When the press visited the filming of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel and director James Gunn went to great lengths to mislead them about the true identity of Kurt Russell’s character. On the tray, clues were planted to convince the press that Kurt Russell was playing J’son, who is the father of Peter Quill in the original Marvel comics. Only with the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 dropped that it was revealed that Russell was actually playing Ego the Living Planet. Likewise, the true identity of Idris Elba’s character in The Suicide Squad has been kept a secret from reporters visiting the film set in 2019, with planted clues qualifying his role as a completely different character.

I was part of the press that visited the Atlanta shoot of The Suicide Squad in November 2019 and one of the big questions was who played Idris Elba. Once it was clear Will Smith was not reprising his role as Deadshot for the sequel, writer-director James Gunn took a look at a few different DC Comics characters – and even an entirely original invention – before settling in Blood sport, an obscure comic book character from the 1980s best known for shooting Superman with a kryptonite bullet, which The latest trailer for The Suicide Squad acknowledges. But in the production room of the Pinewood Atlanta backlot, Elba’s character was called Vigilante. Even some of the production staff we spoke with on the filming tour called him Vigilante.

Vigilante is a completely different character from 1980s DC Comics – several different characters named Vigilante, In reality. While Gunn ultimately opted for Bloodsport, he ended up cast of Chris Conrad as Vigilante / Adrian Chase in his upcoming HBO Max series Peacemaker, who rotates the character of John Cena in his own show.

Gunn recently admitted to Vigilante’s deception on set, revealing that even her production designer didn’t know Elba was playing Bloodsport until the end of filming. “To keep Idris Elba’s character from coming out, we called her Vigilante in the script and on the back of her chair,” Gunn said on Twitter. “We kept it so secret that we were a week away from the end of filming and production designer Beth Mickle said, ‘Wait, isn’t he Vigilante?’ And to make things stranger, DC character Vigilante is one of the protagonists of my Peacemaker show. “

The Suicide Squad: Polka-Dot Man finally gets his due

Whether Bloodsport or Peacemaker, Gunn has populated The Suicide Squad with obscure and unsung supervillains from DC Comics, a move he says is consistent with John Ostrander’s run on the Suicide Squad comics in the 1980s. “I think of (the movie) as a continuation of what he did,” Gunn said. to reporters during a break in filming. “When (Ostrander) first put this team together, he was only able to get certain characters and it was really his pleasure to take these characters that weren’t as well known and develop them in a way. real. For me, this is one of the greatest superhero series of any comic book series. “

Among those lesser-known DC characters who are actually developed in The Suicide Squad is Polka-Dot Man, aka Abner Krill, a lame Batman villain played here by David Dastmalchian. The actor recognizes Polka-Dot Man as a “deep, deep, deep character.” Literally voted as one of the least popular characters in all of DC canon.

He’s such a deep character that Dastmalchian, a true comic book fan, was puzzled when he learned what role he played. “I was embarrassed, to be honest, because the name reminded me a bit of a memory, but anyone who knows me knows I’ve been collecting comics since I was a kid. And I’m pretty devoted to the villainous collection rogue galleries of each different superhero, and I think I know [them] … But I was like, wait, who, what, what is he doing? Still, Dastmalchian discovered a “brotherhood” between himself and Polka-Dot Man: “Abner is a truly wonderful character.”

“Just say his name out loud. He doesn’t command a ton of respect at the door. I think he’s someone who’s never found much connectivity with people, because of some things I did. can’t argue today, but also just because he’s Polka-Dot Man. It’s the thing that worked for him, or he thought it would work, ”Dastmalchian explained. “You have a bunch of exceptionally gifted or talented people in varying degrees of strength or whatever their particular specialty maybe, which might be helpful, but these are also people who are throwaway in a sense for the greater scheme. operations. And I think he’s always felt that. So even though it’s this big fish that’s starting to feel like there’s maybe an alliance with some people, it’s a new feeling for Abner.

The Suicide Squad Who’s Who: Full Cast & Characters Reveal

The big man behind King Shark

Speaking of big fish, another weird DC Comics character on the team is King Shark, played by 6’6 “actor Steve Agee as a reference on set with Sylvester Stallone voicing King Shark in the final film. (Agee also plays a separate character, John Economos, and will reprise that role in Peacemaker.) “I do what Sean Gunn did for Rocket [Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy], do the motion capture. But it’s really easy, ”Agee said. “I come in and we run the stage, with me and my weird costume and helmet. Then I’m going to sit down and they just keep doing the same thing where they’re going to digitally put me. ”

In fact, Agee said her go-to outfit included a wetsuit and a heavy breastplate, both of which proved to be incredibly exhausting to endure. Agee also said he had to “wear a helmet with some sort of guidelines indicating where his eyes and mouth are.” So I just know how to lean forward and walk around. And I also have giant hands, like Hulk hands, but shark hands that are about two feet taller.

“Visually, he’s funny. And he’s fair, he doesn’t really think about things. He sort of acts based on his animal and basic needs, wants and impulses, ”Agee said of King Shark’s behavior. “He looks really funny. But also if you really walked into a room at night, you’d have diarrhea all over, if you saw that thing. “

Yet, as visually ridiculous as characters like King Shark or Weasel may appear, production designer Beth Mickle said that “one of James’ mandates from the start was that he didn’t want to sensationalize any of these things. or make these things look really fantastic and really extraordinary. He just wants to treat them in a very ordinary way. And while, in Guardians, Groot is this big magical thing and he throws these beautiful sparks, and he’s all this fantastic creature, (Gunn) just wants King Shark just dirty and dusty, just to walk the streets of this whitewashed island. the sun and you are not really paying attention and that is part of everyday life. And like James said, it’s as common as your toaster on your counter. in the thoughts of the design to bring these characters to life. “

While Gunn’s approach to King Shark may differ from how he envisioned Groot, he ultimately made up a different story about a group of outcasts who must unite to fight against obstacles and sometimes with each other, although bonds are forged between them along the way.

“These are all characters who, for the most part, probably don’t even know about the existence of the others. Some of them do, and that’s the story of The Suicide Squad, ”Agee explained. “They have to be together and do this task, this mission. So part of the story is just watching these people adjust to their closeness. “

“There are people in this story who really want friendships and people who don’t want anyone around them,” Dastmalchian said. “And I think we all felt at times, like we were totally disposable for our employers or the company or you name it, you know?”

The suicide squad

Dastmalchian promised fans that The Suicide Squad “is going to be incredibly entertaining and incredibly mind-blowing, and all the visuals and stuff for me is it.” But it’s nothing without the soul underneath. And that’s why it was such a brilliant choice to ask James [to] get on something like that because he’s the man who knows exactly how to inject it into it.

The Suicide Squad debuts in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6.

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