How David Ayer assembled his ‘Suicide Squad’, the most anticipated movie of the summer

The July 15th issue of Entertainment Weekly is available now. It features four awesome collectible Suicide Squad covers, and new images from the movie too. I just bought the issue on my iPad and wanted to share with you the cool new information the cover story provides.

Entertainment Weekly spoke with director David Ayer last month, while he was still editing and putting the final touches on Suicide Squad. Ayer talked about the fact that 10 years ago no one would’ve known what Suicide Squad was. But now, it’s the most anticipated movie of the summer, and has a ton of hype behind it. And because Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice got slammed by critics and underperformed at the box office, Ayer is feeling more pressure than ever before.

“Now it’s like the hype bus. All of the attention has swung onto it, and it has to carry a lot more weight than it was ever intended to”, he said. “I think it can sustain it. But it’s a lot of pressure. You definitely feel the pressure.”

So how did Ayer land the big job? Back in 2014 when he was working on his movie Fury, he became motivated to push his career to the next level. “The core of this business is the [comic book] genre and the summer movie tentpole movie,” he told EW. “To really guarantee longevity and viability as a director, it seemed like something I needed on my passport.”

So Ayer landed a meeting with Warner Bros. President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production Greg Silverman, and immediately fell in love with the Suicide Squad characters. Silverman was a big fan of Training Day, a critically acclaimed movie that Ayer wrote about a crooked cop, and felt that he was the perfect guy to write and direct a movie about bad guys.

Ayer’s pitch for the movie was approved in August, and he had a completed script by September. It was then time to assemble his Suicide Squad.

Will Smith said that the opportunity to play Deadshot was too good to pass up. “I had never played a character that legitimately didn’t give a f*ck,” Smith said. “It’s very freeing”.

Margot Robbie was hired to play Harley Quinn after just a 20-minute Skype chat with David Ayer. “It was a dream,” Robbie said. “Rarely do you get to play a role that’s so insane and complicated.”

And then came Jared Leto as The Joker. “As an actor, he’s flinging himself into the abyss on that one”, Ayer said. “And he was scary on set. He was intimidating. He’d show up and it was like ‘Dude, you are f*cking creepy.'”

Before the 97-day Suicide Squad shoot began in Toronto, Ayer put his actors through physical and mental boot camps. We’ve heard in other interviews that Ayer had the squad fight each other, but Entertainment Weekly’s new article goes into the crazy mental aspect of it too.

Ayer would hold group therapy sessions with each of his actors and get them to tell him their deepest, darkest secrets. But they weren’t secrets for long. If he needed to, Ayer used those secrets against his actors while they were shooting!

“David would ask questions where you would reveal your biggest vulnerabilities and the stuff that you are ashamed of,” Joel Kinnaman said, who plays Rick Flag. “He stored it all in his database, so at the right moment he would completely betray you”.

In one example, Ayer asked Viola Davis, who plays Amanda Waller, to call Kinnaman profane names. “Some of the stuff she said really pissed me off, and that’s exactly what he wanted me to feel,” Kinnaman explained. “And now it’s in the movie. That’s some pretty high-level direction through manipulation.”

Ayer told EW that he stands by his unusual directing style. “It’s all about ‘How do you keep the set fresh, keep it alive? You throw these grenades at the actors, and boom, it’s the money take,” he said.

Despite the physical and mental stress that Ayer put his actors through, many told EW that they would do another movie with him in a heartbeat. And if Suicide Squad is the big hit that it appears that it’s going to be, they’ll get that chance with Suicide Squad 2.

“The movie is pretty insane, and they gave me a lot of rope,” Ayer said, speaking about the freedom Warner Bros. gave him while making the movie. “I marvel at some of the things I’ve gotten away with,” he concluded.

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly (July 15, 2016)