David Ayer used some cruel and unusual methods to get the most from his actors on the set of upcoming superhero/supervillain movie ‘Suicide Squad’, it has been revealed.
The director of 'Fury’ and 'End of Watch’ made his actors open up about personal things they may not have wanted to share, then played certain actors off against each other to get the results he wanted.
He learnt about his actors in pre-production, when he invited the likes of Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman and Margot Robbie to take part in something like a group therapy session.
“It was a pretty vulnerable place to go,” Robbie told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
Will Smith continued, saying: “What we didn’t realise was what he does in the process is he learns our buttons. 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.”
In one example, Ayer decided to provoke an antagonist worker/boss relationship between the characters of Viola Davis and Kinnaman. The director told Davis to call Kinnaman a “pussy” and “bitch” to rile him up.
“It’s completely politically incorrect but it caused a reaction in me,” Davis said. “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.”
Kinnaman wasn’t pleased but say the benefits: "Some of the stuff she said really pissed me off, 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.”
Ayer stands by his techniques however, and points to the actors friendships - born from their time on set - as an example.
“Acting is very lonely,” he said. “I don’t think people realize how much these people live out of suitcases and just show up. If you can give them a sense of connection and family and build support around them, then you get the trust. I think trust drives performance.”
'Suicide Squad’ will be released on 5 August.
Picture Credits: Warner Bros