Deadpool dancer has to tough it out
Moving in the superhero costume ‘felt like a nightmare,’ video performer says
With a hip-swaying strut, graceful turns and extreme leg lifts, Yanis Marshall makes it look easy to dance in a Deadpool costume and heels.
But doing so in Celine Dion’s new Ashes music video for the Deadpool 2 soundtrack was anything but, he admits.
“The suit is the worst ever,” Marshall said during a recent stop in Toronto to teach a dance workshop.
“It felt like a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, the suit is beautifully made — it’s beautiful, it’s wow — but it’s definitely not meant to dance in.
“It’s about 100 degrees inside of that and it’s just really hard to move in. You can’t really breathe and you can’t really see anything.”
Marshall’s appearance in the video has made a huge splash, with many fans initially wondering if Canadian Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds was actually the one performing the contemporary routine onstage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Reynolds quickly cleared that up on social media, giving a huge shout-out to Marshall, a French dancer and choreographer who was a finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.
“The whole Deadpool dancing in heels — that was actually not my idea. That was Ryan’s idea,” Marshall said.
“I talked to him on set and he said that he wanted to find a way to involve me for quite some time. He knew me through his wife, Blake (Lively) ... She’s the one that showed him my videos and things like that in the past.”
Marshall is a YouTube sensation who has appeared on the French version of Dancing with the Stars as an artistic coach, and choreographed Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity show in Las Vegas. His mother was a dance instructor and taught him at an early age.
He specializes in dancing in heels, particularly ankle boots, “for only one reason — it’s because I have man feet, so I don’t like open shoes,” he said.
When 20th Century Fox asked him to be in the Dion music video, helmed by Deadpool 2 director David Leitch, he was initially skeptical.
“It wasn’t the idea so much, it was me. I was like, ‘Me, in a Deadpool suit? I don’t know,’ ” Marshall said.
“I don’t even watch those kinds of movies. I watch Pretty Woman and Thelma and Louise. But it involves Celine and I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s give it a shot.”’
Marshall said he’s been a fan of the Quebec singer all his life, citing her 1995 hit Pour que tu m’aimes encore as his favourite song of hers.
“Growing up as a French boy, I was a fan of her before Americans knew her,” he said.
So when he finally got to meet her on the Ashes set, it felt like a “bit of a blur.”
“She’s actually really, really sweet — a little crazy, I will say, but in a good way, and super nice,” Marshall said with a laugh.
“She just breathes life: She’s alive, she’s authentic but she’s super respectful — and everybody was on that set.”
For the video, Marshall had to dance for about 12 hours, moving all around Dion onstage as ashes fell on him.
“I was pretty dead when it was done,” he said.
He was thrilled with the end result, especially the final scene when Reynolds appears in character in a comical bit.
“It turned out really well, but it’s also hilarious,” Marshall said.
“And if you know me, I don’t take myself seriously at all, so I’m actually the perfect guy for that.”
He didn’t get to keep the Deadpool suit, though — not that he would have wanted to, given its limitations for a dancer.
“The suit came with a bodyguard and it’s super protected,” Marshall said. “They don’t play around.”
Dancer and big Celine Dion fan Yanis Marshall — as foul-mouthed superhero Deadpool — with the Canadian singer for the Ashes video. Below, a close-up of the well-heeled dancer’s footwear.