Will Smith joining the cast of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was one of the more surprising and exciting casting announcements made last year before production began. Smith was at one point considered the king of the Fourth of July weekend when it came to his blockbuster films like Wild Wild West, Men in Black, and, of course, Independence Day. And he was always a likeable guy, playing charming, charismatic characters who are (mostly) good.
It’s exactly why Will Smith playing Floyd Lawton/Deadshot in Suicide Squad is such an interesting choice for the actor at this stage in his career. Smith isn’t even leading the film on his own — he’s part of a large ensemble cast, something else that he’s rarely ever done.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor recently spoke with EW about Deadshot and exactly why it appealed to him.
“I had never played a character that legitimately didn’t give a f***. It’s very freeing not having to carry the moral spine of the movie.”
That’s exactly what the actor has done throughout most of his career. It may even be a bit hard for some audience members to view Will Smith as an unlikable killer, let alone one who really enjoys it. This was something Will struggled with in the beginning of the process.
“I couldn’t find a model to understand what would make someone comfortable killing another person for money,” Smith said, going on to add how the film’s director, David Ayer, helped him discover who this character is.
“David walked me through that,” Will continued. “He found a book for me (The Anatomy of Motive by John Douglas), and I worked through getting into the mind of serial killers. Once I accepted the [notion the author puts forth] that it feels good, that really exploded the idea in my mind of Deadshot.”
Actress Viola Davis, who is playing Amanda Waller in the film, went through a similar process. She read a book called Confessions of a Sociopath, which helped her get into the mind of her character. Although Floyd Lawton/Deadshot is not going to be completely villainous in this story, and he will have a bit of a weak spot, at least when it comes to one person in his life.
“His Achilles heel is his daughter,” Will Smith said. “He loves this little girl and that creates this bizarre conflicting mindset where he enjoys killing people but that’s something this little girl doesn’t want from him. She wants a daddy.”
His daughter is Zoe Lawton, created by Christos Gage and Steven Cummings, who made her first appearance in Deadshot #1 in 2005. Floyd finds out about her years after she was born, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the film will go in that direction. We will more than likely see some flashbacks to Floyd spending time with his daughter before he gets taken to prison and recruited to be part of this dangerous team of supervillains.
Director David Ayer also weighed in on Will Smith’s role in the film and how proud he is to have worked with the actor. From what Ayer says, it sounds like audiences will see something new from Smith this time around.
“I’m so proud of what he did in this,” said David. “I think that’s going to be one of the surprises [of the movie.] It feels like he found something new. He found a different gear in this.”
David Ayer’s Suicide Squad stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Karen Fukuhara, Joel Kinnaman, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Cara Delevingne. The film opens August 5, 2016.
[Image via Warner Bros.]