Director James Gunn speaks during an online press conference of the film “The Suicide Squad,” Monday. Courtesy of Warner Bros.
By Lee Gyu-lee
About five years after DC Comics’ “Suicide Squad” found box office success in 2016, the super-villain team-up is back for the reboot, “The Suicide Squad,” featuring more action, bloodshed and violence with a touch of humor.
The latest outing, which shares some of the characters from the previous film, follows yet another team of super-villains forced to complete a dangerous mission by the government.
Led by mercenary Bloodsport (Idris Elba) who can make anything into a weapon, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Peacemaker (John Cena), King Shark (voiced by Sylvester Stallone), Ratcatcher II (Daniela Melchior), Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) team up for a mission to destroy a secretive bioweapon research facility on a remote island in South America.
“I love the action and adventure in the movie, and I love the comedy. But really to me, at its core, this is the movie about a core group of characters who have been unable to connect to other people in this world,” the film’s director James Gunn said during an online press conference, Monday.
The director noted that the film is a story about “misfits.” With each super-villain having their own backstory, the squad starts to open up to each other, inviting a glimmer of goodness as they carry out the mission.
“It was just a story that appealed to me about a group of outcasts and misfits who made a lot of bad decisions in their lives. But then maybe have an opportunity for some small amount of redemption,” he said.
“Where I grew up as a child I wasn’t considered a normal child. I felt like an outcast like a lot of people in this world do. So I feel as if that’s who I naturally gravitate towards as characters: those who feel like they are on the outside of the world looking in, and don’t feel as if they belong, and perhaps find some ways of belonging along the path.”
Poster for the film “The Suicide Squad” / Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The director also has experience leading Marvel Studio movies, notably the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series. When asked the difference between directing Marvel’s superhero films and a DC super-villain film, he said he had a little more creative freedom with DC thanks to the film’s R-rating.
“I felt more creative freedom here simply because it was an R-rated movie. And DC was looking to shake things up, and (trying to) do something different with no rules whatsoever. So they sort of encouraged the fun insanity of this movie,” he said. “Disney gives creative freedom too, but it’s just about making a family movie versus for older audiences, teenagers and above.”
The director expressed the commercial success of the previous film didn’t pressure him much as he enjoyed making the film.
“The reason I chose to make this film was that I was a fan of the original comic books by John Ostrander and I thought I could make a really different film. I knew it would be different for me, for DC and different than the first film,” he said, adding that he didn’t want this movie to copy the previous film. “I just wanted this movie to be fully itself … (the previous film) wasn’t that big an influence on me in that respect.”
A scene from the movie / Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Adding that he wanted the movie to show the essence of how tent-pole films should attract viewers, he said he wanted to infuse Korean blockbuster films’ mix of genres into the work.
“To be completely honest, I wanted to be able to infuse some of the beautiful magic that’s in a lot of South Korean films to American films. In South Korea, they are able to blend genres in such a way and take such giant risk with big movies,” he said.
“And to be able to bring some of that type of feeling into a movie like The Suicide Squad was really important to me. Because I feel like American action movies, big spectacle films, start to become too similar to each other. And to be able to make a movie that’s different … To me, that was a great deal of what I wanted to do with the film in terms of when I was offered it.”