Suicide Squad is one big, happy, insane, degenerate family — all thanks to Will Smith
Sunday - 31/07/2016 10:09
TAYLOR Swift’s squad looks good in bikinis, but the Suicide Squad is mayhem personified.
Thirty years after the Suicide Squad took the form DC Comics fans know and love, the despicable flip side of do-gooders Batman and Superman is making its big-screen debut.
Set in the same DC Extended Universe as Batman v Superman and next year’sWonder Woman, Suicide Squad is the punk-rock outcast of the family.
Their chaos is unleashed when a covert government agency (led by Viola Davis’s bad-ass spook Amanda Waller) assembles a team of supervillains for a mission that’s not so much do or die as inevitable death.
But one look at this motley crew makes it clear the Suicide Squad ain’t goin’ out like that.
Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is a huge man with scaly skin who’s most at home in the sewers. Diablo (Jay Hernandez) can conjure and control fire. Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) is a redneck Aussie bastard who downs foes with hi-tech boomerangs.
Slipknot (Adam Beach) can do anything with a rope. Katana (Karen Fukuhara) is a samurai street fighter whose sword traps the souls of her victims. Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) is an ancient witch in a human host body.
Standing outside the Squad, but still very much part of their story, is Batman’s oldest foe, the Joker (Jared Leto).
Encountering the Squad is a rowdy experience. Even Joel Kinnaman, the Swede tasked with keeping the Squad in formation as Col. Rick Flag, is running late.
“Joel got eaten by crocs!” declares Delevingne.
“Adewale,” tut-tuts Robbie, “stop eating cast members!”
Yet while they’re all mad, bad and degenerate, this Squad knows how to respect its elders. Ask who took the lead and a chorus of nine responds: “Mr Smith. Will. Will Smith. Without a doubt!”
Meanwhile, that trademark Will Smith laugh rings clear among the hubbub.
“Yeah, the old guy!” Smith declares. “I’m in my 40s — I realised it on this set. I felt: I’m young and I’m hot, I can do this. I know about Snapchat!
“But ...” Smith stands and feigns using a walking stick. “Damn.”
Smith took it upon himself make the Suicide Squad set a welcoming place.
“What was your motto?” Akinnuoye-Agbaje ponders. “You said: ‘We’re gonna have fun’.”
“These kinds of films can be f---ing gruelling — producers get stressed and everybody’s job is on the line at the studio ... I looked at myself as the buffer between that and my cast, you know? I wanted the actors to have a good time, to not feel the pressure of ‘make-up and hurry up and do this ...’
“I wanted to create that family environment so we could sit here together and be excited about making another one.”
Beach adds: “Will threw a huge party for everybody, cast and crew, and he sang.”
“He got jiggy wit it,” grins Hernandez.
At 47 and with $9 billion in box office to his name, Smith could rightly say he’s been there, done that as far as action (Bad Boys, Independence Day, Enemy Of the State) and superhero movies (Hancock) are concerned.
Yet in Suicide Squad, he saw a new angle: characters who weren’t super or heroes.
“What makes ’em interesting,” he says, looking around at his fellow Squad members, “is that most of us, we’re all human, right? Meta-human. There are different levels of super ability but no full-on superheroes. So that creates an interesting connectivity to the audience: Hmm, I could be that, I could do that.
“It’s not so far of a reach.”
This rings true for Fukuhara, a 24-year-old Japanese-American whose only prior screen experience was as a presenter on Japan’s Disney Channel.
She’s worried Smith may have helped make her time on Suicide Squad a bit too enjoyable.
“It’s crazy because this is my first film ever and everyone’s telling me it’s not gonna be like this ... I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’!”
“Karen,” says Kinnaman, “you are f---ed!”
Suicide Squad is set in a Gotham made funkier by director David Ayer.
“It has a real gangsta sensibility,” says Smith. “That was the thing I was excited about with the Joker when I first saw the character ... (he has) a more urban, current flavour.”
“He’s like a thug prince,” offers Hernandez.
“A thug prince!” Smith declares. “I like that.”
To ensure Deadshot suited this gangsta’s paradise, Smith decided his hitman should mimic the look of hip-hop impresario Suge Knight (currently in jail awaiting trial on a murder charge).
“They shaved me bald and that was like, ‘Yes!’”
While the hairdo lightened his load, Deadshot’s outfit burdened Smith with almost 20kgs of extra gear. A torn calf muscle during preparation only made him “extra nervous”.
The star admits he turned to his stuntman more than usual.
“It would be like: ‘Will jumps up and takes a shot ...’ and I would be like ... (he mimes struggling to complete the task) ... ‘I’ll have the stuntman come in and do that’,” Smith laughs.
“There was a day — it was so simple, I just had to jump down off of a car. I stretched for 40 minutes. My mind was, ‘If I jump off this car and tear my knee ...’ Little stuff like that.”
Smith may be the film’s most recognisable face, but he’s under no illusions as to who Suicide Squad moviegoers are going to freak out about.
“There is no competition: Harley Quinn and the Joker. There is something absolutely magnetic about that relationship. It’s this weird superhero dysfunctional relationship ... and it’s SEXY.”