Suicide Squad director David Ayer has shared a cryptic new post about his 2016 DC film that suggests the released movie was not the one he set out to make.
In a post to Instagram, the director has dropped a previously unseen still of Leto's Joker, along with a rumination on how a movie can go from being one thing to be something very different.
It appears to suggest that studio interference may have caused this change in direction, all the while expressing disappointment in his own movie.
“Movies are fragile. They are like dreams, haunting moments that run from your vision. They have their own logic and truth,” Ayer writes.
“If you change the destination after the trip is complete is it still the same journey? The spine of Suicide Squad was Harley’s journey.
“In many ways it was her movie, her escaping her relationship with Joker was the major emotional through line.
“A director holds an invisible compass in their hands. It guides every shot, every performance. That compass points to the destination. If the desintation (sic) changes did the journey even happen?”
Philosophical questions indeed.
At the time of the film’s release in August 2016, THR ran an in-depth look into the troubled making of the film which noted that the production had “gruelling moments, multiple editors and competing cuts”.
The studio reportedly tested two different versions of the film – one Ayer’s more sombre original vision, and another lighter version edited by the company that made the film’s popular first trailer – before agreeing to meet somewhere in the middle, with help from substantial reshoots.
Prior to Suicide Squad's release there was some pretty positive buzz going on (aside from some reservations about Jared Leto's Joker make-up).
There was a pretty star-laden cast, including Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne and Viola Davis (and Leto, of course).
And Ayer was riding on the back of decent reviews of Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf war movie Fury, not to mention his acclaimed indie hit End of Watch.
Many of the Suicide Squadders even started tattooing each other in a haze of fraternal bonding, having clearly loved making the movie, and leading us all to believe we were in for something very special.
The result. Hmmm.
While it made loads of money - $746.8 million, in fact – it was hated by critics. The New Yorker called it 'ugly, boring and toxic'. The Wall Street Journal branded it 'trash'.
And Ayer discussed his feelings at the time, notably the critical panning that the movie was subjected to.
He tweeted: “Nothing hurts more than to pick up a newspaper and see a couple years of your blood, sweat and tears ripped to shreds. The hate game is so strong out there.”
While he's not been invited back, Warner Bros clearly enjoyed the money-making part of the process, and is currently in production of the movie's sequel.
Read more: Disney CEO responds to anti-Marvel ‘bitching’
Called The Suicide Squad, Robbie will be back as Harley Quinn (following her own spin-off Birds of Prey movie), as will Davis (Amanda Waller), Kinnaman (Rick Flag) and Courtney (Captain Boomerang), with David Dastmalchian as Abner Kril, aka Polka-Dot Man.
Idris Elba, John Cena and Peter Capaldi are also involved in so-far undisclosed roles, and with Guardians of Galaxy's James Gunn behind the camera (and script).
It's due for release in August, 2021.
As for whether we'll ever see Ayer's vision for the original, however...