Julian Dennison’s breakout role pre-Deadpool 2
Well, if you had the chance to watch Deadpool 2 this past weekend, you’ve probably noticed the new characters. Domino, Yukio, Cable and Russel of course. Russel Collins (played by Julian Dennison) is an obscure Marvel character also known as Firefist.
Rusty Collins is a mutant with the psionic ability of pyrokinesis. He could control and manipulate fire as well as turn some or all of his body into flames. He was immune to the effects fire had on his body but normal clothes would ignite. In the 2018 film adaptation he is a New Zealander child who possess fire controlling abilities and was tortured at “Essex School” along with other mutant children.
After killing the headmaster there, he is fascinated with killing and in the future he kills Nathan Summers / Cable’s family. The events of the film portray how the timeline is altered after Wade Wilson / Deadpool convinces him to let go his desire to kill the headmaster of the school. Sala Baker portrays an older version of the character during Cable’s flashback sequences, set in a post-apocalyptic future.
But who is Julian exactly? Well, he’s a 15 year old actor from New Zealand who’s been in the business for several years now. Dennison is from Maori descent, and had his film debut in 2013 film Shopping. But the role that contributed to his casting was in Taika Waititi’s adventure comedy-drama film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Julian played Ricky Baker in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. A juvenile delinquent who was abandoned by his mother, is taken by child welfare services officer Paula and police officer Andy to live in a remote farm with foster mother Bella and her husband, the cantankerous southern man Hec (Neill).
He was named New Zealand Film Awards 2017 best actor for exactly this role, and it was the performance in Hunt for the Wilderpeople that landed him the role of Firefitst. Ryan Reynolds saw him in the movie and was so impressed that he insisted Julian to be cast.
And I have to agree with Ryan. He was great. He made the transition from villain to hero with much humanity and his comedic timing was on point with the tone of the film.
Although there are no upcoming or announced projects for Julian in the future (well for the time being at least), I have no doubt that he will be having a mailbox full with scripts and role offers very very soon.