Gritty. A word that seems to be on the lips of far too many producers and Hollywood execs these days, especially when it comes to Warner Bros’ DC Comics properties. We’ve recently heard the rumour that DC was going full gritty (you never go full gritty) by declaring a “No jokes” policy, which is rather silly as several of their characters just won’t work with The Dark Knight approach – not that that stopped them on Man of Steel.
But there are times where a healthy application of grit could work though. Like, say, in a film about a group of badass – emphasis on the “bad” – criminals who don’t have to worry about being inspirational beacons of hope. And maybe if the man responsible for layering on that grit is Oscar winning writer-director David Ayer, the man who penned Training Day and wrote and directed the brilliant cop-thriller End of Watch and the upcoming WWII tank drama Fury. And that appears to be exactly what is happening as THR are reporting that Ayer is apparently circling a directing gig for the feature film adaptation of DC’s Suicide Squad.
Originally created in 1959, there have been several incarnations of the Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X, but it’s the version created by John Ostrander in 1987 which is the most widely known and which is still be represented in comics (as well as on the second season of Arrow), and which will probably serve as inspiration for the movie. In this version, a group of convicted supervillains are brought together by Dr. Amanda Waller, and offered the chance at commuted sentences in exchange for tackling highly classified and sensitive black ops missions on behalf of the US government. This time off would also be cleverly used to explain why criminals being captured by heroes would always just pop up on the streets again not too long after. During his tenure on the book, because these were characters that didn’t exactly have their own action figures, Ostrander was able to kill off cast members regularly. This all lead to a constantly changing team roster, although there were a few mainstays in the likes of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, King Shark and Black Manta.
Warner Bros have actually been trying to get a Suicide Squad movie made since 2004, and in 2011 Justin Marks (Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, Top Gun 2) was commissioned to pen a script. After little to no further development, the production was shelved shortly thereafter when WB shifted their focus to build up to Justice League off the back of Man of Steel. But with Justice League looking to blow WB’s DC Comics film universe wide open, Suicide Squad is back on the table, with the studio apparently having been on the search for a director since the beginning of 2014 already. WB recently marked out release dates for 9 new, still unannounced films, and Suicide Squad will almost certain be one of them (maybe taking that August 5, 2016 spot?).
Although I found Ayer’s last film, Sabotage – which is strangely enough also about a team of borderline criminals being brought together for missions – to be almost wholly repugnant, I have enjoyed everything else he’s done, and I think he definitely has all the tools to turn in a killer Suicide Squad movie. And if, by some strange tearing of the fabric of space and time, WB allow Ayer to truly do what he does best and turn in the hard R-rated, ultra violent action-fest that these characters truly call for, then we may just be in for quite a movie.
Last Updated: September 23, 2014