Jai Courtney has made a career out of playing the tough guy. He played a villainous tough guy in the Divergent series. He played a time-traveling tough guy in Terminator: Genisys. He played son-of-Bruce-Willis-tough, tough guy in A Good Day to Die Hard, and he played the unicorn-loving, chaos-causing tough guy of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. So sure, Jai Courtney is tough. And he’ll keep playing tough now that he’s been confirmed for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad follow-up. But the actor’s also got a knack for adding layers to the action-hero stereotype that Hollywood’s tried to cast him in, something he continues to do in his latest flick, a war movie called Semper Fi.
The film, which stars Courtney as a cop and serviceman in the Marine Corps Reserves, dives into the heartbreak and guilt that comes with the job when Courtney’s Cal is forced to arrest his own brother for murder before heading overseas to defend his country. When he comes back, he hatches a plan to break his unjustly tried sibling out of jail, with the help of his fellow Marines. Courtney explores the kind of layered machismo most war films just don’t have time for with his interpretation of Cal, which means Semper Fi is a fairly muted look at military life that relies mainly on the friendships between its talented cast and that’s a good thing. We spoke with Courtney about bonding with his costars during Mardi Gras, getting in touch with his soft side, and how The Suicide Squad is shaping up.
According to your buddy Finn Wittrock, the key to this movie was getting drunk during Mardi Gras. Did that bond you as a cast quickly?
We had grand plans to have a month-long boot camp and slowly build the trust and bond gently in the hopes that we would kind of find love for one another and be able to portray that organically. What ended up happening was we met on the Saturday before filming on a Tuesday. So, you had a weekend to build 20 years of history between us. We figured the only way to do that was to go out and get in a bunch of trouble.
Alcohol is a quick fix for anything.
We kind of joked about that, but even that wouldn’t save a group of people who didn’t find something very genuine between them. We were fortunate in that sense and I think what you see on screen is an accurate portrayal of something that we did find that was very real. We all became really good mates really quickly, and I don’t think we could have developed that onscreen relationship in the same fashion if that wasn’t the case.
Did you have any moments when you thought, ‘Oh sh*t, we might have to actually break someone out of prison to finish this film?’
There was an ercation on the first night between one of us and, but you know, we’ll let that kind of fade away with stories from the movie.
It was just some real-life rehearsal.
That’s what it was. It’s all about the work.
This is a movie about a group of Marines who go to war, come back, and try to get on with their lives but it doesn’t strictly feel like a war movie. Were you more interested in diving into the relationships between these men?
I didn’t take any of this at face value. I didn’t think, “Oh, it’s a film about a cop,” or “It’s a film about deployment.” It doesn’t boil down to that sort of stuff. I think that’s the interesting thing. The relationships are really the hero of this movie and the breakdown of them. I’m someone that’s close with my family, but the closest people to me on this earth are the guys I grew up with. I’ve known these guys 20 years; we’ve grown up together and I really relate to that relationship. I was interested in finding a way to put that on screen.
If it were between duty and loyy to your friends, like it is for your character in the film, what would you choose?
I’d like to think of myself as a bit of a cowboy which is probably not true, but who knows? I mean, I’ll try the breakout approach straight off the bat. I probably would never have been a cop in the first place though.
This idea of brotherhood is a very layered bond which we don’t always see in these kinds of films. Did you want to explore the softer side to these friendships?
You make an interesting point because sometimes within these films there’s a resistance to explore the vulnerability that sits within masculinity and I think that’s actually the key to it. None of this works unless you really buy the bond between these guys and that’s got to be as much about busting each other’s balls as it is about leaning on each other for help and for guidance and for support. I’m a soft person. I don’t think that diminishes my masculinity at all. If anything, it makes you more in touch with it in some way.
Which audience is more frightening: comic book fans or Marines? They’re both tough audiences.
So they should be. I’ve always been involved in stuff where the audience is somehow baked into it. I’m not a stranger to it. I think there’s always a responsibility to try and portray things as accurately as possible.
I hope so. I mean James is going to do something incredibly original with this and things are going to evolve and move in a new direction and I’m really excited about that. I’m supported by an amazing cast and yeah, we’re pumped. We’re as excited as audiences are to see how people respond to this.
Do you think having Gunn work on both a DC and a Marvel film might finally end the rivalry?
Maybe they’ll all merge up one day? I don’t know. I don’t think we need to be so bound to those things, you know? He’s an amazing filmmaker, and there’s such great property out there and amazing stories to be told. I think it’s cool that those barriers are being broken down, and we’re lucky to have him.
You just finished up an action-comedy with Kate Beckinsale, who has a really interesting pantomime horse costume hobby …
[Laughs] I didn’t know that was a hobby of hers.
So she has roped you into wearing one yet?
Maybe the press tour there’ll be some pantomime horse costume gear. I’m a little disappointed that I’m only learning about this just now, so yeah, I’ll be sure to play that conversation further.
‘Semper Fi’ is currently playing in limited theaters and streaming digitally and On Demand.
Within the first few minutes of Joker, a movie where Joaquin Phoenix is going to get nominated for if not win an Academy Award for sleeping in a refrigerator, we learn that Gotham is being overrun by rats. Not just any ol’ garbage-eating rats, but garbage-eating super rats, and the only way to take care of super rats is super cats, obviously. Followed by super dogs, super gorillas, and finally, it’s winter time. Anyway, the rats never factor into the plot of the movie, but they might in another DC title, The Suicide Squad.
It’s suspected that the rats belong to Ratcatcher, an obscure villain in Batman’s Rogue Gallery. “Once employed as an actual rat catcher in Gotham City, Otis Flannegan soon started using his strange ability — an affinity with and the ability to control rats — to stage a variety of crimes,” his description reads. “Eventually, his control over the vermin grew until he threatened Gotham with a veritable army of rodents. Incarcerated many times at Blackgate Prison, he can cause as much damage behind bars as without, using his loyal, trained, pets to relay messages and transport materials inside the maze of ventilation ducts that wind throughout the giant prison.” If I lived in Gotham, I could deal with evil penguins and riddle-obsessed lunatics, but rat minions? That’s too much.
The rat infestation could be a coincidence — a way to signal that Gotham is on the decline, like how movies set in the future use trash-can fires as a visual representation of poverty — but maybe not, considering Ratcatcher will make his, or should I say “her,” official introduction in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. The role will be played by Daniela Melchior, who “will have some connection to whomever [Idris Elba] ends up playing,” according to Variety. Maybe Ratcatcher can join Harley Quinn’s girl gang?
Anyway, the rat reference did not slip by many DC fans.
Still reeling over Joker. Keep thinking the rats in the background of significant scenes could be a subtle hint to Ratcatcher?
— Pizzkey @pisskey October 6, 2019
Was the big rat thing a ratcatcher reference?
— Steven Glansberg @VDC234 October 6, 2019
Shoutout to the Ratcatcher
— Jbat: Striver for Justice @moeru_hoshi October 7, 2019
I mean come on you foreshadow Obscure Villain The Ratcatcher and not do anything with it?
— John Reid Adams @NarcoticCasser1 October 9, 2019
Noticed Ratcatcher too.
— Jack Bottomley @JJB888 October 7, 2019
Maybe they're saving that for the sequel. I mean, they're introducing Ratcatcher in The Suicide Squad, so maybe she and Joker will team up in "Joker II: Ratpocalyse". pic.twitter.com/61zaD2ZAnn
This weekend’s SNL season 45 premiere included a few surprises, including the return of both Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris and Alec Baldwin as President Trump despite the talk show host recently saying that he’d rather be killed by a meteorite than pick up the impersonation again. The episode pulled out plenty of stops with Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish who defied gravity, but one featured player was notably missing: Pete Davidson.
NBC definitely included Davidson on the list of returning cast members for this season, so what gives? Well, it’s not too difficult to figure out that he was not in New York City but Atlanta, Georgia this weekend. On Saturday evening, The Suicide Squad director James Gunn tweeted a cast photo that includes several key cast members both returning and new, including Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, John Cena, Nathan Fillion, and in the back row, on the right Davidson. The group had attended a Joker screening, and according to Instagramming comedian Steve Agee, who’s playing King Shark, they or at least he “loved it.”
#TheSuicideSquad and Pom after a screening of Joker. Thanks @wbpictures! @MelchiorDaniela @JaiCourtney @margotrobbie @flula @NathanFillion @PomKlementieff @MissNgInAction @joelkinnaman & the two Peters Safran & Davidson. pic.twitter.com/N721BdewXw
— James Gunn @JamesGunn September 29, 2019
View this post on Instagram
The Suicide Squad guest starring Pom post #Joker screening loved it.
A post shared by Steve Agee @steveagee on Sep 28, 2019 at 5:40pm PDT
There’s still no official word on who Davidson will be playing, or if his character will last about as long as Suicide Squad‘s Slipknot, which would mean that we could expect him back on SNL fairly quickly. After all, the movie only began filming a few weeks ago, as revealed by Boomerang himself, Jai Courtney, while he was on a flight to Atlanta. The franchise relaunch will also feature returning cast member Viola Davis and a ton of other talent, including Taika Waititi and Idris Elba, both of whom were apparently not on hand for this weekend’s Joker festivities.
The Suicide Squad will hit theaters on August 6, 2021.
Some of The Suicide Squad cast united with James Gunn over the weekend. The director posted a picture of himself with a partial list of the actors involved in the project. When asked by a fan over the weekend when production was going to start, Gunn replied by saying that he had already started, though it's unclear which part of the process the project is in now. Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie is currently taking care of reshoots for the Birds of Prey movie, so she was not with the cast in the new image shared by Gunn.
Firefly's Nathan Fillion is shown alongside Ant-Man's David Dastmalchian, Guardians of the Galaxy's Sean Gunn, Pitch Perfect's Flula Borg, Daniela Melchior, Mayling Ng, and Jennifer Holland. James Gunn said, "Hanging out with part of The Suicide Squad team this weekend. What a great group of people!" The director is clearly excited to finally get to work on the movie, though it won't hit theaters until summer 2021. DC fans are also excited to see what Gunn is going to deliver with an expanded cast.
Related: James Gunn on The Suicide Squad Soundtrack: It's a Lot Different Than Guardians
David Ayer's Suicide Squad was a critical flop, but it was a monster at the box office. Additionally, it launched Harley Quinn's profile, thanks to Margot Robbie's performance in the movie. A sequel was talked about right after the first installment hit theaters in 2016, though it took a little while to materialize. When James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2018, DC and Warner Bros. approached him about The Suicide Squad. After he agreed to come on board, he was rehired by Disney to come back and take on the final Guardians installment.
The full cast of The Suicide Squad includes Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman from the original movie with a ton of newcomers. Michael Rooker, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Steve Agee, Idris Elba, Storm Reid, John Cena Flula Borg, Nathan Fillion, Pete Davidson, Taika Waititi, and Peter Capaldi are also set to star in the upcoming movie. As for who everybody is playing, that is very much a mystery at this time, which has been amplified since James Gunn said most of the reporting on the subject has been inaccurate, even calling out major news outlets.
The Suicide Squad is gearing up to hit theaters on August 6th, 2021. James Gunn took nearly a year off of social media after Disney let him go, so fans are happy to see him back sharing updates after the lengthy break. Gunn does a good job of interacting with fans on social media from dealing with rumors to fan theories and the long-running Guardians of the Galaxy Easter Egg hunt. Most importantly, he is there to set the record straight, which everybody appreciates. You can check out James Gunn's Instagram image of The Suicide Squad cast.
The Suicide Squad has started production. James Gunn quietly revealed the news on social media after a fan asked him about it. The news comes one week after Gunn announced the official cast for the highly anticipated movie, which is much larger than people were expecting. With that being said, Gunn has warned DC fans to not get "too attached," meaning some of these characters more than likely won't be making it out of the movie alive. Fans will all have to start taking bets on who lives in the near future.
Yesterday, James Gunn posted an image from the Kids Climate March in Los Angeles. The image featured a kid holding a sign with Guardians of the Galaxy characters Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon on it with a message about saving the planet. Obviously, Gunn loved the picture and everything that it stands for, so he shared it with his 1.1 million followers. While climate change is a big deal, there are still some DC fans who would rather hear about The Suicide Squad, which was proven when a fan asked when the cameras were going to start rolling. The director said, "I am shooting right now today!!!"
While we know who has been cast in The Suicide Squad, we still don't know who a lot of the actors are playing, save for the ones that were in the first installment or that have been previously announced. Speaking of announced characters, James Gunn has revealed that some of the actor and character news have been false. He had this to say about inaccurate reporting over the last few months.
"Some characters will get out. Some already have although some reported on, including from reputable sources, have been very wrong. But, in all honesty, I don't know if we'll officially release character info for a long, long while to come."
The Suicide Squad cast includes Idris Elba, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion, John Cena, Peter Capaldi, Taika Waititi, Pete Davidson, David Dastmalchian, and Daniela Melchior. With such a large cast, it will be interesting to see what James Gunn has decided to do with the characters. It is believed Rooker is playing King Shark, but like the director said, a lot of information about the casting has proven to be false.
Related: The Suicide Squad Lands Nathan Fillion in Secret Role
Production on The Suicide Squad may have started, but it's going to be a while before we get to see it. The movie isn't set to hit theaters until August 2021, so there's going to be quite a wait. The same can be said for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which James Gunn will be tackling after The Suicide Squad. The third installment of the Guardians franchise was not included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 announcement, so it will likely come out during Phase 5 at some point. You can check out James Gunn's Instagram announcement regarding the production start below. Gunn's reply is in the comments section of the image.
Some characters will get out. Some already have although some reported on, including from reputable sources, have been very wrong. But, in all honesty, I don’t know if we’ll officially release character info for a long long while to come. https://t.co/xvL3jQYfZc
David Ayer is out and James Gunn is in when it comes to continuing the story of the 2016 movie Suicide Squad, but Ayer appears to be handling the situation with class. Following the underperforming reception of the original movie, Warner Bros. opted to take the DCEU in a new creative direction.
Ayer has since officially commented on The Suicide Squad in response to a tweet from a fan on Twitter, making it clear he harbors no negative feelings about it. "[Ayer] did an incredible version and it's now time for Gunn to shin. Please don't attack any of these parties, as all they are doing their good, and they're doing it in style too," the fan wrote on Twitter. Here's what Ayer said in response.
"Exactly! DC is blessed to have James Gunn. I'm getting my popcorn ready."
Written and directed by David Ayer, Suicide Squad was released in 2016. Set in the DCEU and sharing a universe with movies like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, the movie followed the titular team of supervillains recruited to save the world in exchange for significant reductions of their sentences. Its cast included Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as The Joker, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress.
Suicide Squad made a lot of money at the box office, grossing over $746 million in ticket sales. Still, it was met with mostly negative reviews from critics, holding a paltry 27% rotten rating. Criticized for its "muddled plot, thinly written characters, and choppy directing," Suicide Squad left the studio in a bit of a tough spot. Its high ticket sales do show the potential for huge profits to be made with the franchise, but taking it in a different direction with a new filmmaker's vision may help a sequel's chances to fare better critically. Given his track record at Marvel with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, it's easy to see why Warner Bros. signed Gunn to take the keys to the series.
Related: James Gunn's The Suicide Squad Gets Comedian Steve Agee as King Shark
James Gunn's involvement with The Suicide Squad came about as the result of his controversial firing from Marvel Studios and Disney. Although Gunn was set to begin production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he was booted from the project when years-old offensive jokes he had made on his Twitter account had resurfaced. After the controversy died down, Disney and Gunn wound up sorting things out, and Gunn is back on board for the third Guardians movie. However, as he has since committed to The Suicide Squad, it could be a very long time before we see Gunn's return to Marvel happen.
The Suicide Squad is slated to premiere in theaters on Aug. 6, 2021. We'll see how the movie ultimately does at the box office when it's released, but one person we can expect to see in the audience is the director of the first movie. Ayer's comments about Gunn's follow-up come to us from David Ayer on Twitter.