Ever since Suicide Squad was confirmed to be coming from Warner Bros. as yet another branch of their DC Movie Universe, fans have debated the casting, choice of director, costumes, or simply the demand for a film following the villains – not the heroes – of DC Comics. Yet even with all that debate, there is little official detail about what the film is actually about.

Director David Ayer has offered a partial explanation, claiming that his previous interest in grounded, realistic, and occasionally ugly tales of people, partners and combat plays a factor in the shaping of the Suicide Squad story. But for both the characters and the ensemble cast playing them, Ayer says it’s about one thing above all else: family.

When a film following the exploits of DC Comics’ Task Force X a.k.a. Suicide Squad was officially announced, David Ayer had already been rumored as the studio’s top choice; not entirely surprising, given his proven a knack for crime stories, and having shown the depths of his potential in the WWII-era Fury. But the spotlight was quickly stolen from the director by the cast assembled to bring both fan-favorite and B-grade comic villains to life.

Suicide Squad Cast Courtney Smith Robbie Kinnaman David Ayer Says Suicide Squad is All About Family

As production on the film continues (and set photos leak out as a result), fans can have their first glimpse of how the cast will appear in the story – but the nature of the story itself is where the importance, and the mystery, lie. Speaking with CityTV’s Breakfast Television in Toronto, Ayer explained his own summary of the Suicide Squad challenge, and how the ensemble cast’s talents will be put to use:

“I’m all about real drama, real performance, and real people, so my twist on this is: I’m creating a family, a brotherhood here. I’m creating a very real chemistry and I have this incredible ensemble of actors led by Will Smith, who are basically playing dimensional characters with lives and souls.”

It’s interesting to see Ayer speak of the characters’ souls, as Will Smith’s Deadshot costume flirts with Biblical scripture in unexpected ways – not to mention Jay Hernandez’s ‘El Diablo’; a villain with his own tortured notion of faith. It’s up to fans to speculate whether the “family” Ayer is creating is a sign that the Squad may wind up closer than their comic counterparts, or the word is being applied to both the characters and actors to imply that more film outings may be in store (invest in creating chemistry now, to drive a series alongside DC’s movie heroes).

Suicide Squad Harley Deadshot El Diablo Comic David Ayer Says Suicide Squad is All About Family

Whatever the case, Ayer’s recent success in telling a nuanced, gripping, and painful story offers a new lens on the “filmmaker-driven” approach Warner Bros. seems to be adopting for their comic universe. If the writer/director’s strengths translate to Suicide Squad, then perhaps finding a way of working these villains into other films will be a simpler task, as opposed to establishing a rigid structure for him to follow.

Only time will tell, but for now, Ayer’s focus on the emotional core – or “soul” – of the ensemble seems promising. Considering some of these villains (but likely not all) could have multiple appearances ahead of them, a ‘family’ of villains is worth a try.

Do you like the sound of Ayer’s comments, or do you have your doubts about the Squad’s potential in the DCMU? Sound off in the comments.

Next: Suicide Squad: First Official Image of Cast

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.

Source: BT Toronto

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