Throw together a bunch of very nasty villains, give them a ton of deadly toys and send them out to save the world.
A top notch US law enforcement official (Viola Davis) does just that in Suicide Squad, a summer tent pole – directed by David Ayer (End of Watch and Training Day) – based on DC’s comic of the same name.
Considered to be “the worst of the worst,” the gang of total misfits – comprising of Deadshot (Will Smith), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adele Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) – is offered clemency if they succeed in their mission to defeat a threat to the US.
“Suicide Squad—I didn’t know what that was, I hadn’t read comics growing up and I was ignorant to that whole universe,” says Robbie, whose character is the girlfriend of The Joker (Jared Leto). “But David was the writer and director and I knew I’d kill to work with him. ‘Training Day’ is epic. I saw ‘End of Watch’ four times. ‘Fury’ was amazing. We had maybe a 20-minute Skype call where he explained a very loose concept to me, and I was in.”
For newcomers to the Suicide Squad /DC universe, Harley Quinn is actually Harleen Quinzel, a former psychiatrist who just happened to fall for the iconic Joker while she was conducting research at Arkham Asylum prison.
“Why does she love this guy?” the actress asks. “It was one of the things I really struggled to crack with this character. She’s so strong and smart and such a badass, she’s just awesome, but then she falls to pieces over this guy all the time. It’s something I didn’t like about her because I didn’t understand it at first.”
For Harley, it all comes down to codependence – a condition in which one person exhibits emotional and psychological reliance on a partner. To prepare for her role as the sociopath, whose love for Joker are illustrated by the numerous tattoos and symbols peppered all over her body, the actress conducted extensive research into the condition.
“And it turns out it’s not really about the person, it’s a compulsion like alcohol or drug addiction. Once I thought of her relationship with Joker in those terms, as an addiction, I had a world of empathy for her.”
As for Gotham City’s most iconic villain, Leto had a nice long think about taking on a character immortalised by Jack Nicholson in 1989’s Batman, the late Heath Ledger in 2008’s Batman Begins, and the late Cesar Romero in the Batman TV series, which ran from 1966 to 1968. But the actor, who won an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, just wasn’t one to turn down a challenge.
“I remember when I got the call, I had this simultaneous feeling of excitement and dread. As soon as I heard the word Joker I knew that I was going to have to dive really deep and go to a place I had never gone before. He’s been interpreted so beautifully, they should almost put a cap on the well and just call it. But then there was the other side: what else could I uncover? What could I do that hadn’t been done?”
For Ayer, it was all about being respectful to the Joker’s history, as portrayed both onscreen and on the comic page, and everything that has come before.
“He has this incredible history, and the trick was to be respectful of the legacy of the Joker and the canon and everything that has come before. To understand the core of that character and not tamper with that, yet at the same time reinvent the Joker for this film.”
“The Joker is iconic, a legend. He’s been around for 75 years, and there are so many variations of his story. The Joker is Mount Everest: one of those impossible ideas where you most likely can’t achieve what you set out to do. It was terrifying, exciting and a total honor to take on that role.”
Studio: Warner Bros
Writer / Director: David Ayer
Stars: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman and Viola Davis.
Producers: Charles Roven and Richard Suckle
Executive Producers: Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder, Colin Wilson and Geoff Johns
Image Info: Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. © 2016 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved
Source Info: Information in this article, including quotes, is sourced from press material pertaining to Suicide Squad© 2016 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved