NEW YORK — As Will Smith and his fellow “Suicide Squad” castmates gathered Sunday at the cavernous Moynahan Center in Manhattan, the actor admitted that even when he does serious roles, “I’m always trying to find where the funny is — in almost every situation. But with ‘Suicide Squad’ — despite its frequently dark moments — finding the funny in [director and writer] David Ayer’s script ideas wasn’t hard. I feel especially comfortable if there is some comic relief in most films. I’m always trying to find that. It’s where I begin with life in general, for that part.”
In the film, based on the DC Comics characters, Smith plays Deadshot, the incredibly accurate assassin-for-hire, who is incarcerated in the Belle Reve Federal Penitentiary — the prison designed to hold the “worst of the worst.” That insanely villainous group also includes Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) Slipknot (Adam Beach) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara). The thrust of the story centers on the plan hatched by the ruthless U.S. intelligence honcho Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to use these crazy criminals as a team to battle an increasingly menacing threat from a dangerous otherworldly spirit out to wreak global destruction.
As for that concept of “bad people doing good,” Smith noted that before they began filming, the cast got together with Ayer and “we talked about the movie not being about good versus evil, but about bad versus evil. In the story, I think all of our characters struggled with that — trying to stay tethered to what remains of our humanity. We’re the bad guys. We did some bad things — we get that. It’s thematically the center of the movie.”
Joined by Hernandez and Cara Delevingne (who portrays the double roles of Dr. June Moone and Enchantress — that world-destroying creature, trapped inside Moone’s body), Smith laughed when asked if — in real life — he was a pretty good marksman, given he plays Deadshot.
“For real? I’m pretty good. I’m sort of right there with Deadshot,” said Smith, as Hernandez quickly interjected, “With the exception of the shots you take at golf!”
Not surprisingly, Delevingne admitted that playing a double role — both the sweet and well-meaning Moone and the demonic Enchantress “was the dream of a lifetime — especially since both roles were so different,” added the actress.
One of the other key characters in “Suicide Squad” is The Joker, portrayed by Oscar-winner Jared Leto. The actor admitted completely transforming himself into the character “was the most fun I’ve ever had — and I’ve had a lot of great times in movies before. But this was really the role of a lifetime.”
As is frequently the case with Leto, the actor confirmed that again he stayed in character during his long days on the movie’s sets. “I had to. It was a good approach. to remain as focused and committed as possible to playing that guy. There’s so many things you can forget about, if you’re re on the side of the set between takes, talking about today’s football game — and then they yell, ‘Action!’ and you run over to your mark. You have to remember so much, so it seemed like a good idea to stay close to where my character was in the movie and in the process,” said Leto.
“Of course, I had to do it my own way, because the work that has been done before was so good,” Leto continued. “Jack Nicholson? Incredible. Cesar Romero was unforgettable. And, as for Heath Ledger — his Joker was perfection. What a perfect performance. What I got from those guys was a sense of fearlessness. and it really inspired me. I was grateful for that.”
The biggest challenge for Robbie, who plays the dual roles of psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel and the very edgy Harley Quinn, “was intimidating because we wanted to get it right for the fans of the DC Comics. Harley had to be fan-based, as far as I was concerned. I really wanted them to like what I did with her. I love her, so hopefully they will as well.”
As for the lengthy process Robbie went through with “Suicide Squad” production and costume designers, the actress said, “It wouldn’t make sense to have a polished look for her when the world David [Ayer] created was so gritty and real. What made it click for me: I saw a picture of Debbie Harry back in the day — and said, ‘That’s it. She’s a bad— chick, who doesn’t give a s—.'”