While the critics pretty much dismissed it, the DC Comics movie Suicide Squad was nonetheless a box office success, largely due to the performances of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (especially), Jared Leto as the Joker (not as much) and Will Smith doing his thing as the assassin Deadshot. Now writer/director James Gunn (late of the Guardians of the Galaxy films) is onboard for the sequel, but it seems that none of those stars — including Will — are coming back for the flick, which will likely feature a new group of characters and/or actors, including Idris Elba stepping in as Deadshot.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Sources say that Elba met with Gunn on Friday and it went so swimmingly that talks began with the studio in earnest. Elba was the first and only choice for Gunn and the studio. Warners is extremely high on The Suicide Squad and its script, written by Gunn — so much so that the pic is barreling forward into the casting stage after Gunn quickly turned out several drafts. Before his boarding, the project ambled for a couple of years with a revolving door of writers and directors.”
The premise of the comic the films are based on is that a secret government agency, which is led by Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis in the first movie), brings together imprisoned super villains and forces them to undertake dangerous black op missions to save the world in exchange for reduced sentences. Will’s character of Deadshot is described as a mercenary and assassin by day and a concerned father by night. The character loves what he does, yet is torn by the intense love he feels for his daughter.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Will previously said of playing Deadshot, “I had never played a character that legitimately didn’t give a f–k. It’s very freeing not having to carry the moral spine of the movie.”
In terms of “finding” the character, he credited director David Ayers for leading him to the John Douglas book The Anatomy of Motive. “I couldn’t find a model to understand what would make someone comfortable killing another person for money,” he explained. “Once I accepted [the author’s notion] that it feels good, that really exploded the idea in my mind of Deadshot.”
Movies based on DC Comics characters seem to have gotten on the right track with Wonder Woman, Aquaman and positive advance word on Shazam! and Joker, as well as excitement building for Margot’s Birds of Prey in which she reprises the role of Harley Quinn. But there were a number of creative missteps along the way, including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League and Suicide Squad.
This September, Will provides his voice for the CG film Spies in Disguise, which is described as follows: “When an unexpected event puts the world in peril, Lance Sterling, the world’s greatest super spy, must team up with his gadget inventor Walter in order to save the day while disguised as a pigeon.” Walter is voiced by Spider-Man actor Tom Holland.
In October, he’ll star in Gemini Man as Henry Brogen, an aging assassin seeking to exit his career finds himself going against a younger clone of himself, who can predict his every move. He’s also been signed to play Richard Williams, father of tennis greats Venus Williams and Serena Williams, in King Richard.