Landing a job working on a Hollywood blockbuster must seem like a dream come true for most people, but reports from the set of the PG-13 rated Suicide Squad suggest that this couldn't be further from the truth.
When actors on the set of David Ayer's super villain ensemble weren't threatening to pepper spray each other or send used condoms as deranged gifts, the cast were also scared to perform their own stunts and were even freaked out by Jared Leto too. However, all of that pales in comparison to what Ayer himself put the actors through.
In a recent interview with Fox, the majority of Suicide Squad's central cast discussed the extreme strategies that Ayer used to draw intense performances out of them all, likening this ability to some kind of sadistic superpower that made the set feel more like Belle Reve than Hollywood. Don't believe us? Check out some of the hardcore tactics Ayer used to elicit seriously dark performances from each member of the Squad.
How Did Ayer Draw An Enchanting Performance Out Of Cara Delevingne?
Apparently, Ayer tended to pick on Delevingne less than some of the other cast members, but when he did gun for Cara, the director didn't pull any punches. For one particular scene in Suicide Squad, Ayer gave some rather unusual and slightly horrifying instructions;
"He had a different approach to all of us... He said 'imagine you've just woken up. You blacked out last night. You look at your phone and you find pictures of you molesting a child. Action!'... And that was the shot."
Sure, the Suicide Squad is full of psychopathic villains, so it makes sense to force the actors to imagine themselves committing similar atrocities — but we're pretty sure they don't teach that approach in film school.
Deadshot Struggled To Stay Deadpan
There's a scene in Suicide Squad where Colonel Flagg hands Deadshot a pile of over 50 letters written by his daughter, which he'd held secretly during the assassin's incarceration. Deadshot is understandably surprised at the big reveal, but Ayer found a unique way to make Will Smith's expression more genuine, giving him the following instructions;
"Hey, [Flagg] just put a foetus on the table... action!"
Even an experienced performer like Smith was taken aback by Ayer's direction, but the cast managed to laugh it off, explaining that they didn't need to act much on the set of Suicide Squad as Ayer did all of the work for them.
Rick Was Flagged Down By Numerous Insults
Directors tend to encourage their actors, commending them on a job well done, but Ayer isn't like most filmmakers. Reports suggest that Joel Kinnaman was subjected to more extreme methods than most, to the point where Ayer even enlisted fellow cast member Viola Davis to hurl abuse towards Kinnaman.
From behind the camera, Davis would rile Kinnaman up during takes, shouting insults at him while in character as Rick Flag;
"Hey Joel! Hey Flagg, you little bitch!"
Some actors could struggle with this constant bombardment of insults, but Kinnaman remained professional throughout, using the direction to fuel his character rather than let it bruise his ego.
Killer Croc Is Afraid Of Mice
At a height of 6′ 2″, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is hardly a pushover — but even he admits that Ayer's approach to filming Suicide Squad was tough at times. Each day, the main cast would train intensely for three to four hours in boot camp, followed by rehearsals where each actor would share their most intimate secrets.
Initially the cast were led to believe that these revelations were being shared in a safe space, but once they all stepped out in front of the camera, Ayer used each of these secrets to elicit the reactions he wanted.
For example, when Akinnuoye-Agbaje was three years old, he didn't have a bed and had to sleep on the floor, where mice would crawl over him. The experience traumatised the young actor at the time, so naturally, Ayer decided to exploit this experience while filming, giving these specific instructions to Killer Croc;
"'We're coming in, we don't know who's there, but give me a look like there's a million little mice crawling all over you".
That's not all the trauma that Akinnuoye-Agbaje endured on set though. Rather than use CGI to create Killer Croc's unique aesthetic, the team behind Suicide Squad decided to use real prosthetics and make-up which took three to five hours to apply, starting at 3am each morning. Adewale would then perform for twelve hours in the costume, which took a further two hours to remove at the end of a gruelling day's filming.
Despite having to deal with Ayer's rather extreme approach to filmmaking and the occasional nausea-inducing helicopter sequence, the cast of Suicide Squad recount each of these anecdotes with a surprising amount of fondness and grace, revealing a sense of camaraderie from behind the scenes. This stands in direct contrast to reports from the set of Ayer's previous movie Fury, where the actors likened their time behind the scenes to root canal surgery, but perhaps he's began to soften his approach somewhat.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see if the intense atmosphere on set paid off when the final cut of the film hits theatres in a few days time, but if the trailers are anything to go by, Suicide Squad could be the best superhero movie of the year. After all, no other movie released in 2016 has Harley Quinn in it.
Did David Ayer take things too far on the set of Suicide Squad?
Source via Fox