We recently attended a press conference with the cast of Suicide Squad in New York. You can read our review of the film here. The cast and crew faced off against the press seated next to a replica of the Harley Quinn’s prison cell in the movie. As Will Smith (Deadshot) put it, “I’ve never been to a press conference like this.”
Joining Smith was Jared Leto (Joker), Margot Robbie (Harley), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Jai Courtney (Boomerang), Jay Hernandez (Diablo), Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje (Killer Croc), Cara Delevingne (Enchantress), Adam Beach (Slipknot), Karen Fukuhara (Katana), and David Ayer (writer/director).
What were the most challenging moments?
Margot Robbie: There were some mild injuries.
Will Smith: When you’re 47, no injuries are mild injuries. I tore my calf a couple of weeks in. What was terrible is, you do it doing nothing. I wasn’t doing anything. We were sparring and I stepped back to throw a shot and my calf popped. You could hear it. People could hear it. Everyone was like, “Ooh. That’s not good. Whatever that sound was is not a good sound.” The doctor told me I was down for six weeks. For a movie like this, six weeks can click off at a significant amount of money. I wasn’t going to pay for it. It was really scary to be in a position where I had this chance to be in Suicide Squad and maybe not be able to deliver the way I wanted to.
Smith [referring to Robbie]: What was the hardest part for you other than everything we had to do except you did it in heels?
Robbie: Yeah, that was tricky. I had less layers to hide padding and stuff for stunts.
The hardest part wasn’t the physical side. That was challenging, rewarding, and fun. The emotional stuff was definitely more difficult–exposing your more vulnerable side in front of a room full of strangers, at that point. That was incredibly hard. Trying to figure out the dynamic between Harley and Joker and why she was so devoted to this guy that tries to kill her occasionally.
How was it bringing in humanity and humor into the mayhem?
Jared Leto: David [Ayer] was really great because from the beginning, it was clear he wanted to do something different. He wanted to do something special. He wanted to make something we’d all be proud of. I could get the sense from him that he was willing to go to all lengths to get that. That was both a little scary but also really exciting. He’s not only the director, he’s the writer of the film. I was surprised by how much freedom he gave everybody to go completely f***in’ crazy.
Joel Kinnaman: No, that was just your experience. [laughter]
Leto: What I found that was really genius of David is he was always looking for the accident. He was always looking for the mistake. He would embrace that. With Margot and I, there was a lot of humor. There was a lot I found funny in a sick and twisted way. He was really wonderful.
How did the women prepare and connect with their characters?
Robbie: What was really helpful in filling in the gaps is we had an amazing resource with the comic books. There are still gaps in the backstory. I watched a couple of TED Talks on schizophrenia (and a bunch of other things). That really helped because the women that were doing the talks were so intelligent. They were wickedly intelligent but also psychotic.
Will Smith [to Viola Davis]: I really want to know how you connected with your character.
Viola Davis: Well, Joel gave me a book called Confessions of a Sociopath. I read that book extensively. It’s the confessions of a woman who’s a sociopath. One of the things I found out is a lot of CEOs of companies are sociopaths—people who have no guilt, if they cry it’s only because they feel they’re losing control. Also I tapped into Viola at age 8. I can’t tap into Violoa at 50. At 8, I could beat somebody’s ass. I could beat somebody’s ass because I was just always angry. People were always teasing me. I was always bullied. That was the first story I told David [Ayer] when I met him. There was a part of me that had to tap into that because, with women, with me, I’m always apologizing. I’m shy, I’m always retreating, I never tap into my power, and Amanda Waller is not that. She is unapologetically brutal.
Karen Fukuhara: When I first read the Katana comic, I immediately fell in love. I immediately felt like there was a part of her inside of me even though our personalities were so completely different. For me, the switch really happened when I put on the mask and wardrobe. That really helped me tap into the character.
Cara Delevingne: I had to find the opposite of [June Moone] and also the demon inside myself. I had to try to make that as real as possible and understand why someone would do something like [what she does].
David Ayer was asked about the diverse cast. Was it something he consciously set out to do?
Ayer: It’s the world I know. It’s the world we all live in. On screen, kids need to see people that look like them. It just comes naturally to me.
Suicide Squad opens in theaters on August 5.