Widely considered a creative luminary and a consummate avant-gardist in his own right, James Gunn has come a great distance from writing Scooby Doo to universal acclaim. With a new comic book movie coming out in less than a week, the cast of The Suicide Squad only have praises to sing about the man who created his own wry, comedic subgenre with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) claims Gunn, in all his genius, finally outdid himself making The Suicide Squad, touted to be his greatest work yet.
“Even if this movie wasn’t as incredible as it is, it’s still worth going to the theater just because it’s so nice to be able to go to a movie theater again,” Margot Robbie tells Access on Sunday. “But it just so happens that this is arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest comic book film ever made. You don’t want to miss it.” The Zoom interview with Margot Robbie and David Dastmalchian is right here:
The plaudits are getting more emphatic as audiences eagerly count down to the theatrical release of The Suicide Squad on August 5. Margot Robbie is known for being doubly supportive of her colleagues, but James Gunn may be the one time she isn’t the only outspoken voice gushing about a director’s latest showpiece. The cast is unanimous in their opinions of Gunn; not only is his mind “horribly beautiful,” or so they say, he is reportedly a sweetheart to collaborate with, managing to cultivate a safe, welcome environment free of workplace frustrations, a particularly impressive observation given where comic book fans last saw the DC Extended Universe. Zack Snyder aside, who is notably just as gracious, social media bore witness to Joss Whedon’s set abuses and allegedly, DC bigwigs Geoff Johns and Walter Hamada’s role to play in the mess. When it comes to an ongoing production, the buck stops at the director’s door, and in this case, Gunn is having none of it.
Margot Robbie would agree it’s a welcome respite after years of DC executives getting called out for their unruly behavior. Everyone appreciates a guy unwilling to acquiesce to Hollywood’s most reprehensible habits, especially if they rarely come by to start with. News of Gunn’s on-set behavior is a far cry from the man Disney once booted out for inappropriate Twitter activity. If social media notoriety could be resolved with present-day decorum over unfounded assumptions of what an individual used to be a decade ago, we’ll take it over mob justice any day.
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is emblematic of the emotional trajectory James Gunn experienced going from the first Guardians of the Galaxy, to being cancelled, and finally making the switch from Marvel to DC; there’s a certain grace to both their failings and a modesty to their choice of redemption. The Clown Princess of Crime is no longer defined by her sullied past and chooses to pay everything forward in the hopes of starting fresh. And so is the rest of the Squad, cleaving out a treacherous charge for that one chance at absolution. The film is tantamount to James Gunn crying out, and we’re actually hearing it.
Gunn had trouble hiding his newfound admiration for the character Margot Robbie originated in live-action. “[To] see her grow and make what, for her, are healthy choices — which to a normal person, some of her choices in the movie may seem absolutely insane — but for her, they’re growth,” he explains during a ComicBook.com press junket for The Suicide Squad. “Coming from a very, very, very toxic relationship and wanting to put an end to those types of things for herself. So I think that’s really what it was, just trying to give her the full life of the chaotic trickster on screen and letting her be every inch of Harley Quinn that the world deserves.” And being rudely ejected by the industry that fostered you is another toxic relationship worth burying into the ground. But just as Robbie’s Harley Quinn once found a new home in DC Films, so did James Gunn.
David Dastmalchian, who plays Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad, echoed Gunn in the same Access interview with Margot Robbie. “You don’t want to miss this,” he says. “You want to be back in the movie theater, you want to see it on the big screen, and it’s the most bombastic, bloody, bawdy, crazy comic book movie ever made. It’s James Gunn, and my god, you get to see Harley Quinn like you’ve never seen her before.”
Margot Robbie joins Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, and Peter Capaldi in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, where she reprises her fan-favorite role as Harley Quinn. It comes out theatrically and on HBO Max on August 5.