Up until now, the cast list for David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad has been a bit of a patchwork. Actors like Tom Hardy have signed in and signed off with replacements like Joel Kinnaman filling the gaps, all the while Killer Crocs and Amanda Wallers are being slapped onto the edges. It sure would be nice to see an image of the actor’s officially rolling up their sleeves, and not just crude homemade Google images of Jared Leto with bleached skin and slightly green hair. Well fortunately Ayer has delivered the goods and offered up a family Christmas card of sorts.
Empire is reporting that read-throughs for the script that follows a cavalcade of Batman baddies taking on impossible missions for the government have already begun. Just to prove it, Ayer tweeted this photo of the whole Suicide Squadgang, excluding Jared Leto who was probably out on a burrito run. Here’s the shot, courtesy of Twitter:
So let’s do a quick run through of the names we know. There’s Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg), Will Smith (Deadshot), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc), Jay Hernandez (unknown), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Jai Courtney (Boomerang), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Karen Fukuhara (unknown) and Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), and let’s not forget Ayer himself.
You may have noticed that there are a couple of new faces in the mix that haven’t been mentioned before. Doubtless their characters have been left nameless to keep the rumour fires burning. In case you don’t recognise them, we have Ike Barinholtz, and Adam Beach. Barinholtz was last seen in Bad Neighbours, while Beach may be best known for Law & Order: SVU.
It’s certainly a treat to see the whole gang (most of the gang) together with scripts in hand. But they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them if they’re gonna hit that August 5th 2016 release date. Lets hope all goes smoothly.
It goes without saying that everyone got a serious kick out of the news that Suicide Squad had a confirmed cast. The two biggest surprises to come out of it were the affirmation of Jared Leto as The Joker, and Will Smith‘s name being tossed into the mix as Deadshot. There’s no denying that a superhero team-up is a crowd-pleaser, especially since Guardians of the Galaxy proved that we don’t need to know the team members to fall in love with them. Add the fact that these are all villains, including Harley Quinn and The Joker!? How could we not get excited?
But now that we’ve had a few hours to calm down and all the glitzy dust has settled, maybe we should take a moment to think about how reliable a line-up of actors DC has put together for us.
First, we’ve got Will Smith. One of the most successful, well-known actors around. It might be argued that Smith has gone a little off the deep-end recently and might be looking to change his image with a DC picture. That might be true, except for the fact that he doesn’t need to change his image. Men in Black 3 grossed $624 million worldwide. 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Positive responses from critics. Granted, After Earth was mostly a write-off and Focus looks just plain dull, but so what? Clearly the man can still make what he wants and be a hit. Not to mention the fact that he could potentially come back for Independence Day 2 and already has a serious drama in the works with Concussion, an exploration of head trauma in the NFL, due out in 2016. So why Suicide Squad?
The obvious answer is because he likes the part and likes the script. But Smith doesn’t just have to like something and go along with it. If something doesn’t sit right with him, he’ll try and change it. Let’s not forget that he lost out to Jamie Foxx for the lead in Django Unchained because he wanted to shoot the bad guy instead of Christoph Waltz’s character. And this has got me worried. If Smith took this role, it could very well mean that the script was just the way he wanted it, or it was changed to suit him. This is all complete conjecture of course, but could still be bad news. There’s also the question of whether or not he has a contract to appear in other DC films.
But back to the other cast members. Tom Hardy is a dependable choice, given his history with DC (Dark Knight Rises) and his uncanny ability to augment his body shape seemingly at will. As for Jai Courtney, he’ll draw a modest tween audience thanks to the Divergent series if all goes well and will potentially make waves with Terminator: Genisys and add to the already considerable hype. Margot Robbie is starring in Focus alongside Smith, but her role in Wolf of Wall Street is most likely why she’s been given Harley Quinn to make her own. As for Cara Delevingne, she’s been popping her head in the door in a lot of big films recently, including Anna Karenina and the upcoming Pan. And if Aidan Gillen lands Deathstroke, he’s got his Game of Thrones gusto to call on.
And then we have Jared Leto. Between Requiem for a Dream in 2000 and last year’s Dallas Buyers Club, Leto’s acting contributions could easily have been missed if you didn’t know where to look. Two years ago he could very well have been groomed by Marvel as the star of a property all to himself, given his respectable dramatic chops and the kind of Everyman handsome face that pretty much any major superhero can be copy and pasted onto.
And it doesn’t matter that he has an Oscar. If you look at Leto’s track record, you get the impression that his acting trajectory is very much down to the projects he likes, instead of the parts he thinks would make him more successful. Now that he has Best Supporting Actor under his belt I don’t see that changing. Don’t forget that Ledger had a nomination for Brokeback Mountain before he was cast for The Dark Knight , so that’s not the issue.
But if you look at the kind of film The Dark Knight was, and the kind of work that Leto has done in the past, you could start to think that DC are going to stick with their plan to keep things dark and serious. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Do all superhero movies need to follow the colourful, fun-loving Marvel template? Not necessarily. It’s not so much about following the herd as it is drawing on experience and knowing what works in the long term.
Let’s just have a quick side-by-side comparison with Marvel. Now don’t get antsy, I know they aren’t the same and they can put their universes together in different ways. But we have to consider that DC is starting on the back foot and it’s already trying to catch up with Marvel in terms of output. Just take a look at the line-up of films to come out of both studios over the next few years:
From 2015 onward, we already have word of 23 Marvel properties and 15 DC properties. That seems unbalanced, but if you take away all of the Marvel films that will be released outside of the Marvel Studio system by Fox, Sony and Disney, that leaves Marvel Studios with 9 upcoming films against DC/ Warner Bros.’ 15. So it’s safe to say that DC have come to play, and they’re looking to take up as much space on the calendar as possible. That’s OK though, right? Marvel can’t “own” making good superhero movies can they? Of course not, but here’s the problem: DC simply hasn’t got the foundations for this kind of consistent turnout yet.
By the time we hit 2015, Marvel Studios will have released ten blockbuster productions, all successful, all awaiting sequels (apart from Iron man that already has two and Hulk). By the time the predicted line-up is finished, Marvel Studios’ number of productions will be more than twice as large. And that’s just in the current continuity.
DC has one: Man of Steel.
Now DC has a whole archive of successful films: the original batman series, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Reeves’ Superman, Watchmen – almost all of them produced by Warner Bros. Their ability to make good films is not in question. But they’ve never had to worry about tying them all together before. No one was telling Tim Burton to make Michael Keaton less self-reliant in case he needed to get involved with the Justice League…although that might explain what happened with Batman Forever . The truth is Marvel has been perfecting for the last six years what DC only started putting into effect a year ago.
I agree that I might be spoiling the party for everyone by saying it’s gonna suck before we even get there. Suicide Squad could be amazing – it’s got enough acting talent to do it. The only question is whether the choice of actors, the choice of tone and the Jenga tower of a movie multiverse are going to play well together when the time comes. Hopefully they will.
There’s been a whole bunch of reports over the last few months on who’s going to be filling the roster for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Names like Jared Leto for the Joker have been appearing and disappearing with very little sticking power. but now we have a solid cast list from Warner Bros. for the members of the DC Universe’s government funded villain branch.
So here’s the list, laid out nice and simple-like:
Jared Leto – The Joker
Will Smith – Deadshot
Tom Hardy – Rick Flagg
Margot Robbie – Harley Quinn
Jai Courtney – Boomerange
Cara Delevingne – Enchantress
This is a very intriguing list and I’ll tell you why: of the latest incarnation of the Suicide Squad – titled the New Suicide Squadin the series that started its run earlier this year – only Deadshot and Harley Quinn appear in the film line-up. Hardy’s character Rick Flag could refer to three different characters, a grandfather, father and son with the same name. Flag had a concrete member of the Squad up until 2011.
Boomerange is referred to as Captain Boomerang in the comics, so this may have been altered to sound less like a character in a kid’s TV show – either that or there were legal issues with the name. Enchantress is another long-running character, but has magical powers so it’ll be interesting to see how they broach that subject or work around it.
The most interesting name on the list is The Joker. I was originally very sceptical when Leto was named as a potential cast member, since the clown prince of crime has never really been directly affiliated with the Squad. The Joker’s daughter did enter the line-up in 2014 to join his on-again off-again girlfriend Harley Quinn. It’ll be exciting to see how Leto takes the mantle from Heath Ledger atfer his portrayal in The Dark Knight.
David Ayer is writing as well as directing the film for Warner Bros., with Zack Snyder (who’d have thought it?), Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns on hand as executive producers. Shooting will take place in Toronto.
It’ll be along wait before Suicide Squad arrives on our screens, but it’s not like we don’t have a bundle of Marvel and DC films to keep us limber until 2016.
What do you think of the lineup? Who’s depiction can you not wait to see?