There’s No “I” in Team
With Ayer’s military background, it only makes sense he would try to train the actors playing the Suicide Squad as a team, which is very much in line with what Zack Snyder has done with his casts going back to 300. “We all trained together, everything was done together,” Adewale told us. “We worked out together. We rehearsed together. We cried together. We hurt together. We laughed together. There was definitely a magical method to the madness. Once we began principal photography, we saw why David works that way because it’s such a solid bond, solid squad. You’ll hear this from the other cast, it’s so tight and we support each other in getting through it. Once we came out of that intense training course, not only were we like a family, but we were pretty much ready for anything that he was going to throw at us.”
Adewale said that he also tried to remove himself from the cast similar to Leto. “I’ve literally kept myself away from the cast, and it’s a very hard process because he’s subterranean and I wanted the cast to be weary of him. And it’s a very tough because we’re all friends and we get along, but I wanted to create that environment on the set where they’re weary of him and they don’t know if he’s going to bite them and they don’t know what he’s going to do. I mean we’ll walk in a scene, and he’ll jump over the car and come down as opposed to just walk the street. So they’re always like, “wha?” You know, “what’s croc going to do?” That’s been the hardest part, not being able to party with my squad. But it creates a dynamic between the squad that I think is important and the audience will get. But at the end, we’ll party.
“I got here pretty early, and it was a daily routine, sort of spending time in rehearsals and working with David and other cast members exploring the characters, exploring the scenes, kind of figuring out who they were and where these moments would take us,” Hernandez said about his own experiences with team-building. “A lot of times they went completely different directions than I thought they would sort of reading the script and that was part of the joy, I suppose, of these rehearsal processes. One, we get to know each other as people. We get to see what we were gonna sort of bring to the table on the day in terms of actors, and we got to sort of like try on different takes. Sometimes a scene could play two, three, four, five vastly different ways, and we would explore all those options and kind of find what worked the best for us and for our scene partners. It was just a great process of exploration and really finding the character and getting a deep sense of understanding of who these people are and kind of where the story needed to go.
When the Bat’s Let Out of the Bag
One of the things we’ve been seeing more and more of over the years is that when you shoot a high-profile superhero movies on the streets of say, Pittsburgh or Toronto, there will likely be a lot of fans there taking pictures. It happened with The Dark Knight Rises and again with Suicide Squad.
Early photos taken on the streets of Toronto showed Batman atop the Joker’s purple car racing through the streets, and since the Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and Deadshot are among the characters mostly known from the Batman side of the DC Universe, we of course had to ask Ayer about Batman’s connections to the Suicide Squad.
“Look, it’s like you applied at a job for a DC Comic movie and it’s like, ‘Come on, let me get the toys, please. Let me get the cool stuff.’ So I begged for that. That was really, really something I wanted,” he said about getting Batman to appear in the movie. “There’s a lot of information out there, and a lot of false information about how these characters play into the A-plot. It’s an incredibly complex story with flashbacks and different convergent storylines and things like that. We have had some material exposed by virtue of being out on the streets and working out on the streets, but it’s a sliver. It’s a fragment and it’s all out of context. For me, it’s a lot of fun just to see how people try and assemble these pieces, because in their minds, they’re a much larger piece of the film than what they’re actually seeing. But it takes days and days to shoot a scene, so it’s how does all this fit together? That’s the big surprise.”
He then told us something that’s probably going to explain Batman’s role in the movie:
“I’m dying to say this and I probably shouldn’t: all the Batman movies have been from Batman’s point of view. He’s the hero of his own movie in all the movies we’ve seen. If you look at what Bruce Wayne has done in creating the Batman persona, his idea was to terrorize criminals. It’s sort of psychological warfare against criminals. This wraith that comes in the night and attacks and culls criminals from society. For the first time, we’re seeing Batman from the point of view of the criminals and he’s freaking scary.”
Roven also had some thoughts on Batman’s role in the movie. “He has purpose for what he’s doing, and you couldn’t tell the story of the Suicide Squad – as you mentioned so many of the characters that are in that squad had some interaction with him in order to get into Belle Reve, so you have to deal with that at the very least.”
It definitely seems like much of what we see of Batman will be showing him in flashbacks putting various members of the group into Belle Reve, so that’s going to be one of the connections to the rest of the DC Universe.
In fact, that might be one of the most exciting things about Suicide Squad joining the DC Cinematic Universe, and Ayer stirred that excitement when he told us, “I really feel like if you look at everything that’s available in the DC fiction universe and all the potential storylines, the vast amount of characters, the rich villains. It has the best villains and so I feel like I think others involved in this will share, it’s so untapped. I mean, get ready. I think it’s going to explode.”
Before leaving Pinewood, we were taken out to the backlot set where we were able to see some of the results of the intense fight sequence that the actors had all talked about in their interviews with the remains of a military vehicle that had been blown up and gun shells literally everywhere on the street. We didn’t spend too much time on the set because by that point in the day, it was absolutely pouring, but we left Pinewood fairly satisfied that Suicide Squad was in the right hands.
Suicide Squad opens in theaters on Friday, August 5 with previews on Thursday night.