The Suicide Squad director James Gunn shares a behind-the-scenes video of Bloodsport actor Idris Elba poking fun at the director on the set of DC’s latest big-screen outing. Gunn’s standalone follow up to David Ayer’s 2016 film, The Suicide Squad showcases slightly different and much larger Task Force X coerced into yet another dangerous mission in exchange for reduced prison sentences. The film released on HBO Max and in theaters earlier this month received rave reviews despite its lackluster box office performance.
Gunn’s Task Force X is sent to the island of Corto Maltese to destroy all traces of Project Starfish, the unethical experimentation on an extraterrestrial starfish dubbed Starro the Conqueror. Rick Flag and Harley Quinn joined by newcomer “villains” including Ratcatcher 2, Polka-Dot Man, King Shark, Peacemaker, and Robert DuBois Aka Bloodsport (Idris Elba), the squad reluctant and eventual leader. After being incarcerated for putting Superman in the ICU with a kryptonite bullet, Amanda Waller coerces him into joining her suicide squad by threatening his daughter, Tyla DuBois.
Other behind-the-scenes content shared by Gunn has included information on how the climactic fight scene between Rick Flag and Peacemaker was filmed, Easter Eggs audiences most likely missed, and images of Elba operating brand-new technology, “nano rig,” to help film a scene for The Suicide Squad. Having called Gunn a genius, Elba has previously opened up about wanting to work with the director irrespective of the character he’d be playing. While Bloodsport may seem reminiscent of Will Smith’s Deadshot from Ayer’s film, it was never the intention to cast Elba as a replacement. That said, it’s not a stretch to say Elba nailed the role in a film he clearly had fun making.
Gunn has made it clear that he wants to continue working in the DC Extended Universe. On top of writing and (mostly) directing HBO Max’s The Suicide Squad spinoff series, Peacemaker, he’s teased a handful of other projects that may be in the works. Elba has spoken about being proud of his character for shooting Superman and would like to make a prequel portraying those events. Unfortunately, neither Elba, Gunn or even the powers that be at DC Films know which version of Superman Bloodsport’s backstory refers to. Regardless, of what Gunn or Elba do next, MCU, DCEU, or otherwise, audiences will likely love it.
How The Suicide Squad Lets James Gunn Be Himself (But The MCU Doesn’t)
As great as the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are, The Suicide Squad finally offered James Gunn the freedom to fully spread his creative wings. Like most well-known directors, Gunn has both passionate fans and dismissive detractors. What’s hard to dispute is that Gunn is a filmmaker with a style all his own, and while he’s made a variety of films, there are usually elements in them that are recognizably his, and serve to let his fans know that they’re watching yet another of his projects.
Starting out his career with infamous indie horror studio Troma, and learning under the tutelage of B-movie legend Lloyd Kaufman, Gunn also has things that clearly appeal to him as both a filmmaker and viewer, including graphic violence, dirty jokes, deadpan one-liners, and a general sense of the surreal. Even when things should be, judging by the narrative, deadly serious, Gunn loves to throw in gallows humor and quips so sharp they’re liable to catch unprepared audience members off guard. Gunn’s latest, The Suicide Squad, serves up many such moments as a perfect example.
The MCU Guardians of the Galaxy movies are, according to most, great efforts, and definitely bear many of Gunn’s calling cards as a director and writer. That said, with The Suicide Squad, DC and Warner Bros. seemingly gave Gunn the gift Disney and Marvel likely never will, for one reason or another: complete creative control.
That’s not to discount Gunn’s mostly positive relationship with Marvel Studios, outside of the time he was fired by Disney over some old tweets. He’s clearly proud of his Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as he should be, and Marvel loves them too. Still, the MCU has certain mandates it will probably never – or at best rarely – break, including making R-rated movies with excessive violence and gore, and overly crass and vulgar language. While Deadpool is now under the Marvel umbrella, and Disney says his movies will be R-rated, that doesn’t mean the MCU overall is turning over a new leaf. Even if Marvel Studios trusts Gunn, they’ll likely never let him indulge in the adult content the rest of his filmography contains.
With The Suicide Squad, DC and WB gave Gunn the freedom to go as crazy as he liked, throwing mountains of off-color jokes at the wall, spraying geysers of blood, littering the screen with corpses, and just generally doing whatever Gunn deemed necessary to give his audience a good time. The result, at least according to the majority of critical and fan takes out there, is a true triumph, with some arguing The Suicide Squad is the best movie Gunn has made to date. Whether that’s true or not, it may way well be the most James Gunn of any James Gunn movie, boasting all his directorial trademarks, right down to casting brother Sean Gunn in multiple roles. One wonders if and when Gunn will be allowed to get this creatively unleashed again, as Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 likely won’t provide the opportunity.