Exclusive: Will Smith Reveals How David Ayer Convinced Him to Join ‘Suicide Squad’

     April 13, 2016


When casting rumors began floating about writer/director David Ayer’s DC Comics adaptation Suicide Squad, it seemed too good to be true. Will Smith, Tom Hardy, and Margot Robbie felt like Warner Bros. wishlist casting, so surely they wouldn’t get these exact actors to star in the film. But with the exception of Hardy, who had to drop out over scheduling conflicts with The Revenant, the casting that was rumored actually became a reality, as Ayer assembled a top-notch A-list ensemble for this movie about a team of incarcerated villains that must join forces to enact highly dangerous missions in exchange for commuted sentences.

But how did Ayer convince an actor like Will Smith to star in not only a DC Comics movie, but one with such rough edges? When Collider’s own Steve Weintraub caught up with Smith yesterday before the Warner Bros. presentation at CinemaCon, he asked the actor if he was actively looking to do something a bit darker like Suicide Squad when the film came along:

“I wasn’t really looking for this one. David Ayer called and this was one of those gifts that fell out of the sky. He came and he didn’t even have the screenplay, he pitched it [and] left me with the source material. He said, ‘I wanna make a serious, badass version of all of these characters. It’s not the cute, pretty, silly version of this, I wanna do the down and dirty, rough, rugged, and raw.’ So that in the DC world, that flavor, I was inspired by that.”


Image via Warner Bros.

With the film now four months away from release, Smith has only enthusiastic praise for his director, explaining how Ayer dove deep into the psychology of these larger-than-life characters:

“What’s really special about David and special about Suicide Squad is yes we’re in a hyper-reality, but David Ayer is a full-on 100% actor’s director. So he takes characters and he creates this world, but he only cares about what’s real and authentic between the characters. Looking at Harley and the relationship with The Joker, it’s not a comic book relationship; he’s getting the real depth of the psychology of the relationship and creating these insane interactions. For me with Deadshot, just really getting into how somebody could kill somebody and then go Christmas shopping with their daughter, having to get into that mindset in this spectacular hyper-real world. I think people are gonna be surprised at the look and the feel of Suicide Squad.”



Image via Warner Bros.

And the production mirrored the somewhat insane nature of some of the film’s characters, as co-star Jared Leto sent unusual gifts to the rest of the actors as part of his method acting for getting deep into The Joker’s skin. Steve asked Smith if this was the most unusual set he’s ever been on, and the prolific actor spoke slyly about the unique ensemble:

“It was pretty unusual. Let’s just say this film was perfectly cast. The Suicide Squad and the flavor of these characters blends well with the flavors of the people. So our set took on a dare I say bizarre tonal quality.”

For more on Suicide Squad, check out Steve’s interview with Ayer about the reshoots, and peruse our recent links below.


Image via Warner Bros.


Image via Warner Bros.


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