As they say, it's better to burn out than fade away. That's an idea proven by Adam Beach's turn as 'Slipknot' in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, clearly giving up his time in the spotlight to the bigger and more well-known DC Comics stars of the film. To the casual viewer, Slipknot may seem like a lower-level villain, best known for punching out an FBI agent, and ascending a rooftop with his signature rope/grapnel launcher. But the actor in the role has a lot more to offer.
When we got the opportunity to speak with Beach at the film's premiere, the man referred to by the film's producers as "one of the nicest human beings on planet Earth" discussed the love of society for the 'bad guy,' how heroes can get boring, and a bit more about his bombshell reveal that his character was actually captured in battle with Wonder Woman.
If a movie fan were to conduct some research on the film's cast, no character would seem more different from the page to the screen than Slipknot, completely re-imagined by Ayer and company. And, in a film - and film universe - that has emphasized diversity, the decision was made to cast another actor of color in a traditionally white role (Beach being Canadian First Nations). Beach explained to us that Ayer's decision to take "a white, Jewish chemist and makee him a Native American" allowed him to "wear my pride on my sleeve." Even if the character is a murderous assassin (which Beach isn't).
He went on to offer his own definition of what a "villain" really is, in the light of a movie making such a group their cast of heroes:
"A villain is a misfit who has special talents and they do it well [smiles]. Nowadays we love villains… we get bored of superheroes being untouchable and here we can explore villains [and] human nature. Everybody loves a bad guy, right? Yeah, there is a fascination with the villains in comics. And we are lucky to be the first to represent that [on the big screen] and put a twist to it."
The twist, as explained by Beach, was the revelation that 'bad guy' or not, these people still have fears, weaknesses, and their own demons to overcome - all things making them even more complex than your average hero. And instead of making it all up, Ayer was apparently just as willing to bring the cast's actual experiences into the larger-than-life characters they played:
"David allows us to bring trauma to the table that formed a trust and a bond with everybody. It was great, because when everyone turned it on, they became their characters. Like Harley, when she started the voice Margot [did], I was like 'Where’d she get that from?' It is amazing. It’s very bubble gum. And Killer Croc, the guy reeks evil. It’s scary. And Jai Courtney is just like fly-off-the-wall, tumbling everywhere you can go. It’s funny as hell."
Beach since revealed another tale from the film set, when David Ayer asked him to give his idea of what Slipknot was up to before being captured and thrown into the Squad. His answer? Strangling Wonder Woman, obviously. His decision to single out the other rope-wielding icon of DC Comics was no coincidence, since Beach told us his one hope for Slipknot would be the chance to see whose lassos and knots are really the best in the DCEU:
"Man, I would just love to see him become more involved in battling Wonder Woman. I joke about it, but that would be kind of a cool battle because I have unbreakable ropes and so does she…. I want to see him battling Wonder Woman and tying her up and seeing whose ropes are better."
Fans can keep their fingers crossed that Slipknot will get the chance... but we don't think his odds are that good.
Suicide Squad is in theaters now. Wonder Woman opens on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 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. The Flash and Batman solo movie are currently without release dates.