1. Warner Bros. on Tuesday announced an ambitious cast for Suicide Squad, one of the studio’s upcoming slate of films based on major DC Comics titles.
David Ayer (Fury, Training Day) is writing and directing the film, about an elite group of supervillains contracted (or often coerced) by the government to go on high-risk top secret missions. The film is slated for release on Aug. 5, 2016, following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, 2016.
2. Jared Leto will play the Joker.
Warner Bros. is billing Leto — who hasn’t taken on an acting role since winning an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club — behind the next two actors on this list. But even audiences who know next to nothing about comic books know who the Joker is, and his presence among this roster of otherwise more rarefied DC Comics villains causes Leto’s casting to stand out even more. Curiouser still: The Joker hasn’t really been a traditional member of the Suicide Squad in the comics.
3. Will Smith will play Deadshot.
If the Joker is the biggest star among these villains, then Smith is by far the biggest star in this cast. Even with his most recent box office sinkhole, there are still precious few global movie stars who approach Smith’s stature and clout. Which instantly elevates the heretofore known-best-to-comics-fans Deadshot — an assassin who claims to have never missed a shot — into the top tier of DC Comics movie villains. Unless, perhaps, Smith is playing him as a misunderstood villain.
4. Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) will play Rick Flagg.
It’s kind of weird that Hardy — who just two years ago played Batman villain Bane in Christopher Nolan’s DC Comics adaptation The Dark Knight Rises — is showing up again to play the Suicide Squad’s traditional leader. But it’s also kind of in keeping with DC Comics’ penchant for reboots and resets. The weirdest thing, though: In the comics, his last name is spelled “Flag.”
5. Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) will play Harley Quinn.
Robbie kind of already played the part of the Joker’s right-hand woman in The Wolf of Wall Street, insofar as her character in that film was also a tougher-than-she-looks sidekick to a morally bankrupt criminal mastermind. Which is to say, this casting is pretty damn perfect.
7. And model Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) will play Enchantress.
A kind of Jekyll and Hyde character, the magically powerful Enchantress is the villainous alter ego of normal human June Moone — they’re basically trapped in the same body. Think Ben and Glory on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except played by a supermodel with a penchant for faces so fierce they could cut you.
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