This is Dream Cast, a series of articles where we examine questionable casting choices from Hollywood’s history of nerd-centric adaptations and try to re-imagine them in a perfect world where money is no object and egos don’t exist. Today’s subject: Suicide Squad.
Ahhhhhhh yes, Suicide Squad. Nerd whipping boy, prospective savior of DC’s cinematic universe, reason why the executives at Hot Topic all probably just bought new cars. DC’s great late summer hope means a lot of things to a lot of people but ever since pictures of professional douchebag Jared Leto’s mid aughts fallow period Marilyn Manson meets James Franco in Spring Breakers incarnation of The Joker popped up online, reaction has been divisive to say the least.
Me, personally? I think the Joker looks fucking terrible and Harley Quinn doesn’t look much better. And The Joker never had anything to do with Suicide Squad in the comics, why is he even in this anyway? Still, I liked Man of Steel, and didn’t hate Batman V Superman, and my wife has been in love with a certain Mr. Leto since his My So-Called Life days (Seriously, how old is this fucking guy anyway?), so it looks like I’ll be spending genuine American money more suitable for ANYTHING ELSE buying two tickets to Suicide Squad this weekend. Though at this point it will be more out of morbid curiosity than anything else, given the well-publicized development hell the movie went through in post-production and the scathing early reviews its garnered.
So, “Hey – “, you say, “jerkoff on the internet”, you say, “ if you’re so fucking smart how would YOU have cast a film adaptation of Suicide Squad?”, you say. I’m glad that you asked…
Sharlto Copley as Captain Boomerang
Swashbuckling, devil may care marksman Captain Boomerang has been a staple of most SS comic incarnations over the years. Primarily a villain for The Flash (both Barry Allen and Wally West flavors), it would’ve made sense to set him up for the eventual Ezra Miller starring Flash solo outing, given that Miller reportedly has a scene stealing cameo in the Squad film. Jai Courtney (who everyone hated in that last Die Hard movie they tried to make) takes up the mantle and has received disastrous early notices for what little he gets to do. I’d have put Niell Blomkamp muse Sharlto Copley in the role, who has yet to appear in one of the big tow’s comic adaptations, and could really put his own oddly charming stamp on a somewhat obscure character like Boomerang.
Eva Green as Enchantress
DC’s Enchantress, not to be confused with Marvel’s Thor villain of the same name, is sort of your catch-all magic-y type character, the kind that the MCU’s devolved Scarlet Witch into (not complaining, Elizabeth Olsen is great). Suicide Squad’s mandate for production design seems to be “make them all look dirty”, as evidenced by model Cara Delevingne’s take on the character, who also, for some reason, has a weird moon shaped thing on her head like Sodom from Street Fighter. We like Sodom from Street Fighter, but we like Eva Green a whole lot more, for fairly obvious reasons.
Liam Neeson as Deathstroke
Though Deadshot (Will Smith’s take seems fine, no shade here) is much more associated with Suicide Squad than Deathstroke, Slade Wilson (Yes, everybody knows that Deadpool was originally created as a parody of this, get over it, DC nerds) has had his time with Task Force X as well. Liam Neeson may be a vet of Star Wars (ya know, the BAD Star Wars) but like fellow A-Teamer Copley, has yet to dip his toe in either Marvel or DC’s pond. He’s definitely got the look for Slade, and his late career Renaissance as an action star means he can handle the equipment as well.
Chloe Sevigny as Harley Quinn
Nerd confession time: I think Harley Quinn is kind of a bullshit character. Maybe it’s her overexposure and maybe it’s the fact that she was a cartoon character that was grandfathered into the comics, just like Marvel’s somewhat needless female Wolverine clone X-23. Overexposure is definitely the problem, especially with a character who could veer from amusing to grating even at her best in the deservedly revered Batman: The Animated Series. I was similarly pretty tired of Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon and Groot before their respective films came out, were outstanding, and rekindled my love for characters I’d soured on since every licensing company on earth slapped all of their once charming nuances (DEADPOOL LOVES TACOS, GROOT IS A FUCKING TREE MAN, ISN’T THAT WEIRD, KIDS!?) on every product imaginable.
I thought Squad could do the same for me with Harley (who definitely belongs here given that she’s top lined the last few series’ of SS comics), and it still could. Early reviews have Margot Robbie being the best thing about a bad movie, similar to Ben Affleck’s revelatory performance as Batman in BvS. Still, I’d have maybe chosen someone for Quinn with requirements beyond tall, blonde and pretty. Chloe Sevigny could still fill out HQ’s signature unitard (don’t even get me started on Robbie’s “costume”) pretty well, and she looks like she might actually be able to kick someone’s ass. She excelled in the similar role of misunderstood mental patient in American Horror Story: Aslyum, AKA the one that didn’t suck.
Jake Gyllenhaal as The Joker
Not much more to say about Leto, and in all fairness, I haven’t seen the movie yet, though good ol’ Jordan Catalano reportedly only gets about 7 total minutes of screen time, so I doubt that’s enough to change anyone’s mind. Which brings us to Nightcrawler, and Jake Gyllenhaal’s demented star turn as an LA man who begins causing car accidents in order to sell the valuable footage to the sensationalistic local news. Gyllenhaal’s role is the best Joker this side of the rightly sainted Heath Ledger. He’s a domestic terrorist that wants to watch the world burn, but also gain fame and a tidy profit, no matter who he has to hurt or kill in the process. That definitely sounds like the flashier, more materialistic Joker that they were going for with Leto to me. The fact that nobody at Warner’s saw Nightcrawler and immediately signed Gyllenhaal is a bigger tragedy than any committed by the Clown Prince of Crime on page or screen. Somebody deserves to be fired. Besides Jared Leto, of course.