"Suicide Squad" hits theaters August 5, but in spite of its massive ensemble cast (an apparently tight-lipped bunch) and the fact that the release date is just weeks away, maddeningly little is known about the film or its plot. (The anticipation is enough to drive comic book movie fans to Joker-level insanity.)
Fortunately, Moviefone was able to peek behind the curtain to find out some of the Skwad's most closely guarded secrets. In June 2015, we joined a small group of reporters to tour the film's Toronto set, where we caught up with director David Ayer and stars Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), Jay Hernandez (El Diablo), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Killer Croc), and Karen Fukuhara (Katana). While plenty of topics were off limits (you'll have to wait to see how A.R.G.U.S. plays into the plot come August), we got plenty of inside scoop on the film nonetheless. Keep reading for 36 things we learned from the set of this summer's most-anticipated film.
From David Ayer:1. "Pretty much everything that happens [in 'Suicide Squad'] is true to the source material," Ayer said, though he declined to specify whether the source material is John Ostrander's original iteration of the Suicide Squad, the New 52, or other Joker comics. "I wanted to do sort of an amalgamation [of various source materials]," he added.
2. Not every member of the Suicide Squad has equal screen time, but the film is "an ensemble movie to a degree," said Ayer. "Everybody has their moment. Everybody has their day. Everybody has their story." Added the director, "It's an incredibly complex story with flashbacks and different convergent storylines and things like that. ... What I'm trying to do is have each character have their own trajectory and their own history and their own heart and their own need."
3.Jared Leto's Joker may be getting the most press, but "Suicide Squad" is really all about Will Smith's Deadshot. "It's really Will's movie in a lot of ways," said Ayer. "I kind of built it around him and his journey. His character's journey is a fantastic way to move the audience through this."
4. Enchantress plays a major (and majorly mysterious!) role in "Suicide Squad." "She leaves a large shadow across the scope of this film," said Ayer, who strived to be "intentionally vague" while discussing Cara Delevingne's alter ego. "She evolves over the course of [the film]," he added. "If you look at her origin, she emerges from this cavern, this cave ... Her storyline and her evolution as a character figure very importantly into this construct." Concluded the director: "I don't want to get more into her."
5. Batman is "freaking scary" in the new movie.
"All the Batman movies have been from Batman's point of view. He's the good guy. He's the hero of his own movie in all the movies we've seen," explained Ayer. "If you look at what Bruce Wayne has done in creating the Batman persona, his idea was to terrorize criminals. It's sort of psychological warfare against criminals: this wraith that comes in the night and attacks and culls criminals from society. For the first time, we're seeing Batman from the point of view of the criminals -- and he's freaking scary."
6. Ayer fought to include Batman in "Suicide Squad." "It's like, 'Come on, let me get the toys, please. Let me get the cool stuff,'" explained the director of his desire to include the DC hero in his film. "I begged for that. That was really, really something I wanted."
7. Ayer "absolutely" isolated Jared Leto from his "Suicide Squad" co-stars. "There's always a bit of social engineering that happens [as a director]," Ayer said. "I treat every actor differently according to their needs. When [Jared] shows up, he's very much kept in isolation. Then he shows up and you really feel the energy change. He's scary. He's a scary dude. He's in character. He's knocking it out of the park. He'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. What he's doing is really powerful."
8. Jared Leto and The Joker are not entirely dissimilar. "He understands how to drive a crowd," Ayer said of how the Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman is like his on-screen alter ego. "This guy isn't an introvert. This is an extroverted Joker. This is a Joker who really puts himself out in the world and is very socially adept and uses his presence. Jared is definitely drafting on his own abilities in that regard."
9. Jared Leto's Joker could be the most iconic iteration of the character yet. "I think people are going to be surprised, because even though there's some new visual elements to the Joker, when you see him on screen in aggregate as a character, I think it's going to be hard for anyone to ever imagine anyone else as the Joker," said Ayer, who acknowledged that the late Heath Ledger's version of the supervillain "is in a Pantheon."
Still, "that shouldn't preclude reinvention," said the director. "[The Joker is] the most iconic bad guy in any media. ... We came at it with an incredible respect for the history of The Joker. I've read every freaking comic. I grew up on the 'Batman TV' show, the Adam West TV show. Look at the incarnation of The Joker in that and how he has evolved. I don't think we should freeze him in ice and never let him evolve with us as we evolve as an audience."
10. Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is "freaking scary" too! "I'm kind of glad she's in stiletto heels because if she was in anything else, she would be even more scary," said Ayer, who referred to the villainess' tendency to use her attractiveness and sexuality as a weapon to disarm people as "visual judo to get what she wants." Added the director, "There's an intrinsic sort of wink and awareness that that's part of her game."
11. Ayer "cherry picked" El Diablo from the New 52 for the film. "There really haven't been too many opportunities for a Hispanic kind of villain/superhero comic book character, and he plays pretty important into this," the director explained of Jay Hernandez's alter ego. "That's something that's important to me, so I kind of cherry picked him to pull him into this."
12. There's a reason why the female members of the Suicide Squad are so scantly clad. "If you look at the aesthetic of comic books ... you have these hyper-masculine men and these very feminine women," said Ayer. "I don't think that it's a contradiction to say that a woman can be traditionally attractive and feminine and [also] very strong and very Type-A and very aggressive. I think that's something you build into the characters and I think it's a trope for the genre."
13. Ayer's Navy background prepared him for the secrecy of the DCEU. "I had a security clearance, so 'been there, done that' as far as dealing with classified material," said the director. "There are actually mechanisms in place. Nobody gets a hard copy of the script. Everybody works online. Everything's tracked. Everything's coordinated. It's a little rough just from the work-a-day sense because you can't have a bunch of paper stacked on your desk, but at the same time, I think it's valuable."
From Margot Robbie:14. The Joker and Harley Quinn have a codependent relationship. "It's like a compulsion -- like the way an alcoholic is compelled and needs to have a drink," said Robbie of her alter ego's affection for Jared Leto's supervillain. "It's an actual psychological problem, which codependency actually is in really severe cases."
15. Robbie used the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test, which psychologists use to diagnose mental illness, to help her understand The Joker.
"[Jared Leto] is a method actor, so he's in character all the time. And because he's got his facade up all the time, it was really hard for me to get through to him at first," said Robbie. "So I was like, 'OK, I really gotta take this as if I am trying to crack The Joker,' and ended up looking into the MMPI testings. ... So I spent a lot of time reading those, and then whenever we had time to rehearse or improvise, I'd just start with those questions -- some of them are basic and some of them are not -- and see which ones would catch him off guard and see how he'd react. Then I'd be like, 'OK, so I'm gonna go for this tact now.' It was just a lot of trial and error."
16. The scenes between Harley Quinn and The Joker are going to be "next level," according to Robbie. "I've never seen scenes like it before," she said. "People better brace themselves. It's really weird. They're a fascinating couple. Honestly, I find their stuff the most exciting out of everything. I'd watch a dialogue scene between them over, like, buildings blowing up and guns [shooting]."
17. Robbie has a love-hate relationship with Harley Quinn's stiletto boots. "To begin with, we were looking at wearing Docs [Dr. Martens boots] and flat shoes. Then we did the camera tests and it was pretty unanimous that, like, 'You'll look a lot better looking if you've got a bit of height.' So that's where the powers-that-be stepped in and voted on a pair of heels," said Robbie. "Then once I knew that it had to be a pair of heels, I was like, 'Right, well, I want the most badass looking ones.' So when I saw the Adidas, I was just like, 'They are SICK.' It all happened quite quickly, and before I knew it, I was like, 'OK, yeah, so that's the costume.' Then I walked around in them for a day, and I was like, 'That was the worst idea. Ever.'"
18. Robbie trained for six months to prepare for her role as Harley. "[It was] definitely by far the most intense training regime I've ever gone through," said the actress. "I started doing gymnastics. I started doing gun training and this and that. I can understand the technical side of how to do something: 'Oh, that's how you do a forward walkover or a handstand for 30 seconds?' But I didn't have the physical strength to allow myself to do those things -- even the gun training. If I've done gymnastics for an hour and a half and then I go straight to the gun range and I'm holding a revolver in my left hand just in case I need to shoot with two hands, my hands are shaking because my muscles are just so sore and not strong enough. But you have to be able to do that because on set, if you've got a close-up shot of the gun in the center -- in the foreground of the frame -- and it's shaking, you think, 'Harley doesn't know what she's doing. She doesn't look scary right now. She's definitely going to miss this shot.' So ironically enough, it was the more simple things that I had trouble with."
From Joel Kinnaman:
19. There will be a love scene between Kinnaman's Rick Flag and Cara Delevingne's Enchantress. "I had a scene with Cara, and it turned into this beautiful love scene," said Kinnaman. "Cara is both June Moon and Enchantress, so there's a love story between us." As for the details of their romance, "You have to see the movie," said the actor.
20. Kinnaman and co-stars Scott Eastwood and Alex Meraz trained with former Delta Force members for their roles in "Suicide Squad." "It's been really intense," Kinnaman said. "We actually had a three-day immersion training where we didn't sleep for 50 hours. We were out in the woods with weights in our backpacks. ... There's this quiet anger that you get from not sleeping for 50 hours."
21. Kinnaman gained 30 pounds in two months for his role as Rick Flag in "Suicide Squad." He also injured himself early in the training process. "I got injured a lot in the beginning of this," he said. "I was pushing myself a little too hard, I think."
22. Kinnaman got burned by multiple shell casing while shooting the biggest action sequence in "Suicide Squad." "I got four inside my shirt last night," he said. "I was really in a bad mood."
From Jay Hernandez:23. El Diablo's backstory is particularly heavy. "[He] killed a lot of people, including family members, and so I'm wrestling with that," said Hernandez of his alter ego. "It's part of the reason why I refused to fight for a long time because I sort of made a vow that I would never hurt anybody and would become, or try to become, a better person and not cause harm in the ways that I did in the past."
24. Hernandez shaved off his eyebrows for his role as El Diablo. "I have to shave my head and my eyebrows pretty much every day," said the actor, who also underwent four hours of fake tattoo application every time he filmed.
25. Hernandez almost drowned while shooting a scene in which El Diablo's prison cell is flooded with water. "It's a massive steel tube that fills up with water, and the entire thing fills up in a mater of seconds -- it's like five seconds, and it's gotta be like a thousand gallons or more," Hernandez said. "I'm trying to sell that I'm drowning, right? And I didn't really have to work too hard because I was almost drowning. ... The water actually went above the mark that it was supposed to stop at. Luckily there was an escape hatch."
From Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje:26. Killer Croc is a sculptor -- of cats. "It's how he expresses himself," said Akinnuoye-Agbaje. "He's very primal, carnal. He's a creature. And those felines, those are his brethren. So if he's making sculptures that reflect that, it may be a pet that he may have had when he was a child. ... After the battle he may sculpt people that he's taken down as symbols or trophies. He's very creative. That's another aspect that you're going to see in him. Just when you think you've got him pegged, he does something very surprising and makes these beautiful sculpted pieces.
27. Killer Croc was "tortured and abused by his childhood," according to Akinnuoye-Agbaje. "His aunt used to try to scrub the scales off of him," explained the actor. "He's always been ostracized and ridiculed for how he looks. What he's done is embrace that. Instead of saying 'I'm ugly,' he says, 'I'm beautiful.' Instead of going underground as if he's hiding, he says, 'This is my kingdom.' He's kind of reversed some of his childhood abuse into allowing him to become what he is, which is really the next threat to take over Gotham. That's really what his ultimate goal is. One of the reasons is probably because [he wants] power and respect but [also for] people to like him. And if you don't, you're going to have to if he's got power."
28. Akinnuoye-Agbaje studied alligators in the Everglades and Fort Lauderdale to prepare for his role as Killer Croc. He spent hours videotaping them and even went in the ring with one. "There's a tourist thing, and you can actually go in there," explained the actor.
29. Akinnuoye-Agbaje did weight training twice a day (for about four or five hours total) for six weeks to prepare for his role as Killer Croc. He also did fight training every afternoon and practiced calisthenics ("a lot of neck exercises and things like that," he said) to prepare himself for his character's crocodile prosthetics.
From Karen Fukuhara:
30. Katana will be much younger in the film adaptation of "Suicide Squad" than she is in the comic books. "She had a husband that passed away -- was murdered -- and she had two children," said Fukuhara of the original Katana, who's in her 30s. "I'm only 23, and I've never gone through the motherhood experience, so that was a little bit difficult to understand. In terms of the movie, that aspect is not entirely in it. It has a special place in my heart, but I never had to play it."
31. Katana will, in fact, address the souls trapped in her sword. "My husband Maseo is definitely in there," said Fukuhara. "There are a few moments when I have conversations with the sword. ... It's pretty much my husband in object form, so it's not weird at all for [Katana]."
32. Katana will have a strong rapport with Rick Flag. She also shares scenes with The Joker, but they're "supposed to be a secret," said Fukuhara. As for Enchantress, "I don't really encounter her until the very end, so there's not too much of a connection with her," added the actress.
33. Fukuhara is excited to get the action figure treatment. "I've never had something like that, so I hope she looks just as bad ass as she does in the comics -- and that there's a little taste of my face," said the actress. "I'm going to buy a couple, I'm sure," she added. "That might be a little creepy."
34. Fukuhara's "Suicide Squad" training consisted of two to three hours a day of fitness, martial arts and sword training.
35. Will Smith took his responsibility as a leader on set very seriously. "He's the class clown," Fukuhara said. "He makes a lot of great jokes and tells us his stories from his life. He's very approachable, which was something that was very surprising to me because I've never met someone so renowned. One time he had an injury somewhere on his leg ... and usually people don't train during that time, but he came in with his trainer and he was just working on his upper body where he could work out. He was saying, 'You know what? This is what it's going to take to make this movie. This is who I am. This is how I got here. I'm not gonna back down and take a break.' That was really inspiring to me because he pushed hard. Seeing someone like that push through the hardships was really, really cool."
36. Will Smith rapped the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme song on set. "That's just who he is," said Fukuhara. "Between takes, he'll just go for fun."
Figuring they're all expendable, a U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated supervillains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together. Dubbed Task Force X, the criminals unite to battle a mysterious and powerful entity, while the diabolical Joker (Jared Leto) launches an evil agenda of his own. Read More