SUICIDE SQUAD - IT FEELS GOOD TO BE BAD
Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. Sounds like a hit? Whether or not critics like it, the DC Comics film is a blockbuster—and most especially with the younger crowd—which makes sense, since they’ve grown up on these characters.
The charismatically naughty “Suicide Squad” includes the ever-stunning Margot Robbie (Tarzan, The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus), Oscar winner Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), Will Smith (Concussion, The Pursuit of Happyness), Oscar nominee Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt), and Joel Kinnaman (Netflix’s “House of Cards”, “The Killing”) from director/producer and screenwriter, David Ayer (who wrote and directed Suicide Squad, as well as Fury and End of Watch and also wrote the intense action-drama, Training Day).
Based on the characters from DC Comics, the film also stars Jai Courtney (Insurgent), Jay Hernandez (Takers), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors), Scott Eastwood (Fury), Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns), Adam Beach (Cowboys & Aliens), and Karen Fukuhara in her feature film debut.
We had a chance to interview the magnetic three Super Villians: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto—larger than life, each in their own, unique way.
Will Smith’s portrayal of “Deadshot” is both powerful and touching when he lovingly speaks of his daughter that he so misses when he’s incarcerated. Jared Leto’s portrayal of “Joker” is unlike any other, strongly appealing to the Millennials with his swirling, almost faded (drug-induced) maniacal approach to the dark character. But it’s Margot Robbie who steals the show. Her portrayal of the psychotic “Harley Quinn” is both captivating and alluring—even adorable at times as the lovely loon whose heart is daftly bound to someone just as demented as herself.
STRIPLV: Tell us what it was like to take on these vibrant roles, balancing what comic book fans already know and what you guys wanted to bring to your characters.
LETO: For me, it was actually the role of a lifetime. I had so much fun playing the Joker, I could easily just play the Joker a couple more times and retire. It was a buzz. But you guys seemed like you were having all the fun in the movie.
SMITH: We were really enjoying it. David Ayer has a very interesting process of getting actors into their characters. Manipulation, domination, torture—yeah. (laughter) So we all got in a room, and essentially, it was more like therapy than it was, you know, character creations. So we sat and we talked about our lives, and we got really close [discussing] our triumphs and tribulations, and trials, and then, at the most opportune moment, Joel describes it best: “He would completely betray us.”
LETO: That’s also how you start a cult. (laughter)
STRIPLV: For Margot, Will and Jared – What was the most challenging aspect of making this movie, and was anybody mildly injured or did any mishaps occur during any of the physical scenes?
SMITH: When you’re 47, no injury is a mild injury anymore. Yeah, I tore my calf a couple of weeks. And what’s terrible is you do it doing nothing! Like, I wasn’t doing anything! You know, we’re sparring, and I stepped back to throw a shot, and my calf popped. And you could hear it. People could hear it. And everybody was like: “Ooh! That’s not good! Whatever that sound was, it’s not a good sound!” And then the doctor told me I was down for six weeks. So on a movie like this, you know, six weeks clicks off or can click off at significant amounts of money—that I wasn’t gonna pay for it. But it was really scary to be in that position. I was like: “Oh, my God! This opportunity! Suicide Squad, having this chance, and maybe not gonna be able to deliver it the way I wanted to.” Margot, what was the hardest part for you, other than doing everything we had to do, except you did it in heels?
ROBBIE: Yeah, that was tricky. And I had less layers to hide, padding and stuff. So that made it a little painful. I only got… I thought I broke my rib at one point, but I actually just tore the muscles off the rib instead—but it was fine. When I fell off the chopper straight onto my knees… Oh, my gosh! That hurt so much! But you can’t cry in front of all those people. It’s like, “I’m good. I’m good!” I fell off a stage again in Toronto, as well again. I just popped up and was like: “Oh, that didn’t hurt.” And I was like: ‘Uh, uh. It hurts.’
SMITH: Just internal bleeding.
ROBBIE: But the hardest part wasn’t the physical side actually. That’s the mechanical side, and it’s challenging, but it’s rewarding and fun. The emotional stuff was definitely more difficult—exposing my most vulnerable sides in front of a room full of strangers at that point. That was incredibly hard. Trying to figure out the dynamic between Harley and Joker, and why she is so devoted to this guy that tries to kill her occasionally. I mean, things like that, it took me awhile to get my head around. But the physical side was just more fun than challenging.
STRIPLV: Can you talk a little bit about bringing humanity and humor into all the mayhem for this film?
LETO: David was really great, because from the beginning it was clear he wanted to do something different. He wanted to do something special. He wanted to make something that was something we’d all be really proud of. And I could get the sense from him that he was willing to go to all lengths in order to get that. And that was both a little scary, but also really exciting. And he’s not only the director, but the writer of the film. And I was surprised by how much freedom he gave, I think everybody, to just go completely fucking crazy!
SMITH: No, that was just your experience. (laughter)
LETO: But what I thought was really genius about David is he was always looking for the accident. He was always looking for the mistake, and embracing that. For Margot and I, there was a lot of humor. There was a lot of things that I thought were really funny—in a very sick and twisted way… He was really wonderful in that way.
STRIPLV: We hear that Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) really delved into his part on and off-camera.
SMITH: He took it very serious! Like, he was watching crocodile videos, and you know—cannibalism and all that. And I think that, as a cast, we have a question for him. And I think that Adewale should answer this question honestly, once and for all. [directing his question to the camera] Did you eat any of your assistants? Because there was an assistant that came up missing. He had an assistant. What was the guy’s name?
SMITH: We all think he ate him.
ROBBIE: I did. I ate Michael. (laughter)
STRIPLV: Tell us about working with that hilariously crazy Australian, Jai Courtney.
SMITH: He definitely brought crazy! I’ve done love scenes in movies. I’ve had quite a few movies where I’ve had really extensive love scenes. But I’ve never had a co-star that I’ve seen naked more than Jai. You know, it was like he just had a really, really hard time keeping his clothes on during the set. He didn’t feel a need.
LETO: I did see something interesting one day when I was on set. I saw a photograph of a naked man running after David Ayer, who had a look of abject terror on his face.
SMITH: Yes! Terror—yes!
LETO: And he had the most perfect running form you only see at the Olympics. I think the most aerodynamic form, and a look of intense concentration.
SMITH: ‘Cause he didn’t want to get caught.
LETO: I think it was a naked Jai. (laughter)
SMITH: I’m not sure. We can’t say for certain.
STRIPLV: Margot, to try to identify with your character, besides a back story, which the comic books do offer, what are some of the ways that you kind of tapped into playing your character? And is there a way that you can identify playing these female characters, but not so as badass, or smart or strong, but maybe vulnerable and narcissistic, or anything of that sort?
ROBBIE: I did a lot of research, but the thing I found really helpful for just filling in the gaps, because like you said, we have an amazing resource with the comic books, but there are still little gaps in the back story and things you need to fill in yourself. I watched a couple of “Ted Talks” on schizophrenia, amongst like a bunch of other things. But that really helped, because the women that were doing these talks were so intelligent. They were professors. And Holly needs to be wickedly intelligent, but also kind of psychotic. But it was so helpful. And I also got recommended to read a play called “Fall for Love”, about this really dysfunctional relationship, and that, for whatever reason, helped me to unlock the whole feeling toward the Joker. So yeah, some things hit home when you’re doing all your research, and some things kind of don’t. But that really helped.