It has only been hours since Warner Bros. set comic fans spinning by revealing their entire slate of DC Comics films, including confirmation that Suicide Squad from director David Ayer (Fury) would release in 2016, hot on the heels of Batman V Superman. With a director hot off a much-buzzed-about film, the claim that the studio is aiming for "A-List stars" made sense. But now that details have surfaced on just which stars WB is meeting with, it's clear even high hopes weren't too far off.
The new information comes from THR, whose sources claim that Ryan Gosling - currently exploring the idea of portraying a big-budget hero like Doctor Strange - is also being sought after by Warner Bros. to not only appear in the film, but lead it. Ryan Gosling's name being tossed around as a potential superhero is nothing new, but with Will Smith, Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) and Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) also included on the film's shortlist, any notions that Suicide Squad would be small-scale in any sense have all but evaporated.
It's impossible to tell how close any of the actors may be to signing, currently claimed to be "fielding offers." If that's the case, then it may be just how much Warner Bros. is willing to commit - and the longevity of the Suicide Squad brand they're aiming for - that becomes the deciding factor.
THR points out Gosling's recent history with WB shouldn't be discounted, but a lengthy commitment was cited as one of the main reasons Gosling removed himself from the running for Green Lantern (what are the odds his feelings have changed, and could be discussing a role in the 2020 reboot as well?). The other stars aren't likely to confirm or deny, so with a clear desire for a rising actress and physically imposing leading men, the question becomes: which characters are in the works?
Going by the rumored cast that was reported recently - Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Vixen as the co-leads, joined by Blockbuster, Jaculi, Mindboggler and Multiplex - some likely choices emerge immediately. There are few characters that would be a better fit for Gosling than Deadshot a.k.a. Floyd Lawton, a cynical assassin of few words who quickly emerges as the Squad's de facto leader (again, assuming he's being pursued for a non-Green Lantern role).
With Tom Hardy preparing for potential franchises in Mad Max: Fury Road and Splinter Cell, his physique seems best put to use in a supporting role, particularly the super-strong (and slightly dim) Blockbuster. But what to make of Will Smith or Margot Robbie, who will next be seen sharing the screen in Warner Bros.' Focus is another matter entirely.
Some fans may take one look at Robbie's blonde hair and assume that David Ayer has his sights set on Harley Quinn (a key player in DC's newest incarnation of the Squad). But the Joker's confidant was notably absent from the rumored roster; meaning unless the studio has changed its stance (possible, since a bigger-budget action film seems a better fit for Harley's debut than the small-scale film this was once assumed to be), it's another role the Aussie actress is being eyed for.
Going by the rumored members, the answer seems simple enough: Vixen, a woman able to channel the abilities of wild animals (Robbie), and Captain Boomerang, a Flash villain using boomerangs as his weapon of choice (Smith). If that's the case, then it's safe to expect some changes to the origin story, given how important Mari Jiwe McCabe's African heritage is to both her identity and the totem that grants her abilities.
There's also the chance that Will Smith, Tom Hardy and Ryan Gosling could be competing for the lead role, since Smith candidly revealed that he passed on Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained since he wasn't going to be the hero of the story. If that's the case, then the rest of the cast is wide open.
We'll keep you updated as more details surface, but for now, would you be happy to see one of these top-tier talents join the DC Comics movie universe on the villainous side? Share your thoughts (and additional casting hopes) in the comments.
Suicide Squad will be in theaters on August 5, 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for Suicide Squad updates, as well as TV movie and gaming news.