Who better to help celebrate April Fool’s Day than the Joker? Gotham’s clown prince of crime is getting ready for his next cinematic close-up as a key member of Suicide Squad, and there has been plenty of news in recent days about next year’s would-be blockbuster from DC and Warner Bros.
For the uninitiated, the Squad is a team of supervillains formed to take on missions deemed too dangerous for regular heroes. Headquartered in Belle Reve, a super-max federal prison designed for the baddest of bad guys and tucked away deep in the swamps of Louisiana, the Squaddies are pressed into service by government muckety-muck Amanda Waller and led by troubled special-ops soldier Rick Flag. Core members include Deadshot, Harley Quinn, and Captain Boomerang.
The current comic-book storyline has showcased the deranged Harley Quinn and her demented love affair with the Joker.
Writer-director David Ayer (Fury) is adapting the comic, gleefully documenting the film’s preproduction on his Twitter.
Cameras should start rolling within the month, with Warners targeting an August 5, 2016 release to bookend the studio’s other DC-based 2016 tentpole, Batman v. Superman, due out March 25.
Now that you’re caught up with the history lesson, here are three key developments in recent days.
1. A cast of thousands. Warners has previously announced a handful of stars: in addition to Leto, the official roster includes Will Smith as Deadshot, Joel Kinnamen as Rick Flag, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Boomerang, and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress.
Unofficially, however, several other actors are on board. Viola Davis has confirmed she’s in the film as Amanda Waller. Within the past week, Scott Eastwood told Entertainment Tonight he will play an unspecified role (rumored to be eventual Wonder Woman love interest Steve Trevor), while boxer Raymond Olubowale told the Toronto Sun that he’s also in the film (possibly as King Shark). Meanwhile, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Thor: The Dark World) joined the Squad this week as longtime Caped Crusader nemesis Killer Croc, according to The Wrap, which earlier reported that Jay Hernandez (Hostel) had signed on for the rumored role of El Diablo.
2. About that new Joker… The freshly shorn Jared Leto, who will be playing the Ace of Knaves, has apparently been getting into character during gigs with his band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. In some recent performances, Leto has broken into a Jack Nicholson-esque voice in what very well might be a preview of his Joker.
3. Deep into DC’s basement. The Squad has seen various incarnations (and origin stories) over the years, with a rotating group of members that has also included King Shark, Enchantress, Bronze Tiger, Thinker, El Diablo, Black Manta, Joker’s Daughter, and Reverse-Flash — villains that aren’t exactly household names.
All indications are that DC and Warners want to make this film accessible to a wide audience and connect with a larger mythological world, similar to the vaunted Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, expect cameos from Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and even Ben Affleck’s Batman, fresh off their respective turns in Batman v. Superman.
Entertainment Weekly/Warner Bros.