Jake Gyllenhaal the Latest to Pass on Rick Flag and “Suicide Squad”

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Oh Suicide Squad. Your flame burnt so bright, but for so a short a time. Truly pride comes before a fall. Is that too dramatic? Well you have to admit that the DC/ Warner Bros. project has hit a sort of speed bump. After such a strong showing a few months ago with a full main cast list, we got word earlier this month that Tom Hardy had left the project, leaving the role of Rick Flag open. Director David Ayer had his sights set on Jake Gyllenhaal for the role, but Slash Film is now reporting that the star of 2014 breakout Nightcrawler has said no to the role as well.

Rick Flag, as he might have been: Tom Hardy turned down the role earlier this month.
Rick Flag, as he might have been: Tom Hardy turned down the role earlier this month.

Now to be fair, there was nothing particularly concrete connecting Gyllenhaal to the project, apart from Ayer’s word that he was heavily courting the actor with whom he had previously collaborated successfully on End of Watch. Clearly, however, Ayer is a better director than he is a date. Either that, or Gyllenhaal is giving himself some breathing room to pick his next few projects more selectively. After such an amazing performance in Nightcrawler,  Gyllenhaal is going body-mod with boxing project Southpaw and will most likely be looking for similarly serious projects to prove that Nightcrawler wasn’t a fluke. Let’s face it, as financially and commercially tantalising as superhero movies may be on either side of the DC/Marvel fence, they’re not for everybody – certainly not for every actor.

Jake Gyllenhaal's big transformation from "Nightcrawler" (right) to "Southpaw" (left)
Jake Gyllenhaal’s big transformation from “Nightcrawler” (right) to “Southpaw” (left)

Although there is a more practical explanation for both refusals: there are reports that Hardy’s current project The Revenant, is going over schedule, and if he follows that up with promotions for the summer release of Mad Max: Fury Road, there may just not be room for Suicide Squad. As for Gyllenhaal, he’s recently gone the Bradley Cooper route and started in a role on Broadway, so he may be too busy treading the boards to get caught in a potentially ongoing DC contract.

Other than that, the film is still moving on as scheduled, with Spring shooting plans and a August 5, 2016 release date unchanged. Let’s hope everything runs smoothly from here on out.

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