"Suicide Squad" was a commercial success, if perhaps not the blockbuster Warner Bros. wanted and the DC Extended Universe needed, breaking box-office records with its August opening on its way to a $745 million worldwide haul. But now, months removed from production and promotion, the film's writer and director wishes he'd approached things differently.
High on that list is the Joker, who was featured so prominently in the trailers, but played a secondary role in the actual film.
"Wish I had a time machine," David Ayer wrote on Twitter, in response to a fan who referred to "Suicide Squad" as "a masterpiece." "I'd make Joker the main villain and engineer and engineer a more grounded story."
That might have won over more critics and fans, some of whom lamented that Jared Leto's Joker was wasted in a muddled and formulaic story that's drawn unflattering comparisons to the "Ghostbusters" remake.
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) January 21, 2017
Acknowledging that "Suicide Squad" is "controversial, Ayer said, "I really tried to make something different, with a look and voice of its own."
"I took inspiration from the insanity of the original comic books," he continued. "Making a movie is a journey, not a straight line. I learned so much. People want what they want, and everyone has a personal vision of how each character should look and walk and talk. If you set out to make a mass appeal movie, it's easy to end up with vanilla. But I went for it. And I know 'Squad' has its flaws, Hell, the World knows it. 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 strong out there."
However, Ayer's comments weren't all about regrets. Noting that "Suicide Squad" was "wildly successful commercially," and that it allowed him to introduce "some very cool characters" on screen, he continued, "I have to take the good and bad and learn from it. I love making movies and I love DC. I'm a High School dropout and used to paint houses for a living. I'm lucky to have the job I have. I have to give the characters the stories and plots they deserve next time. Real talk. (And no, there isn't a secret edit of the film with a bunch of Joker scenes hidden in a salt mine somewhere.)
While Ayer has "Bright," a sci-fi/fantasy drama starring Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace, on his plate for this year, the "next time" he referred to is undoubtedly "Gotham City Sirens," the planned "Suicide Squad" spinoff he's been announced to direct and produce, starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.