There may once have been doubts (and plenty still remain) that Warner Bros. and DC Comics were fools to jump-start a shared movie universe; not only with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but with Suicide Squad as well. As one film introduces a few new movie superheroes, writer/director David Ayer will be introducing several villains expected to be sticking around for the long haul.
Though she may not carry the mainstream clout as The Joker (Jared Leto) or Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), it’s the role played by Amanda Waller – the government/military figure overseeing the Squad – that could wind up reaching into other films in the DC Movie Universe. And by the sound of it, actress Viola Davis is all too ready to start production.
When the initial star-studded cast for Suicide Squad was announced, it was rumored that one of the film’s more stunning casting choices was yet to be made. In the end, it was Davis, not Oprah Winfrey who would land the part of Amanda Waller, with the How to Get Away With Murder star voicing her excitement before casting was even officially announced.
At that time, Davis had yet to get into her comic book research of the ruthless ARGUS boss (and overseer of Task Force X a.k.a. ‘Suicide Squad’). Now that she has had time to do her homework, Davis explained to CBR what it was about Amanda Waller that makes her so eager to get filming:
“That she’s Amanda Waller! That she’s badass… She’s unapologetic. Everything that I’m reading and studying about her: unapologetic, no humor, just brutal. That’s me!
“Listen, she gets to use a gun… It’s my fantasy. Now, I would never do that in life, but when I get a gun on a set, it does something to me.”
It isn’t required that actors in superhero movies see a bit of themselves in their comic book roles, but Davis’ lighthearted kinship with one of the hardest authority figures in DC Comics is telling. Telling, also, are her repeated claims of getting to wield a firearm in the film. It’s safe to assume that nearly everyone in a David Ayer movie (Fury, Sabotage, End of Watch) can get their hands on a gun sooner or later, but the classic version of Amanda Waller wasn’t exactly known for getting her hands dirty – though she wouldn’t hesitate if the situation demanded action.
Before the roles were cast, fans hotly debated not just which actresses could do the cold, intimidating, and ruthless Waller justice, but which version of the character would be adapted. The large and occasionally vindictive Waller of old (and the animated universe) was heavily modified as part of DC’s New 52 lineup: replacing her with a younger, fitter, battle-hardened (and emotionally scarred) veteran. With an actress like Davis, it seems Ayer – and fans – may get to see both sides of the serial-super-antagonist in one.
Earlier word that Waller was being planned for multiple appearances in future DCMU films, and more recent reports of a personal vendetta with Ben Affleck’s Batman imply her presence will be felt even where she doesn’t outright appear. However, the rumored prison riot sequence in store for Suicide Squad will give Ayer and Davis the chance to get her hands dirty. But where her regular subordinate Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) fits into that mix is still unclear.
Which would you prefer for the next movie version of Amanda Waller: the professionally brutal dictator, or a more hands-on soldier? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Suicide Squad hits theaters August 5, 2016.