we try and mine because if you can get people to feel — if you can ideally get people to cry in the same episode that they’re laughing — it’s a pretty great accomplishment. And we think Sean, as brilliant as he is, has kind of captured that in a way that’s really difficult to capture.


YouTube/Courtesy
(Photo by YouTube/Courtesy)

RT: How would you describe Wayne (Mark McKenna) as a character? What makes him tick?

Wernick: I think it’s justice and injustice, quite honestly. He just hates when people — good people — are wronged, and he tries to make right in the world. It’s this 16-year-old boy; he’s got anger impulse and issues, but he’s got a maturity to him in that sense. We always describe him as a little bit of a vigilante. He does have some Bruce Wayne in him, strangely, or Charles Bronson. He’s the badass, but he’s the badass for making right of the world’s wrongs.

Reese: We also wanted to hit the fact that not every tough guy is so tough when they’re faced with women, because he doesn’t know much about girls. And so, as tough as he is when he’s in a fist fight, he’s in over his head when it comes to meeting Del, this girl he’s got a crush on. He’s got to navigate that in his own inexperience, and that’s really fun.

We describe the show as “John Wick–meets–John Hughes,” and that’s for a reason. It’s an ass-kicking show, but it’s also a romance — it’s about a teen who’s really delving into first love. And we think that definitely gives the show sweetness to go along with its hard edge.

Wernick: Yeah, and Mark McKenna, he’s such a brilliant actor. … He’s a badass, but there’s a real kind of sweet vulnerability to him. And I think both in the character, and in the way Mark captures that onscreen, it’s awesome to watch.



RT: What’s Wayne’s relationship with Del (Ciara Bravo) like, and how does it evolve?

Reese: I don’t wanna spoil it, but it’s funny — in some ways they’re sort of meant for each other. They’re both from dysfunctional families, other side of the tracks, struggling to get by, don’t always get the support at home that maybe children with their good hearts should be afforded. But I think they’re also different. Wayne’s definitely more strong, silent. Del’s more talkative. They have strange idiosyncrasies that might not work together, and yet somehow do. So they’re a bit of a mismatched pair. I think watching that relationship develop, and go from being more than just the obsession or lust of first-time teenage love to something much deeper, is what this show’s about, really, over the course of the 10 episodes.


YouTube/Courtesy
(Photo by YouTube/Courtesy)

RT: What do you think makes Del tick? What makes her stick with Wayne despite everything they go through?

Reese: Well, you’ll see a lot of Del’s personality has been shaped by her mother — and you’ll learn more about Del’s mother moving forward, and her mother’s relationship with her father. She’s a complex character, more so than Wayne. Wayne is a little simple like, I think, most men. He’s got his wants and his desires. Things trigger him, and he acts.

Del is more complex than Wayne. You’ll see all kinds of different shades in her, and you’ll see a vulnerability over time that speaks to why she likes Wayne, and why she likes his directness, and why she likes his direct, non-deceptive way of dealing with the world. … You’ll just see her evolve. Episode 5, in particular, is just a stunner. It’s what we think is our best episode, and it’s focused on Del.

Wernick: Episode 5 is actually my favorite episode of the series so far. It’s exclusively about Del, and how she came to be who she is. The show’s called “Wayne,” but it really could be called “Wayne and Del,” because that really is what the show’s about. We wanted to make a strong female character, and she’s super super-strong — almost to a fault at times. She’s a badass.

Reese: But she’s also not at all one-dimensional either, because I think sometimes now the strong female is as much of a cliché as anything else. Every person’s got strengths and weaknesses throughout their character, male or female, and she’s strong in some ways, and she’s actually really vulnerable and weak, even, in other ways.


YouTube/Courtesy
(Photo by YouTube/Courtesy)

RT: What do each of you relate to in Wayne or Del as characters?

Reese: I came from a upper- to upper-middle-class neighborhood in Arizona where it was very suburban. … Very cookie cutter, and sweet, and almost Mr. Rogers–like. So I can’t relate to a lot of what Wayne and Del are going through. And yet, where I click into it the most is just the rage over injustice in the world. … And then secondarily, I was sort of a hopeless romantic in grade school and high school. Every year I was in love with a new girl, and was too afraid to do anything about it or tell her. Seeing Wayne and Del’s romantic relationship, I just find it very relatable — that lack of sure footing that you have when you’ve never really expressed romantic feelings to anybody before. And you don’t really know what you’re doing, and you don’t know how to kiss, and you don’t know the right things to say. I relate to that like crazy.

Wernick: And I relate to just the pure rage. I’m not as romantic and sweet as Rhett.


Wayne premieres Wednesday, Jan. 16 on YouTube Premium.

Tag Cloud

Tarantino Schedule BAFTA TV The Witch theme song cooking reboot FX police drama Ovation true crime Film Festival Heroines PBS Horror diversity slashers Christmas 71st Emmy Awards GoT Family thriller Amazon binge Academy Awards Drama Hallmark Christmas movies Chernobyl south america documentaries Best and Worst asian-american concert Discovery Channel ABC Family anime Character Guide vampires Amazon Studios Sci-Fi screenings 2019 Podcast Turner Classic Movies Opinion blaxploitation Apple TV+ Mary poppins Showtime name the review Funimation Premiere Dates Marvel Studios Comedy Central documentary spider-man Starz justice league crime drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina criterion Sundance Now Disney Plus Mindy Kaling singing competition Film YouTube indie The Purge AMC christmas movies YouTube Red Awards ratings disaster BET Awards TNT Logo foreign Baby Yoda WGN mockumentary VH1 Quiz Kids & Family Lucasfilm dceu TCA 2017 cancelled Rocketman composers Election reviews 21st Century Fox Anna Paquin 2015 WarnerMedia VOD politics indiana jones werewolf CW Seed technology teaser The Arrangement rotten movies we love blockbuster scary movies spain TruTV streaming Endgame Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt MTV dragons elevated horror Nat Geo Mudbound spinoff Nickelodeon Britbox cars talk show Trivia docudrama zero dark thirty festivals Tumblr Syfy TCA Winter 2020 child's play The CW richard e. Grant sports Music halloween E! Star Trek ABC YA Apple Columbia Pictures mission: impossible unscripted Sneak Peek Holidays cancelled TV shows Comics on TV cancelled television HBO cinemax Superheroe FOX Black History Month The Walking Dead Acorn TV YouTube Premium LGBTQ what to watch Hulu comics comiccon Trophy Talk Mary Tyler Moore comedies movie Sundance Sundance TV IFC quibi Classic Film Avengers Action Awards Tour revenge First Look natural history all-time Masterpiece Box Office war satire jamie lee curtis DGA Martial Arts BBC Pet Sematary romantic comedy Grammys Nominations TIFF NYCC dc Dark Horse Comics best BBC America cults versus CBS All Access Holiday historical drama Song of Ice and Fire films adventure comic Summer Rom-Com Cosplay Calendar DC Universe Ghostbusters Rocky Shudder Infographic Super Bowl miniseries sequel GIFs ESPN Creative Arts Emmys TCM book sitcom Emmys E3 latino serial killer stand-up comedy Oscars Stephen King Superheroes Sony Pictures Cartoon Network a nightmare on elm street television Country PaleyFest Reality Binge Guide Toys Travel Channel SundanceTV kids New York Comic Con based on movie renewed TV shows joker San Diego Comic-Con Peacock 2018 spanish language ITV See It Skip It MSNBC tv talk Women's History Month Warner Bros. 2020 007 Interview Set visit Spectrum Originals 20th Century Fox Disney biography LGBT National Geographic Lifetime Christmas movies President canceled crossover Winter TV cartoon BET breaking bad American Society of Cinematographers animated screen actors guild Freeform Red Carpet CMT Biopics Watching Series Comedy zombies medical drama harry potter aliens IFC Films Fox News USA Network FXX Pop Captain marvel golden globes movies romance award winner 24 frames space Fantasy anthology Epix TBS psycho Netflix Television Academy MCU BBC One DirecTV free movies Paramount Musical Thanksgiving Crackle video social media A24 Certified Fresh Crunchyroll Teen APB independent casting political drama Television Critics Association Pride Month Disney Channel First Reviews Video Games Lionsgate directors Valentine's Day Amazon Prime Video emmy awards Reality Competition nature doctor who Pop TV OneApp USA spy thriller batman Disney streaming service FX on Hulu Mystery witnail Hallmark X-Men Brie Larson dark Hear Us Out TCA HBO Max Paramount Network Turner science fiction Disney+ Disney Plus Western sag awards stoner crime thriller hist NBC green book Writers Guild of America Trailer adaptation cops universal monsters Food Network ghosts finale Marvel series Rock Marathons Esquire psychological thriller 2016 RT21 Photos Tubi TV renewals mutant game show DC streaming service Pixar travel supernatural TCA Awards TLC Star Wars die hard 45 Tomatazos Lifetime strong female leads critics DC Comics SXSW cancelled TV series Countdown El Rey parents Arrowverse Marvel Television CBS History 2017 Bravo Comic Book franchise Vudu period drama dramedy discovery A&E transformers cats hispanic news toy story Apple TV Plus Ellie Kemper RT History video on demand Amazon Prime Shondaland dogs Mary Poppins Returns TV Land chucky nbcuniversal Spike 4/20 robots Cannes CNN Elton John Extras VICE twilight Fall TV Pirates Black Mirror Musicals boxoffice PlayStation Emmy Nominations children's TV Netflix Christmas movies Winners crime Universal canceled TV shows Year in Review GLAAD SDCC Animation Walt Disney Pictures game of thrones facebook OWN HBO Go zombie Polls and Games Spring TV Adult Swim