I am very confused. Out of all the DC Comics movies on Warner Bros’ recently revealed slate, I would never have pegged Suicide Squad to be getting as much attention and star power as it is. While a staple at the comics publisher for decades, Suicide Squad has never really been A-list. In fact, the whole premise behind it is that these are B-list characters. And yet, here I am typing up headlines with the words “Will Smith” and “Captain Boomerang” in close proximity to each other.
Yes, you read that correctly. Variety brings word that Will Smith – who despite some recent box office setbacks is still a huge marquee name – is being sought to play costumed crook George “Digger” Harkness aka Captain Boomerang, a very low-level character that spent most of his earlier years dressing like a deranged air-hostess (now upgraded to dockworker chic), throwing stuff that come right back to him and being punked by the Flash on a regular basis. Big Willy style? More like Big Silly style, amirite?!
Variety also reports that Jai Courtney is already in talks to play the Suicide Squad’s frequent team leader Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot, an assassin with a bullseye-eye and wrist-mounted guns who never misses. He’s been a foe to a who’s-who of DC superheroes, and a mainstay of the Suicide Squad for years. The casting of Courtney is an interesting one, not because I think he is either perfect or woefully wrong for the part (I am actually quite ambivalent to him in the role), but rather because this is the next step in Hollywood’s thus far unsuccessful master plan to turn Courtney into a box-office movie stud. The ex-Spartacus star has played John McClain’s son in A Good Day To Die Hard, he was the lead henchman in both Divergent and Jack Reacher (the latter being his strongest showing yet), he’s playing Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genisys and now they want him to headline what is clearly turning out to a very important movie for WB. It’s like Hollywood didn’t learn their lesson the last time they tried this with Courtney’s Australian countryman Sam Worthington.
And speaking of Australian, it’s at this point that I have to point out that if these castings come to pass then Smith, the American, will be playing an Australian character, while Courtney, the Australian, will be playing an American character. Because Hollywood.
Dodgy accents are of course not the only point of concern here, especially when it comes to Smith as Boomerang. You would be hard pressed to find a character more different to anything that the Oscar nominated actor brings to the table – and I’m not talking about skin tone, before you start raising that issue – as he is essentially a scummy, sniveling background character that ends up being the butt of jokes more than anything else. Unless of course, writer-director David Ayer is looking to turn all the character’s stories on their head and is about to pull an Amazing Spider-Man 2 (minus the dubstep though) on Boomerang. There is also the possibility that Warner Bros may be playing the long game here: Smith may seem like far too big a name for such a lower-tier role, but it could be that he’s merely being introduced in Suicide Squad so that he can be used as the main antagonist in The Flash‘s solo movie.
Whatever is happening with the casting, with Margot Robbie already cast as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto purportedly sought for The Joker, it really does seem that Warner Bros are intent on pulling cream of the crop talent for their movies, instead of molding younger actors a la Marvel. Only time will tell whether this pays off or not.
Last Updated: November 14, 2014