This year is packed with movies for those who love action and superheroes, but it’s also the year in which antiheroes and villains will take over the big screen with David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Fans have been treated to trailers, toys, a calendar, and even the promise of a spin-off movie featuring Harley Quinn, only making the excitement and anticipation grow even bigger.
While Suicide Squad features both female and male characters, all eyes are on Margot Robbie’s character Harley Quinn, best known to many as the Joker’s accomplice and lover as well as ally to fellow supervillain Poison Ivy. Harley Quinn made her debut in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and made the jump to the comics in 1993. Harley is known for her sense of humor, intelligence, and dangerous personality, which raises the question: Will Robbie’s performance keep those traits?
In the new print issue of EW, the ladies of Suicide Squad opened up about their characters and how they prepared for these roles. When speaking about Harley Quinn, Robbie revealed that, while she tried to play into the comedic side of the character, David Ayer directed her into a different style:
“David [Ayer] really wanted her to be strong, badass and nuts – but fun as well. Whenever I would be inclined to play into the comedy or play her more likable, he’d always direct me the other way. He wanted her to be pretty vicious.”
Harley Quinn fluctuates between funny and psychotic, sometimes leaning more on one of these sides (depending on which version you watch/read/play), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if this version has its own formula for Harley’s peculiar personality.
Joining Harley are Katana (Karen Fukuhara), a highly proficient hand-to-hand combatant and swordswoman, and Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), a powerful sorcerer. Fukuhara didn’t have to go the extra-mile when researching her character, as Katana's “samurai spirit” is something she has been “watching and learning about” her whole life. As for Delevingne, Ayer had a special request for her to get in character: “go into a forest under a full moon and take my clothes off to feel what nature felt like, to feel what it felt like to be an animal.”
Meanwhile, Viola Davis, who plays government official Amanda Waller - the one responsible of giving out the Squad’s orders - had to channel her inner “badass” as her character doesn’t have special powers or abilities like the Squad does, but her role is as important as theirs:
“‘How can I be a badass?’ I had to do it internally. Of course I wore my ‘fro. And I embraced her bio. That was all I had. I didn’t have a cape or a golden lasso.”
Suicide Squad marks the live-action film debut of Harley Quinn, Enchantress, and Katana – Amanda Waller previously appeared in Green Lantern, played by Angela Bassett, as well as on The CW's Arrow played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson. It will be interesting to see what Ayer’s approach to these characters was and how much they will differ not only from the comics but from their other iterations as well.
Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.