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David Ayer opens up about birth, tone, casting of Suicide Squad

07.25.2016

If David Ayer should be known for anything it’s taking a genre and making it his own with his unique sense of tone, humor and, often times, brutality. That's what made him an exciting choice to helm SUICIDE SQUAD, a movie that looks like it will retain the grounded tone of DC movies, while still being absurdly funny and entertaining.

Deadline had a chance to sit down with him during Comic-Con and talk SQUAD, including the film’s inception and what it took to cast such big-name stars like Will Smith.

Ayer started by talking about how he always wanted this movie to feel different, even before DEADPOOL came and done changed the game:

I just wanted to play with the genre. That was in a pre-Deadpool world and the movies had been so serious and straightforward up to that point. I wanted to do something where it was much more based on actor performance and character. Those films sometimes feel a little posy, talkey, the actors are very stiff, just kind of delivering the lines and very expositional. I just wanted to do something with more soul and grit and dirt.

SQUAD was not the only movie they had him choose from, but clearly it was always love at first sight for Ayer:

The characters drew me in. I met with Greg Silverman and we went what projects they had available. This came up and it just seemed like a no-brainer, once I started investigating. OK, these are all bad guys? Got it. There is an insane, eclectic nature to the characters, and a government black ops component. All this felt like something I could really knock out of the park, playing in a grayer moral world. Rather than the typical comic book hero, good-guy, cookie-cutter morality version. It just seemed like a great fit for me.

As for that amazing cast, including huge names like Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) and Jared Leto (The Joker), some took more persuading to get, whereas others jumped at the chance to play a loveable bad guy/gal.

On Smith and Margot:

I was talking to him before the script was finished. And Margot jumped in off of a Skype call with no script. Will needed to see the script before he committed. So I wrote it for him, and I really tailored the role to him.
I was happy about his willingness to step up in what at first blush could seem like an ensemble movie. But it is very much his movie; he carries the emotional core of the film and really acts as a leader of this circus and he really becomes the father of the family. We met, and he just saw something in me that he trusted to get him there.

As for Leto, Ayer knew that his natural gifts as a performer made him the perfect choice to play The Joker:

I mean it was a courageous thing for him to tackle and I’m really proud of the result. He’s a transformative actor, and he’s also a legitimate rock star who is able to perform and hold a stadium at rapt attention. That proved a powerful skill to bring to this because at the end of the day, The Joker is a performer. Everything he does is performance art, this psychological warfare and Jared instinctively understood that. He brought power and swagger to the role.

With a great director, cast and script it’s impossible for a movie to not be at least good, and even though BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN really ruffled a lot (okay, a shit ton) of feathers, SUICIDE SQUAD looks like the movie to turn DC’s tides around. Ayer sounds confidant in his vision and his cast, which is enough to instill confidence in me. Don’t fail me, Ayer, or you’ll rue the day. Rue it!

SUICIDE SQUAD with Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney and many others will unleash Hell August 5.

Source: Deadline

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