With James Gunn's The Suicide Squad set to hit theaters and HBO Max screens starting this week, the writer-director has been hitting the press junkets and red carpets (real and virtual) to not only promote the already-well-received film but also the numerous other projects he either has in play or is reportedly attached to. In a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gunn addressed a number of television-related topics. From Peacemaker being connected to the DCEU more than we expected and Gunn looking to hang out in the DCEU a little while longer to more thematic specifics on the John Cena-starring spinoff series, here's a look at the highlights.
When asked if Warner Bros./DC Comics still used the term "DCEU" internally even with a commitment to telling stories that may not share a universe, Gunn's response clues us in that Peacemaker "ends up being connected to other DC properties" aside from The Suicide Squad. "Yeah, it is. It is, sometimes. Yeah, I think that there's definitely an eye. I got a lot more of it after the movie was made, frankly, because they're really just trying to make everything fit together much better," Gunn explained before focusing on the spinoff series. "And I know a lot of it because of working on 'Peacemaker' and doing that, which is definitely connected to 'The Suicide Squad' and it ends up being connected to other DC properties. So yeah, I think that, more than ever, there's sort of an eye to connect stuff a little bit more. But also, willing to take those properties like 'Joker' and make them standalone DC properties, and I think that's a good balance."
As for those comments from Walter Hamada, President, DC Films, that Gunn is on board for more work in the DCEU, the writer/director was asked if there was a project "in the lead". and yes, there is- but Gunn also quickly reminds everyone that there are a lot of things in play so nailing down anything specific is a little rough right now. "There are a lot of different things happening at the same time [Laughs]. You've got the 'Peacemaker' show, obviously, and then there are other projects. So we'll see what happens," Gunn explained. "We're always talking about different things, too, so there's a lot of dreaming going on, and dreaming is one of the most fun parts of moviemaking. We're dreaming about the different possibilities, and we're trying to find the right dream that can actually weave itself into reality in the proper"
On How "Peacemaker" Is Shaping-Up, Opposing Political Views & A Single-Season Storyline: "There are a lot of similarities to 'The Suicide Squad' in that it's no holds barred, but there are also a lot of things that are very different, in that it's quieter in some ways. It's very specifically about a different group of people, so it's a little bit more about society. One of the leads is 'Peacemaker' and one of the leads is Danielle Brooks, who plays Leota Adebayo. And she has a very different political view of the world than 'Peacemaker' does. So it's just a little bit about what's going on in the world, but also being a TV show, you really do have more time to delve much deeper into these characters and much more deeply into the drama and comedy of them, So it has a lot of similarities, but it's even more grounded, more natural and more real. But it's still within a big science-fiction storyline that lasts for one season. The main storyline lasts for that season, so that doesn't mean there's only one season of 'Peacemaker'."
Steve Agee (Super, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Brightburn) rejoins Gunn and John Cena when he reprises his film role of John Economos, a warden of Belle Reve Federal Penitentiary and an aide to Viola Davis' Amanda Waller (the actor also portrays King Shark in the film). Danielle Brooks (Orange Is The New Black) joins the series as Leota Adebayo, with Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) in the role of Auggie Smith. Jennifer Holland (Brightburn) reprises her film role of Emilia Harcourt, and Freddie Stroma (Bridgerton) takes on the role of Adrian Chase aka Vigilante.
In addition, Chukwudi Iwuji (When They See Us) as Clemson Murn, Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale) as Larry Fitzgibbon, Annie Chang (Shades of Blue) as Detective Sophie Song, Christopher Heyerdahl (Togo) as Captain Locke, Nhut Le (Kroll Show) as Judomaster, and Elizabeth Faith Ludlow (The Walking Dead) and Rizwan Manji (Perfect Harmony) as recurring characters of Keeya and Jamil. Recently, Alison Araya (Riverdale) and Lenny Jacobson (Narcos: Mexico) have been tapped for the roles of the married couple Amber and Evan, respectively.
Gunn, Brad Anderson (Session 9), Rosemary Rodriguez (The Walking Dead), and Jody Hill (The Righteous Gemstones) direct the eight-episode series. Gunn and The Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran will serve as executive producers, with Cena as co-executive producer. Peacemaker will be produced by Gunn's Troll Court Entertainment and The Safran Company in association with Warner Bros TV. Though specific details on the series are being kept under the same kind of wraps as the film, Peacemaker will explore the origins of the character that Cena will play in the upcoming film, a man who believes in peace at any cost — no matter how many people he has to kill to get it.
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