Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop, Suicide Squad) once again plays the (barely) leader of the doomed Squad, Rick Flag, in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. Promoting the role he embodied in David Ayer's Suicide Squad, Kinnaman reflected on his experiences to Entertainment Weekly doing the two projects.
"We had an amazing experience shooting the first film," says the actor. "Some of the people that I got to know on that film are still some of my closest friends. So the OG Squad, I mean, we're still texting with each other. But the vision of what that film was going to be, it wasn't clear to everyone, you know. It wasn't like the producers, the filmmaker, the studio, everyone had the same vision. There were conflicting visions of what that film was going to be, and sometimes with these big budget studio films people start pulling at it from different directions, and then it doesn't really end up anywhere. I feel like that's what happened with the first Suicide Squad. It kind of ended up being neither here nor there. I think David was really setting out to do something much darker, much more emotional, and nihilistic in a way, at least in his portrayal of the Joker (who was played by Jared Leto in Ayers' film), his idea of the Joker, and I think the studio wanted something that was much more entertaining. I think the trailer for the first Suicide Squad really worked against us because it became so successful, [but] it wasn't really what the movie was like. And then I think they almost tried to reshape the movie to be more like the trailer, so there was complete division."
Fans will recall that after a year of leading the social media charge to release his cut of 2016's Suicide Squad, and in the wake of all the positive press for the upcoming The Suicide Squad, Director David Ayer (Fury, The Tax Collector) released a three-page statement meant to be his final word on the matter.
"I put my life into Suicide Squad," he wrote in an emtional message. "My cut is [an] intricate and emotional journey with some 'bad people' who are s— on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my movie." Ayer did offer some kind words for Gunn, saying "I'm so proud of James and excited for the success that's coming. I support WB and am thrilled the franchise is getting the legs it needs."
Comparing the final cut of The Suicide Squad with the released version of Suicide Squad, Kinnaman is predictably more satisfied with the end result, citing the studio's faith in Gunn.
"When I saw the film completed I felt, yeah, this was the film that we set out to do," he says. "In this film, they trusted who James is, everyone has confidence in his vision. It was a joy to shoot the film and what you see is very much the script, but then I was surprised [because] it just seemed there were more layers to it than I had expected. I didn't see [in the script] the emotional depths that I felt were very unpretentiously woven into the film. Obviously, I'm hugely biased here, but I felt that that made the film transcend the genre, and the big spectacle of it, and made something that was a real work of art as well."
The cut of Suicide Squad that ultimately was released flopped on the deck and still lays steaming at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, 59% audience score. In comparison, Gunn's The Suicide Squad has received mostly positive reviews and currently sits at 97% on the Tomatometer before its release.
The Suicide Squad Detailed Summary: Welcome to hell—a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out—even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today's do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin, and everyone's favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese. Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave…and Amanda Waller's government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement. And as always, one wrong move and they're dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone's laying down bets, the smart money is against them—all of them.
The Suicide Squad is directed by James Gunn. It stars Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Steve Agee as King Shark, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, John Cena as Peacemaker, Flula Borg as Javelin, Nathan Fillion as T.D.K., Mayling Ng as Mongal, Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Sean Gunn as Weasel, Joaquin Cosio, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Taika Waititi, Alice Braga as Soulsoria, Tinashe Kajese, Peter Capaldi as Thinker, Julio Ruiz, Jennifer Holland, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, and Michael Rooker as Savant. It will be released on August 6, 2021, in theaters and on HBO Max for 31-days.