Suicide Squad’s behind-the-scenes secrets reveal what went wrong

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2016 15:46 IST
Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman and director of Suicide Squad, David Ayer on set.

What was meant to be their saviour might turn out to be their nemesis. Suicide Squad, Warner Bros’ supervillain team-up film set in their DC Extended Universe, has been critically panned, and a revealing new report in The Hollywood Reporter , THR, chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama suggests that we shouldn’t be as shocked as we are.

“Suicide Squad boasts a talented cast and a little more humour than previous DCEU efforts, but they aren’t enough to save the disappointing end result from a muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing,” reads Rotten Tomatoes’ critics consensus. The film currently rests at a dismal 31% on the review aggregator site, just a shade above Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s 27% - for a film that was supposed to course correct the derailed DC Universe, things are looking quite bleak.

Read: Ban Rotten Tomatoes! Negative Suicide Squad reviews make fans really angry

A rushed production, competing cuts, lengthy reshoots, tonal issues and an untested director are blamed for Suicide Squad’s troubles in Kim Masters’ report for THR.

Director David Ayer with Margot Robbie. (Clay Enos)

Troubled productions aren’t uncommon in Hollywood. The most notorious recent example is Fox’s Fantastic Four, whose director very publicly feuded with the studio before rejecting the final film. Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is also facing its own problems.

Read: To hell and back: Movies that survived chaotic productions

Read: Fantastic Four: Josh Trank disowns his disastrous movie

Warners’ production president Greg Silverman says, “This was an amazing experience. We did a lot of experimentation and collaboration along the way. But we are both very proud of the result. This is a David Ayer film, and Warners is proud to present it.”

But others close to the production told Masters otherwise. “Kevin (Tsujihara, Warner Bros. chief) was really pissed about the damage to the brand,” one source told Masters about the Batman v Superman disaster.

David Ayer directs Viola Davis, who plays Amanda Waller in the film. (Clay Enos)

“(Ayer) wrote the script in like, six weeks, and they just went,” another person close to the film said, referring to its rushed schedule.

Read: Oh no, Suicide Squad is as grim as BvS and everyone’s panicking

A key issue with the film was its tone. The trailers presented an entirely different film to the one Ayer made. This made Warners hire a different edit team to create an alternate cut after extended reshoots took place a few months ago. “If there are multiple opinions that aren’t in sync, you go down multiple tracks — two tracks at least,” said an insider. “That was the case here for a period of time, always trying to get to a place where you have consensus.”

Read: First Suicide Squad reviews are in. It’s grim. David Ayer has responded

Read: Will Smith, Cara Delevigne react to those ‘horrific’ Suicide Squad reviews

But another source painted a different, more volatile picture. “(There was) a lot of panic and ego instead of calmly addressing the tonal issue.”

Director David Ayer fired his long-time agency and rehired them the next day during Suicide Squad.

Initial box office predictions put the film at a $125-140 million opening weekend. “The movie’s got to do $750 million, $800 million to break even. If they get anywhere close to that, they’ll consider it a win,” said an industry veteran to THR.

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