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Following the success of Deadpool, it’s suddenly become cool to be a misfit again
By Nicole-Marie Ng; Photos: Warner Bros
Superheroes are out, anti-heroes are in. The third film in DC’s Extended Universe, Suicide Squad, follows a secret team of super-villains who find themselves forced to work together by the United States government. If they succeed, they live to fight another day and might even have their sentences reduced. If they don’t, no one would know — and no one would care.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is the force that brings the merry band of deadly misfits together. As the boss of the operation, she only cares about the mission being a success, making everyone else expendable as long as they serve the greater good.
Even though she’s seen as a morally sound character compared to the murderous baddies of the squad, Davis describes Waller as a complete sociopath. To prepare for the role, she read a book called “Confessions of a Sociopath” by M.E. Thomas, which was given to her by Joel Kinnaman (Col. Rick Flag).
“It was based on one woman’s story. She was a non-violent sociopath, and the book detailed her inner thoughts. For me, that was a way into Amanda Waller. It helped me to develop her [character] and to make her specific,” explained Davis.
Despite being an Emmy-winning actress, Davis found it extremely difficult to relate to the character and dig into the role. “I don’t know how that happened, but people always feel like I’m a badass — I’m the complete opposite of that! Maybe it’s my voice, my stature, something in my aura that gives them that impression, but it’s just not me.”
The jokes on you
The most anticipated performance of Suicide Squad is Jared Leto’s Joker. He will be the fourth person to play Batman’s greatest nemesis on the big screen, following Heath Ledger’s memorable portrayal in The Dark Knight.
The talented actor won an Oscar in 2013 for his portrayal of a transgendered woman in Dallas Buyers Club, his last role before Suicide Squad. Leto is also known for being extremely selective of his roles as he practises method acting and he forces himself to remain in character throughout the duration of the shoot. He also spoke with doctors and spent time with psychopaths to prepare for this role.
During the Suicide Squad panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Will Smith shared how Leto would traumatise the rest of the cast as the Joker. He recalls, “This dude walks in and goes I have a message from Mr. J and he puts a box down in front of Margot. Margot starts to open the box, and there’s a note from the Joker. And I was like, ‘That’s cool. That’s funny. Jared is taking this real serious,’ Margo opened the box and there was a live rat in the box. I was playing Deadshot, but if I had pearls on, I would have clutched them.”
Shrouded in secrecy
Even though Suicide Squad is primed for release soon, not much is known about the plot of the movie. We know the premise: They’re the world’s most dangerous super-villains put on a mission, but there’s no hint on who they’re being sent to defeat. Even curiouser, not much has been said of the motives or reasons why these super villains agreed to the mission in the first place. In the comic, they are held ‘hostage’ by an explosive microchip implanted into their heads by the government.
Other unknowns include the roles that both Joker and Batman have in the film. Will they be part of fleeting flashbacks from Harley Quinn’s (Margot Robbie) memory, or do they exist to drive the plot forward too? Some fans are hoping to see more of either in the film, especially following the disappointing Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
One thing’s for sure: We’re certain that even if the film isn’t better, it’ll definitely be badder.
SUICIDE SQUAD [PG13]
DIRECTOR: David Ayer
STARRING: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Scott Eastwood, Cara Delevingne
RUN LENGTH: 130 min
RELEASE: 4 Aug 2016
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 158, August 5 – August 18, 2016, with the headline ‘The rise of the anti-hero’.