Many movies have been forced to deal with the heavy hands of studio interference, but few were meddled with quite as publicly as Suicide Squad. When the antihero ensemble was first announced, the man behind Harsh Times, Street Kings and End of Watch seemed like the ideal choice to direct a movie all about the bad guys, but it would be an understatement to say that David Ayer’s creative vision was heavily compromised.
Having already been faced with a rushed pre-production schedule, Ayer was then forced into heavy reshoots when Warner Bros. wanted the tone of the movie to reflect the well-received first trailer, and at one stage there were even two separate cuts of Suicide Squad being assembled to see which one would gain the studio’s seal of approval.
A huge amount of footage ended up being left on the cutting room floor, and Ayer hasn’t exactly been shy in voicing his opinions about the restrictions that he was under in getting the movie finished on time. When you watch Suicide Squad, it bears all the fingerprints of studio interference, with characters and subplots that either feel half-baked or abandoned entirely.
In a recent Twitter exchange with a fan, Ayer responded to criticism about Suicide Squad’s apparent overly-sexualized depiction of Harley Quinn, and how differently the character was presented in Birds of Prey. The filmmaker responded with brutal honesty, saying that her arc was “eviscerated” due to political reasons (aka studio interference).
Sadly her story arc was eviscerated. It was her movie in so many ways. Look I tried. I rendered Harley comic book accurate. Everything is political now. Everything. I just want to entertain. I will do better. https://t.co/8s4fewsBRH
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) April 11, 2020
Not only has Ayer apologized for reducing Harley to nothing but glorified eye candy, but claiming that the movie was originally intended to be her story indicates just how badly his plans for Suicide Squad were affected by bowing down to Warner Bros.’ studio-mandated requests.