Shia LaBeouf Reveals That Warner Bros. Didn’t Want Him For ‘Suicide Squad’
Suicide Squad has received a fair amount of criticism since its highly-anticipated release during the summer, and this is still continuing online to this day, but one of the major factors behind the unexpected backlash was the publicized tinkering behind the scenes. It’s no secret that the film underwent last-minute reshoots due to the polarizing reviews of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it has also been revealed that casting the colorful characters was pretty eventful too. Not only did they recast one role, and juggle with several more, but they also omitted some characters entirely.
Looking at the cast list, you have to confess that Warner Bros. provided the goods; Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez — all of the actors brought their respective characters to life and did an excellent job in giving the masses some enjoyment. Yet, it has also come to light that some actors were looked over altogether. This week, actor Shia LaBeouf revealed that director David Ayer approached the Transformers actor for a role in Suicide Squad, but due to intervention from Warner Bros., they confirmed they didn’t want him for the movie.
Shia LaBeouf recently spoke to Variety, during the promotional run for his upcoming drama American Honey, and the actor revealed how Warner Bros. eventually denied him a role in their supervillain blockbuster.
“The character was different initially. Then Will [Smith] came in, and the script changed a bit. That character and Tom [Hardy’s] character [later played by Joel Kinnaman] got written down to build Will up. I don’t think Warner Bros. wanted me. I went in to meet, and they were like, “Nah, you’re crazy. You’re a good actor, but not this one”. It was a big investment for them.”
The role in question, that of Lieutenant “GQ” Edwards, eventually went to Scott Eastwood. As Rick Flag’s right-hand man, the role was small but pivotal in a number of ways. Eastwood’s casting was met with some minor publicity — his character was kept secret on IMDB until days before the release of Suicide Squad, which prompted multiple rumors and fan-chatter. Cinema Blend even suspected that Eastwood’s casting would reveal him to be none other than Slade Wilson, a.k.a Deathstroke, but these rumors eventually fell flat as the character was revealed to be nothing more than an experienced soldier who assists the Squad on their perilous mission.
Shia LaBeouf’s casting would have made for interesting viewing, though. Despite his personal troubles and publicized brushes with the law, he is one of the more talented actors of this generation. Suicide Squad could have been a very different movie with his involvement, which is probably why Warner Bros. said no to begin with. The fact that the studio turned him down for being “crazy” is a little ironic since Jared Leto more than lived up to that moniker; the actor embraced his Joker personality a little too much, and turned out to be more than a handful during production.
LaBeouf wasn’t the first high-profile actor to be denied a Suicide Squad role. As mentioned during his interview, Tom Hardy was the original actor in line to play Rick Flag, but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict with The Revenant. Jake Gyllenhaal also declined the part. Joel Kinnaman was then cast in the role and did an excellent job. Other potential castings provide some interesting insight; the film could have been completely different. Octavia Spencer and Oprah Winfrey were also in contention to play Amanda Waller, and Ryan Gosling was also approached to play the Joker, the iconic role that eventually went to Leto. It’s hard to imagine these roles being played by anyone other than the actors who secured them, but it paints a unique picture of what could have been.
Needless to say, Suicide Squad could have been a different project with the alternate actors involved. With Suicide Squad 2 currently on the rumor mill due to a $700 million box-office take, and the DC characters now more popular than ever, let the wish-list casting for the sequel commence. Who knows, maybe Warner Bros. will change their mind about Shia LaBeouf in time for the second movie?
Starring Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough, American Honey will be released in U.S. theaters on September 30, and UK cinemas on October 14.
Suicide Squad is playing in theaters now.
[Image via Paramount Pictures]