Featuring Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena) and hulking fish-human hybrid King Shark (Sylvester Stallone), The Suicide Squad is very much director James Gunn’s vision of DC’s iconic supervillain task force.
As this thrilling and very grown-up movie crashes into cinemas on Friday (July 30), here’s the story of its genesis in Gunn’s own words.
On being given carte blanche by Warner Bros.:
“Warner were pretty much on board [with the story] from the beginning,” Gunn told Games Radar. “It was pretty much firmly in place from the inception of me taking on the project. They were very trusting of me throughout the entire process, almost to the degree to which I was frightened, because it really is all me, 100 per cent – there’s no one to blame if something goes wrong, except for myself!”
On developing the movie’s roll call of supervillains:
“At the end of the day, everything I’ve ever done is about characters trying to connect who have a difficult time doing it because I have a difficult time doing it,” Gunn told SYFY WIRE. “And these characters have a harder time than anybody else I’ve ever written because they not only have these horrible backstories for the most part, but they’ve also made horrible choices in their lives. And to be able to find something good in all of that is the journey that excites me the most.”
On having the nerve to actually kill off members of The Suicide Squad:
“The first thing I had to do was ignore the potential blowback from killing a character,” Gunn told Den of Geek. “I’m just the servant of the story, so whatever the story says is what I’m going to do, no matter what the repercussions are for anything. I believe in the truth of the story. I believe that there was a story out there that needed to be told that I don’t have any control over.”
On deciding to make Starro one of the main villains:
“He’s a character who I love from DC Comics. He is a giant walking, thinking, cerulean blue starfish,” Gunn told IGN. “He is both utterly ridiculous and terrifying to me and has been terrifying since I was a very young person, but I also think he goes along with what’s happening in the rest of this movie. This isn’t a movie about good guys and bad guys. It’s a movie about shades of grey.”
On using “more practical effects and sets” than “any big-budget comic book film ever”:
“CGI’s important. But I used practical effects whenever possible with The Suicide Squad,” Gunn tweeted, “including the biggest, most beautiful sets I’ve ever seen by Beth Mickle, real locations, real costumes by Judianna Makovsky, pyrotechnics by Dan Sudick, prosthetic effects by Legacy and more.”
On making Idris Elba an integral part of the movie:
“I wrote Bloodsport for Idris. I wanted Idris to star in this movie, so it wasn’t a matter so much of who the character was. It was a matter of let’s find a character who we can build as our own cinematic creation for Idris,” Gunn said during a recent press conference.
On perfecting Harley Quinn’s signature looks in the movie:
“The truth is I had a huge map of different books of Harley Quinn throughout the years in various media, and one of them I liked the best was the Arkham games look of Harley Quinn,” Gunn told IGN. “Her first look in the movie is based on that. I knew I wanted to have something written on the back of her jacket, motorcycle gang-style, and so that’s where I came up with ‘Live fast, die clown.’ Although there were some other options. We also made a jacket that says ‘Clown AF’ and we had another jacket that says ‘World’s Best Grandpa.’ And it was between those three different jackets.”
On being fascinated by The Suicide Squad’s ice-cool boss Amanda Waller (Viola Davis):
“To me, The Suicide Squad is about Amanda Waller,” Gunn told SYFY WIRE. “She’s the actual antagonist in this film, at the end of the day. She’s the bad guy, which is sad for me because I’m probably most like her because I’m the one who’s killing everyone.”
The Suicide Squad is out in cinemas on Friday, July 30.