Idris Elba Reveals He Signed On for ‘The Suicide Squad’ Without Knowing Anything


Working with James Gunn was reason enough for Elba to be a part of the project.


Idris Elba signed on for The Suicide Squad without knowing anything about the team or the part he would play, reveals the actor. In a recent interview for Esquire Middle East, Elba also said that he was never supposed to replace Will Smith as Deadshot, and the plan was for him to play a different character all along.

When Elba was first announced as part of The Suicide Squad cast, rumors said the actor would play Deadshot, the master assassin featured in David Ayer’s 2016’s Suicide Squad. The news was quickly dismissed, especially after the bad reception from fans who disapproved of a cast change for a central member of the team. As Elba tells it, “James had really very clearly stated that wasn’t what we were doing.” So what exactly were they doing at the time? Neither of them knew for sure.


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Elba says he signed on just to work with Gunn, as he was sure the plot and characters details would please him once everything was decided. As Elba tells it:

“I signed on because I really wanted to work with James. He’s a genius, I think. I really was so touched and honored that someone of his talent was really keen to work with me, even though we didn’t have a necessary roadmap of who the character was. I very quickly invested in the exploration of that, because we could go anywhere.”

Since The Suicide Squad features a team of DC villains, Gunn had hundreds of characters he could potentially use. Instead of choosing a character and then trying to fit it in the plot, Gunn took the opposite path. Gunn first decided what kind of character he needed for The Suicide Squad, and only then did he and Elba find a suitable DC villain. As Elba explain it:

“Essentially, we got invested in the possibilities. There were maybe a few possibilities of a character from the DC universe that could be implemented into the film. However, what really sat at the heart of it was James wanting to take a sort of old 80s action hero-type character and dismantle that. Then get into these great discussions about what that might look like, and how we do that, and it became very clear that he wanted to use Bloodsport as that character.”

Gunn’s The Suicide Squad will be released in theaters and available for streaming on HBO Max on August 6.

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