Suicide Squad Director Says Studio Ruined The Movie

Suicide Squad is being disowned by its director.

By Apeksha Bagchi | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is just days away from debuting across theaters as well as on HBO Max and already the early reviews of the film have compared it to the weakest points in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad which was released in 2016. And Ayer, who has on many instances stressed that the Suicide Squad which got released was not how he had created it, has once again came forward to defend his creation with a scathing open letter wherein the director shared the difficult life he has led since childhood, how his experiences influenced his work, and the fact that the theatrical version of the film is “not my movie.”

Since 2020 and especially since Zack Snyder’s four-hour-long cut of Justice League was finally released, David Ayer has been pretty vocal that even though the credits of Suicide Squad list him as its director, it is not the film he helmed. In the past, he has shared how his “soulful drama was beaten into a comedy” and received the “Edward Scissorhands treatment.” Ayer has even expressed the desire to put together the director’s cut of the film in response to the massive #ReleaseTheAyerCut campaign. 

Recently, the director was again pushed to defend his film when film critic Tim Grierson tweeted that while watching Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, he often thought that Ayer should “just abandon the idea of that director’s cut.” In response to the critical comment on his film, Ayer has taken to Twitter to share a length post wherein he expresses how the continuous ridicule of his work has affected him. After emotionally detailing the difficult childhood he leads and how his horrifying experiences only taught him to pour his soul into his work, he addresses the making of Suicide Squad and how the studio taking over his film broke his heart. 

“I put my life into ‘Suicide Squad,’” he writes. “I made something amazing. My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some bad people who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again. And my cut is not the 10-week director’s cut – it’s a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy. It’s all Steven Price’s brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing.”

He adds that his original cut of Suicide Squad has traditional character arcs and impressive performances by the cast. The cut even has a “solid third-act resolution” and has only been seen by a handful of people. So, not everyone knows how his vision really played out as the studios cut of the film butchered what he had planned. 

He goes on to directly address Grierson’s comment that he should quit hoping to get his cut of Suicide Squad released. Ayer explained that given the harrowing life he has lead in the past, it should be apparent that he never quits. He disclosed that when the studio took over the editing of the film, he returned home with his “heart torn out.” And by quitting now, he doesn’t want to set a bad example for his kids. 

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He further adds that in the past, he never told his side of the story despite the “shocking personal criticism” that has been directed at him for a film that no longer resembles what he created as he is “old school like that.” But despite the negative reaction to Suicide Squad that continues to this day, he feels nothing but pride for James Gunn as he knows that his The Suicide Squad will be a success. Despite his experience with the studio, he is “thrilled” that DCEU is “getting the legs it needs” as Gunn’s film will be the miracles of miracles.” Ayer concludes his post by establishing that he will no longer be publicly addressing any criticisms aimed at Suicide Squad. 

Even though WB’s Ann Sarnoff has already shot down the idea of ever releasing the Ayer Cut, #ReleaseTheAyerCut continues to grow and lives on. A few years ago, the Snyder Cut of Justice League seemed impossible too, thus it won’t be logical to outright scratch the possibility of Ayer’s original version of Suicide Squad seeing the light of day as well.