Suicide Squad is set to be one of the most unique superhero movies made, not because it stars villains in the lead roles, but because Suicide Squad has a behind-the-scenes story that has become the stuff of legend. To make David Ayer's vision come to life, the cast and crew behind Suicide Squad endured what could be the strangest shoot a superhero movie ever went through. From questionable gifts to method acting that would disturb Daniel Day-Lewis, here are the strangest stories from the set of Suicide Squad.
1. Murderous Lessons
Suicide Squad stars professional killers and full-fledged psychos and while it's obvious that the movie's cast are nowhere near as villainous as the characters they portray, David Ayer did everything he could to get his actors as close as possible to their respective role's disturbed personalities.
To achieve this, he made the movie's professional characters — Deadshot (Will Smith) and Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) — educate themselves on what is was like to be someone who killed for a living. When Will Smith was given a book written by an FBI profiler that discussed the psyche of criminal intent, Joel Kinnaman was made to watch classified military footage that the actor could only describe as "horrific shit."
2. The Inner Shitbag
Jai Courtney, who is typecast as the franchise-killing-hunk-next-door, was given permission by David Ayer to be an all-around asshole after he was told to channel his "inner shitbag" to create Captain Boomerang, both visually and mentally.
In complete contrast to the comic villain's look and the Divergent star's clean-cut persona, the movie version of Captain Boomerang has a more rugged look, and this was accomplished by having David Ayer pick up some clippers right before going ballistic on Jai Courtney's beard. As if that was not enough, Jai Courtney then went the extra mile by talking to David Ayer on Skype while under the influence of magic mushrooms, all the while putting out cigarettes on his arm during their online conversation.
3. The Walking Horror Movie
Longtime Batman villain Killer Croc has been described as a monstrous cannibal, but his recent portrayals only hint at it or outright ignore his desire for human flesh. This will not be the case for Suicide Squad. Actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje did extensive research on cannibal cultures and also had a documentary of real-life cannibal Issei Sagawa play while he was having his extensive make-up applied just to get into Killer Croc's mindset.
The actor has also said that the "Croc" part of Killer Croc's name was taken seriously. To emphasize Killer Croc's animal side, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje watched documentaries of crocodiles and incorporated their body language into his portrayal of the reptilian Squad member, meaning even the way he walks and breathes will be taking the character's predatory namesake in more than just a literal sense.
4. Mr. J's Shenanigans
Jared Leto's take on the Joker is possibly the most hyped element in Suicide Squad and even before the trailers hit the internet, stories surrounding the latest cinematic version of Batman's arch-nemesis put the movie in the spotlight. The stories were too outlandish for some that skeptics thought it was just a sick marketing ploy used to build interest in the movie.
The Joker is known for his sadistic sense of humor which, according to the cast and crew, Jared Leto brought in and out of shooting. From sending the cast disturbing gifts — like a rat, bullets and a dead pig — to taking some time off in a prison and an asylum just to name a few, Jared Leto would gain the ire and morbid admiration of his co-stars through his antics. His mischief even got to the point where he pissed off social media after giving condoms to the cast and even actress Viola Davis (Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad) threatened to use pepper spray on "Mr. J" if need be.
5. Black Magic
One of the weirdest characters of Suicide Squad is Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and it seems fitting that the actress had to go through one of the movie's strangest casting processes to get the role.
According to Cara Delevingne, she repeatedly read scenes from the classic black comedy play Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? until she felt like killing someone to convince David Ayer that she was the perfect fit for Enchantress. But even after pulling it off, David Ayer suggested that she get naked in a forest during a full moon just to channel more of the character's otherworldly connections.
And in case you were wondering, she did exactly as David Ayer suggested.
6. On-Set Mental Help
Every movie has professionals helping the creators depict certain things as realistically as possible, but few potential blockbusters hire both psychiatrists and detectives to help with the character conception.
With the combined stress of the actors playing mentally disturbed villains and Jared Leto having too much fun as the Joker, David Ayer got his psychiatrist friend to make sure the cast didn't go overboard with their portrayals. While the psychiatrist was meant to keep the actors in check, David Ayer had a detective keep them on edge at all times, interrogating them on a regular basis as if they were really convicted felons.
7. Friendship Is Hardcore
Heartwarming stories of ensemble casts getting along are common but not every one of them begins with a fistfight, which was the case for Suicide Squad.
When the cast first got together, David Ayer made everything as awkward and hostile as possible by asking them uncomfortable personal questions and even letting them get into both verbal and physical fights because according to the director, "You learn a lot about who a person really is when you punch them in the face." Case in point, Viola Davis was instructed by the director to openly insult Joel Kinnaman whenever she got the chance.
While unconventional for a superhero movie, this violent take on team dynamics seems to have paid off with the trailers showing off tight chemistry between the characters and the cast genuinely loving their time on set, calling themselves a "bizarre family."