With every new report of what filming Suicide Squad was actually like, our discomfort grows -- job well done, David Ayer.
We know Jared Leto terrorized his castmates with morose gifts. From dead pigs and live rats to used condoms and anal beads, Leto embraced the madness of Gotham's Clown Prince with gusto, and it "set the bar" for shit to get really crazy on set. Of course, Leto wasn't the sole perpetrator in all of this. He had some help from Ayer, whose unconventional methods proved to be invaluable -- and emotionally draining -- for his actors. The director didn't just put the Suicide Squad cast through intense physical training; he also engaged with them in intensive pre-production therapy sessions.
"It was a pretty vulnerable place to go," Margot Robbie told EW. "He wants to know about your personal history and your relationships and your childhood, things like that that you don't really want to tell a stranger. And then you have to share that with the rest of your squad as well. I really didn't like that."
Like it or not, it was all part of Ayer's master plan to get the most from his actors. "What we didn't realize was what he does in the process is he learns our buttons," Smith said. "We are really bonding but David is grabbing all of your deepest emotional issues so he can throw them back in your face on set."
For example, in order to truly get under Joel Kinnaman's skin and assert Amanda Waller's dominance, Ayer made Emmy-winner Viola Davis call the Squad leader a "pussy” and a "bitch" while filming.
"He would make me call Joel Kinnaman a pussy at times. A bitch. It's completely politically incorrect but it caused a reaction in me," Davis told EW. "It made me feel like a straight-up thug, and it made Rick Flagg want to kick my ass. So David got what he wanted."
Needless to say, Kinnaman didn't enjoy that particular day on set. "Some of the stuff she said really pissed me off," Kinnaman said. "And I felt really betrayed. And that’s exactly what David wanted me to feel... And now it's in the movie. That's some pretty high-level direction through manipulation."
And here we thought the Joker was the master manipulator in Suicide Squad! Guess we were wrong. Mistah Ayer truly takes the cake.