‘Suicide Squad’ Behind-the-Scenes Drama Reveals Competing Cuts, Rushed Filmmaking & More

Suicide-Squad-banner-4-1024x576

It hasn’t been an easy journey for Suicide Squad, and that’s extremely apparent in the final product. The antihero comic book blockbuster lacks consistency, both narratively and tonally, and it’s impossible to imagine how this film could have gone without studio compromising in the mix. Turns out, like all-so-many tentpole blockbusters of late, writer-director David Ayer’s latest is just another in a long list of recent big-budgeted studio films to suffer from production complications, post-production debates and an endless amount of anxiety. As reported by THR in length today, the process to bring the highly-anticipated comic book adaptation to completion was just as winded and bumpy as the final product itself.

The DC villain team-up film, heavily inspired by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and costing a reported $175 million to make, needs to be a hit for Warner Bros. With a $140 million opening weekend projected after its massively successful marketing campaign, it’s possible Suicide Squad will be the studio first full-fledge success since 2014’s astoundingly popular American Sniper. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice failing to make the $1 billion the studio hoped it would earn, coming in at a not-terrible $873 million worldwide, they had a lot riding on Ayer’s newest film, and the pressure boiled up.

Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara was “really pissed about the damage to the brand” after his company was “blindsided” and “deeply rattled” by BvS and its less-than-enthusiastic response from critics and audiences, and they were worried Suicide Squad wasn’t going to deliver on the fun, edgy tone found in the trailers under Ayer’s moody cut. This was around the time WB started working on a different cut  —with help from Trailer Park, the company who made the well-received promos — while Ayer’s continued to work on his version. But that’s not where the troubles began.

Slated as one of 10 DC films Tsujihara hoped to make before 2020, Suicide Squad had a tight window from the beginning, with Ayer’s given “like, six weeks” to write the script, and the studio ultimately went with what they got. Though the studio initially believed they had given the filmmaker enough time to make the film he wanted to make, it became evident early on that things were going to be rushed. But with a release date set, there was no turn back.

Here’s what an unnamed source close to the film said on the matter.

It’s not just that you’ve told the public the movie is coming, you’ve made huge deals around the world with huge branding partners, with merchandise partners. It’s a really big deal to move a tentpole date.

It also didn’t help that Ayer, the director behind indies and mid-budget features like End of Watch, Sabotage and Fury, was not an experienced big-budget filmmaker in the slightest. But it’s now common practice to hire a relatively inexperienced director, by studio standards, to helm gigantic commercialized productions. Recent examples include James Bobin for Alice Through the Looking Glass, Duncan Jones for Warcraft and Paul Feig for Ghostbusters, and it often produces varying levels of success.

As the story continued to divulge, the reason studios rely on these kind of filmmakers is because a lot of actual studio directors, like James Cameron, don’t want to direct these movies, and the studio has a movie to make and, as noted above, a schedule to maintain. Additionally, a lot of proven directors want nearly five or so years to develop their product, and that’s time the studio can’t afford when they have “a machine to feed.” That’s simple economics. Remember, studio filmmaking is a business.

Thus, in the months leading up to Suicide Squad‘s impending release, a lot of cooks were joining the kitchen. Multiple editors were brought on-board, and the film’s credited editor, John Gilroy, apparently left by the end of the process, with Michael Tronick applying the final cuts. As noted by this same unnamed source, “When you have big tentpoles and time pressure, you pull in resources from every which way you can. You can’t do it the way it used to be, with one editor and one assistant editor.”

Production woes don’t always guarantee a bad film. A perfect example would be the original Star Wars, a film that was arguably improved upon its complications. Hopefully, that will also be the case with this December’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is facing similar problems at the moment.  That said, Suicide Squad ultimately didn’t result in such a success, at least in this writer’s opinion.

And there’s reason to suspect Warner Bros. isn’t necessarily happy with what they got either, despite trying to keep up appearances. They declined to pick up Ayer’s follow-up, the Max Landis-penned Bright set to star Bradley Cooper, before the two competing versions of Ayer’s film were set to be screened. Netflix ultimately picked it up in a whopping $90 million deal, and production on that film is supposed to begin later this year. Hopefully it goes down smoother than this one did.  

To read the full story, check out THR’s original article.

Source: THR

Will Ashton

Will Ashton

Will is a writer for Heroic Hollywood, and a lot of other places too. One day he'll become Jack Burton. Just you wait and see.

  • flavortang

    I don’t see what the point of “Artist-driven” filmmaking is if the studio is going to micro-manage everything after the fact, anyways.

    It seems like WB is doing exactly what Marvel is doing only there’s a lot more cooks in the kitchen and they’re meddling DURING production and not before.

    It’s like WB is in a foot race and right before it starts they tie their laces together and as they’re stumbling along they grab a stick and shove it in between their ankles to ensure they face-plant.

    As a massive DC fan this is troubling and sad.

    • DMcC

      The problem is that they’re playing catch-up, which lends itself to some, if not all, of the issues detailed in the article.

      Franchises are certainly nothing new, but nobody really conceived of the mega-franchise before Marvel, and nobody else has the IP to match that like Warners/DC does. But instead of rolling things out with an orchestrated, well-conceived plan, they’re rushing and reacting.

      • flavortang

        WB sees the money and is too busy reaching for the gold when they should be making sure their feet are actually on the path to get to the gold. Sloppy and frustrating to behold, even though I really enjoyed MoS and BvS and will probably like Squad.

        • DMcC

          Yup, exactly. Maybe things will turn around with Johns, but if you’ve got the studio meddling and pressing instead of supporting and facilitating, it’s going to be an uphill climb.

          And hey, maybe this will be a huge hit. You never know. I just don’t think there’s as much of a disconnect between critics and audiences as people want to think. We’ll see…

          • Joey Wabi-Sabi

            I never understood this whole “rushing” argument. BvS was announced THREE years ago. DC only made TWO more movies in that 3 year period since Man of Steel. How is that “rushing” and “playing catch up” when Marvel made FIVE movies in a 3 year period with Avengers being their 6th movie following only 9 months later? 2 movies in 3 years VS 5 movies in 3 years. Hmmmm…..

          • Will Ashton

            It all comes down to planning and coordination. Marvel can do it because they plan better in pre-production, therefore making their filming schedule and post-production as smooth as possible. DC, meanwhile, rush the pre-production, and that nips them in the bud in the long run.

          • SAMURAI36

            You KNOW Marvel’s pre-production planning…. How, exactly?

          • Will Ashton

            Kevin Feige and some other MCU players have talked about their process in the past. It’s clear they know what they want and what they expect from their filmmakers.

          • SAMURAI36

            So has Geoff Johns, Charles Roven, & Zack & Deb Snyder. So, if you are going by what these people tell you (btw, Feige rarely–if ever–gives in depth interviews, so I really don’t know what you’re basing that on), then what precisely is the difference?

          • Will Ashton

            Geoff Johns’ involvement isn’t really apparent until Wonder Woman, based on recent reports. I heard he only worked on Suicide Squad for two days. But to answer your question, the difference between Marvel and DC, at least in this pre-production argument, is organization. Kevin Feige has clear expectations for the films under his brand, he assigns the filmmakers he and his team know will realize that film, they work more directly with the filmmakers early on, as to make sure they know exactly what film they’re going to make, and more importantly, they give clearer, more direct notes. DC, on the other hand, seem to be pretty fickle with what they expect from their filmmakers. They change their opinion the dime based on public opinion and they’re very reactionary. That’s massively apparent with Suicide Squad. Keep in mind, I’m a DC fan. I loved Man of Steel, I liked Batman v Superman (despite its flaws), but it’s clear that the final product for Suicide Squad is not what was originally envisioned by David Ayer. The plot is a mess, character motivations change abruptly and they fail to set up the end conflict in a convincing and believable way. It looks like Geoff Johns acts as their Kevin Feige from here on out, and I really hope that’s the case. He’s a smart, commendable voice, and he might be what the cinematic universe really needs at this point.

          • SAMURAI36

            Perhaps you are confused about what it was that I asked you.

            Again, I’ve asked (twice now), how you KNOW any of the things you’ve stated, & thus far, all you’ve given me, are second & third-hand rumors, along with how things “seem” (your exact words), what you “heard” (again, your exact words) as well as what you “like” (the latter being totally NOT germane to what was asked, more so than the first three).

            All you’ve managed to do, is perpetuate the internet rumor narrative that’s been spreading like a disease as of late. I won’t even bother to ask you where you’ve “heard” this stuff from; we all know where it comes from, as I’ve read the same nonsense that you have. Problem is, I’m not putting my stamp of approval on it, as you seem to be doing.

            As a “writer”, you owe it to yourself, as well as to your readers, to do more than copy/paste unverified rumors. This is why it’s hard to take your “review” seriously, especially when you reference the “DC no jokes policy” a RUMOR that has been long since debunked.

            I long for the day, when comic book related media will be covered by SERIOUS journalists. The public will never take this medium seriously, until that happens, & as long as unaccredited bloggers such as yourself, & rumor-monger sites, the likes of Bleeding Fool, BMD, & what slowly (& regrettably) seems to be this one are in control of the information flow.

          • SAMURAI36

            Further, passing poorly constructed op/ed’s off as journalism is inexcusable. It’s lazy, it’s biased, & it lacks journalistic integrity.

          • SAMURAI36

            Further proof that your rumors are unsubstantiated:

            http://collider.com/suicide-squad-deleted-scenes-jared-leto-david-ayer/
            Also, your rumor about Geoff Johns only working on SS for two days is utterly ridiculous, especially when you consider that it was revealed just before SDCC, that it was Geoff himself that helped Ayer decide which characters were going to be included on the Squad.

          • SAMURAI36

            This is why you should get your info straight from the source, rather than from unsubstantiated rumors.

            http://www.businessinsider.com/jai-courtney-interview-suicide-squad-2016-8

            He squashed 3 of the rumors that HH and other sites were spreading in this one interview alone.

          • SAMURAI36

            Precisely. That’s just more of the BS narrative that they keep trying to hot is with.

    • Marquis de Sade

      You need a hug?

    • Axxell

      The only problem here is that WB and DC fans have staked their flag on their films being director driven, unnecessarily so. What WB doesn’t realize is that we’re not talking about a series of sequels for one character or concept; they’re attempting to create an entire cinematic universe, that is supposed to remain consistent within each film… That’s impossible to do when you tell your directors they have the liberty of doing whatever they want without supervision.

    • SAMURAI36

      I’m surprised that this is being fallen for right now. For one thing, we don’t know how many cools are in Marvel’s kitchen.
      Either way, I’d say to reserve judgment until you’ve seen the film (that is, of you haven’t already). You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Marquis de Sade

    LOL!
    The sinkin’ rudderless ship that is dceu. I’m lookin’ forward to Sammy-rai’s FANCIFUL SPIN.

    • Justin Jules

      I’ve just scrolled through waiting to see what he says. Please note, no one mention how his wife feels about him watching a film 7/8 times. Because he feels someone disrespected her?!?!???

      • Marquis de Sade

        Yeah, with the ill-advice R.T. proposed petition and Sammy-rai’s over reactions, one would (justifiably) conclude that dc fangurls are a sensitive lot, huh?

        • Justin Jules

          I wonder if he knows that WB has 30% stake in RT? lol

          • SAMURAI36

            Before I block you, I’m wondering if you know what “30% stake even means in the business world. Don’t bother answering, we both know you don’t. Buh-bye now.

          • Justin Jules

            Instead of discussing if I know what any form of percentile stake in a company means. Why not discuss this obsurd notion that you think that’s Disney/Marvel are paying people to write a negative review?

            Why is it beyond the realms of possiblity that WB are so desperate to play catch up to Marvel. That a man like Ayer that has wrote and directed a large number of highly respected movies. Was rushed into producing a sub par product in comparison to his other works. Then had too many cooks spoiling his broth with reshoots and wanting to emulate GOG.

            The fact that the general opinion of you is of an obtuse thin skinned DC fan boy with a trigger happy block finger is nothing but hilarious to me. The clown price of trolls episode only cements that view.

            Btw to have a stake in a business such as RT, is to own a share or have a financial involvement in said business.

    • Axxell

      He’s in suicide watch for suicide squad…

  • Math

    Wow. I wanted to see it for myself before judging this movie but I can’t bring myself to give money to a company that interferes this much with such a great universe. So sad. I guess I’ll have to skip this one.

    • Will Ashton

      If you’re interested, it’s worth seeing. It’s a fascinating miscalculation, unlike Warcraft or Alice Through the Looking Glass.

      • Math

        I’ll see it eventually. How can I not? I’m just not paying $20 to encourage WB to keep meddling with DC movies.

        • Joey Wabi-Sabi

          If you believe it’s a “great universe”, how about at least supporting David Ayer and the amazing cast that put so much work into trying to create a solid movie for the fans? If you don’t like the fact that the studio is interfering with a director’s version, it should only motivate you more to support that Director. Box office returns are the reason studios keep interfering in their movie productions. If Suicide Squad does not do well at the Box Office, it will only encourage the studio to continue to interfere in future movies. The studio will never admit it’s their fault. They will just assume they need to be MORE involved on the next movie. They will probably start to chop up Wonder Woman next week if this movie does not do well. So if you DO want this universe to succeed, and you DO want the studio to start trusting their directors, you would support Ayer and go watch this movie.

          • SAMURAI36

            OMG, this, & so much more.

        • SAMURAI36

          As I said in my last response to you: HYPOCRITE.

          • Math

            I’m a hypocrite because I’m not willing to pay full price to see a movie I’m worried about? Ok. Thanks for pointing out the errors of my way.

          • SAMURAI36

            No, you’re a hypocrite, based on that BS you spewed the other day, about reserving judgment until you’ve seen the film.
            You’re letting BS “reviews” & internet rumor-mongering talk you out of seeing this film, knowing full well that this is the agenda.
            All that nonsense you said about me, fully applies to you now (which I knew it did in the first place), just in the reverse. All you’ve proven, is that you’re weak-minded, for believing stuff from people you don’t even know on the internet, before validating it yourself. You’re more full of $#!+, than a backed up crapper.

          • Math

            Yes. I am a hypocrite. I mean why listen to anybody’s opinion or inside information? We should never trust anybody, not even you.

            Just seeing how BvS was badly edited down from the theatrical cut vs the ultimate cut should not give me the right to assume the studio did the same thing with this movie even though we keep hearing about just that all over the place.

            Now I never said I won’t form my own opinion. I just said I’m not going to pay full price to see this. I’ll form my own opinion after I see it. I might even decide to pay full price to see it again if I end up liking it. But hey, I am an hypocrite so why do you care what I do?

          • SAMURAI36

            For the same reason that you seemed to care so much about what I do.

            Remember you said:

            It’s too bad because I would love to support DC, but people like you are just making the rest of us look bad.

            Remember you said that? Nah, of course you don’t. You were too busy focusing on how horrible of a person I am, instead of on, you know… YOURSELF.

            You were sooo concerned about me telling people to be optimistic about the film, & not let people they don’t even know, let alone trust, sway them from seeing the film, that you ended up revealing your own weak-mindedness.

            I swear, if you weren’t such a sad sack, you’d be gut-bustingly hilarious.

          • SAMURAI36

            Man, I swear to god, I’m gonna ride you so hard on this (PAUSE!!), that you are either gonna wanna block me, or leave this site altogether.

            I freely admit that I am unapologetically a DC enthusiast. If people wanna label me a “fan boy” so be it. Theres far worse things in this world that I could be (beginning with being a Marvel Zombie, LOL).

            But one thing I cant stand, is someone who thinks they have the right to chastise someone else, before they’ve gotten their own affairs in order.

          • Math

            Hey. Whatever makes you happy. Glad I can help fill your days.

    • Tmlfan

      Couldn’t agree more. No excuse.

  • Korra_Avatar

    Hey Ashton, this is plagerism. You’ve completely used THR’s writing. Journalism and copy/paste are different

    • Axxell

      THR?

    • SAMURAI36

      Glad somebody pointed this out.

  • Pingback: Esquadrão Suicida: Drama nos bastidores pode ter prejudicado filme()

  • SAMURAI36

    This review is so far off the mark, it’s not even funny. As someone else pointed out, it reads like a copy/paste job from other reviews. In fact, I’m not even convinced that this “reviewer” has even seen the film.
    When this “writer” makes statements about “DC’s old ‘no jokes’ policy” (re: there was never any such thing) that’s when you know that nothing about this review should be taken seriously.
    I’m still preparing my review, & I want to see it a 2nd time before I post it, but I’ll say right now, that despite admittedly having its flaws (mind you, I’ve pointed out DOZENS of flaws in Marvel films, that the Marvel cult worshippers don’t even bat an eye at, such as pointless villains, ridiculous character motivations–Silly War, anyone?–& the like), SS is no less that a 7.5/10, possibly 8.5.

    • Will Ashton

      This is not a review.