Suicide Squad Cast Talk About How Far David Ayer Pushed Them

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Apparently, working on a movie with director David Ayer is far from a walk in the park. Just ask the cast of Suicide Squad, who recently spoke with EW for the magazine’s cover spread about their experience working with the filmmaker on the upcoming DC Comics adaptation. Both Will Smith, who plays Deadshot, and Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn, mentioned the unusual tactics the director employed on set.

First up was Smith, who mentioned how Ayer “grabbed their deepest emotional issues” during the rehearsal process:

“They were technically rehearsals, but not really. It was much more about David spending time going through everyone’s lives, connecting our life experiences to our character’s life experiences and finding those parallels. What we didn’t realize was what he does in the process is he learns our buttons. We are really bonding but David is grabbing all of your deepest emotional issues so he can throw them back in your face on set.”

Robbie added to that as well, mentioning that the director made them all go to a “pretty vulnerable place” while on set:

“It was a pretty vulnerable place to go. He wants to know about your personal history and your relationships and your childhood, things like that that you don’t really want to tell a stranger.” She then added, “Then you have to share that with the rest of your squad as well. I really didn’t like that.”

What does Ayer have to say about all of this, you ask? Well, according to him, he thinks what he’s doing builds trust amongst his cast:

“Acting is very lonely. I don’t think people realize how much these people live out of suitcases and just show up.” He then added, “If you can give them a sense of connection and family and build support around them, then you get the trust. I think trust drives performance. It can’t be [comfortable.] You’ve got to open up. Actors are super cagey. ‘I’m not going to let you see any of my tools until I get to set and then I’m going to surprise you because they are so awesome.’ [My approach is more], ‘No, No. Let’s burn through the tool box now and start making some new tools.’”

Between this and some of the other stories we’ve heard emerge from the set of the film (like Jared Leto’s unusual method acting, or how Ayer made some of the cast members punch each other), it’s clear that production on Suicide Squad was definitely quite different from that of most other Hollywood blockbusters.

Whether that will ultimately turn out to be a good or bad thing for the film remains to be seen, but we’d be lying if we said we aren’t beyond eager at this stage to see what Ayer and his cast have come up with here.

August 5th can’t come soon enough, folks.