It's been no secret to those following DC Comics movie adaptation closely that Suicide Squad appeared to be a likely candidate for one of the studio's upcoming (but unannounced) releases. The film was reportedly planned to enter development before Batman V Superman stole the studio's momentum, but new reports claim that the film isn't just moving forward, but Warner Bros. already has their eye on a director: David Ayer, the mind behind the Brad Pitt-led WWII tank film, Fury.
The report comes from Variety, who claim sources have stated that Suicide Squad is most definitely one of the mystery projects with an announced release date before 2020. In addition, the studio views Ayer as the right man for the job, although no details are available on what stage the deal is in, if it has indeed been offered.
While not particularly shocking, this report is encouraging news for a number of reasons. We've already laid out the evidence that WB and DC have been moving toward a Suicide Squad film for some time - and the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham was essentially a test run for the team - but Ayer brings more than just experience dealing with an "outnumbered team behind enemy lines."
For those unfamiliar with the "Suicide Squad" comic history (or the version recently seen on The CW's Arrow), suffice to say a film adaptation would need to be fairly - for lack of a better word - 'gritty' to stay true to the source material. Following a team of former villains pressed into military service, the group of murderers, hired killers and all-around oddballs are forced to tackle missions almost guaranteed to cost them their lives. With the likes of Joker's 'girlfriend' Harley Quinn, hired assassin Deadshot and the humanoid King Shark, the film has (understandably) seemed risky.
When news of the film being put on hold broke, we speculated that Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (a film centered on strange, non-traditional anti-heroes) could prove the property's potential. Whether or not that's the case, the added word that DC and WB were looking to release a number of smaller-budget comic book films alongside their Justice League blockbusters made the Squad a no-brainer.
Given Ayer's work directing crime films like Harsh Times, Street Kings and End of Watch, there's no doubt he possesses the 'edginess' fans would hope for. But it's his writing work that may get comic book fans excited: besides Fury, Ayer penned the scripts for Training Day, U-571 and more. There's no word on whether Ayer would be re-writing Justin Marks' (Top Gun 2, The Jungle Book) script, but it's hard to imagine Ayer wouldn't make some changes.
Ayer's talent for writing (and directing) ensemble casts that tend to operate outside the limits of traditional law enforcement likely brought him to WB's attention - but the $80 million budget for Fury may not be the best indication of what to expect from a Suicide Squad movie. In fact, Fury seems the exception to Ayer's usual style of filming straightforward, grounded action - something comic book movie fans might see as a welcome change of pace.
Whatever version of the team is most likely to be adapted, one thing is clear: a Suicide Squad movie potentially penned by the mind behind Training Day, and directed with an eye for pull-no-punches, grounded action; that's something few fans had expected. Until official word arrives, though, anything is possible.
What do you think of this news? Is a writer/director like Ayer the kind of talent you would like to see handle the Suicide Squad, or did you have a different style in mind? We'll keep you updated on the truth to this report as more information arrives.
Fury opens in theaters on October 17th, 2014, for those curious to see what may lie in store for a Suicide Squad adaptation.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for all your Suicide Squad updates, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.