With so many comic book movies on the rise and only so many actors and actresses in the running, some strange combinations were to be expected. Take, for instance, Will Smith and Margot Robbie, currently doing the promotional rounds in the lead-up to the release of their stylish caper film Focus. And in just a few months' time, the pair will once again be sharing the screen in Warner Bros. and DC Comics' Suicide Squad.
The proposition of Smith and Robbie playing DC villains Deadshot and Harley Quinn, respectively, may somewhat overshadow their upcoming feature - but may just as likely attract the attention of curious comic fans looking for a sneak peek at what to expect from director David Ayer's supervillain team-up. Whatever the case, the pair of actors are finally opening up about the film's cast, and the work they're undertaking to get into shape for their roles.
Smith and Robbie were just two of the wide range of talent officially announced for Suicide Squad, beginning with writer/director David Ayer's signing off the success of his WWII tank film Fury, and later adding Jared Leto's new Joker and Viola Davis all but signed to bring DC mastermind Amanda Waller to life in multiple films. But the first speed bump came when Tom Hardy - set to play the Squad's commanding officer, Rick Flag - departed the project.
Rumors of Hardy's dissatisfaction with Ayer's script (and his decreased role in it) were sure to quickly follow, and those hungry for controversy saw Jake Gyllenhaal's decision to pass on the role as even more cause for concern. Speaking with USA Today while promoting Focus, Robbie claims that the reports - and reactions - were perhaps less than accurate:
"This happens all the time. People act like, 'Oh my god, the movie must be ending!' It's just the deal with movies... A lot of the characters haven't been portrayed before so it's a pretty big undertaking. And it's a big undertaking for the people who are going to play the characters who have been played, like the Joker. It's big shoes to fill.
"It's almost impossible to get a movie all together when there are two main cast members, let alone an ensemble cast with everyone's schedules. It's crazy if it works out."
Smith, also on hand for the interview, adds even more insight. According to him, reports that Hardy's departure in early January came after he was delivered the script - and Mad Max: Fury Road conflicts were used as a cover story - were equally misleading. Smith states that Ayer had "turned the screenplay in before Christmas," and that the holiday break was potentially as much of a factor in Hardy's decision than the quality of the script or role:
"What happens is Hollywood shuts down. But [Ayer] was still working and he wanted to (start shooting) April 13th. So it takes a couple weeks to gear back up at the top of the year and people have taken (other) movies. He's moving really quickly."
It's not very often that an actor provides some of the first insights into a film's development, but Smith's role behind the scenes of Suicide Squad has been the subject of some interesting reports of late. First came word that Smith was personally urging Warner Bros. to do whatever it took to get Viola Davis on board - and who could blame him. Now, Smith explains in the interview that "we've still got to get it right" when it comes to Hardy's replacement.
In the time since Hardy and Gyllenhaal passed, actors like Joel Edgerton and Jon Bernthal have been rumored for the part, alongside even more famous DC Comics figures limited to cameo appearances. All sources seem to imply that Smith's Deadshot and Robbie's Harley Quinn will be carrying much of the film - as it should be (surprisingly, 'Rick Flag' is nowhere near as popular a character among cosplayers).
Neither Smith nor Robbie have faced much recent criticism over their physique (both looking to be put on full display in Focus), but the challenge of playing a comic book villain - and violent ones, at that - calls for heightened dedication to fitness. As the acrobatic, hammer-swinging Harley Quinn, Robbie is apparently focusing her time on strength training. Though Smith's role as assassin Deadshot isn't known for showing of skin, the actor claims he's already getting into comic book shape:
Smith: Oh god yes. I started before Christmas. No carbs on Christmas! It was terrible.
Robbie: Oh, I ate everything on Christmas. I'm not strong though. To do all your own stunts you have to be so strong.
The physical demands of the roles were never in question, given that one is a nearly-invincible killing machine and the other a borderline-psychotic gymnast. But it's surprising to hear that Robbie intends to do at least some of her own stunts, since there are few things that Harley Quinn does... subtly. Fans may be more interested in Robbie nailing Harley's signature accent than removing the need for a stunt double, but it's promising all the same.
What do you think of Smith and Robbie's update on the casting and development to this point? Are you still more excited than concerned for Suicide Squad's ensemble cast? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Suicide Squad will be in theaters on August 5, 2016.
Source: USA Today
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