SUICIDE SQUAD

After months of months of hype, Suicide Squad finally hits theaters this weekend… and so far, the buzz has not been great. Sure, it’s got its moments, and yes, it’s on track for a record-breaking opening weekend. But it’s such a mess that it came as little surprise when reports trickled out about the film’s behind-the-scenes woes, including a claim that the studio interfered with director David Ayer‘s more somber vision.

For his part, however, Ayer is standing by his movie. In a recent interview, he insisted that “the released movie is my cut,” though we can probably still expect to see some deleted scenes when Suicide Squad finally makes its way to home video. 

Chatting with Collider, Ayer acknowledged that while plenty of footage was left on the cutting room floor, the final theatrical edit is his cut:

We have a chunk, there’s definitely over 10 minutes of material on there. But this cut of the movie is my cut, there’s no sort of parallel universe version of the movie, the released movie is my cut. And that’s one of the toughest things about writing, shooting, and directing a film, is you end up with these orphans and you fucking love them and you think they’d be amazing scenes and do these amazing things but the film is a dictatorship (laughs), not a democracy, and just because something’s cool and charismatic doesn’t mean it gets to survive in the final cut. The flow of the movie is the highest master.

Ayer sounds proud of his work on Suicide Squad. He admits the going wasn’t always easy, but no movie is. Then again, it seems unlikely Ayer would say otherwise. He’d have little to gain and a lot to lose by trashing his own movie on opening weekend (remember what happened when Josh Trank did that with Fantastic Four?), plus it’d be disrespectful to the many, many other people who helped make the movie.

A report earlier this week claimed Warner Bros. was nervous about Ayer’s darker version of Suicide Squad and pressured him to lighten it up, even bringing in a trailer editing company to assemble an alternate cut for test screenings. But even those insiders agreed that Ayer cooperated throughout the process, so it’s not as if they cut Ayer out completely. Continuing his conversation with Collider, Ayer rightfully points out that filmmaking is a complicated process.

I think there’s a misunderstanding about filmmaking where you can somehow have this crystal ball and understand exactly how everything is going to work together and assemble together. Because remember scripts type words on a page, a black and white page, and when you’re on set you’re dealing with shots and you’re dealing with dailies, and so you have this 7-minute shot and maybe only 10 seconds of that shot is gonna end up in the movie. There’s infinite combinations, infinite knock-on effects, and it’s this strange alchemy that happens and things that you thought during the writing phase breaking your back trying to explain and needs three pages to explain it, you realize it works with just a look on camera in the assembly.

So it’s always a moving target as you try and distill and condense down to the best movie. And this thing was a beast, we had over a million and a half feet of footage, with an ensemble movie, 7 plus major characters that we have to introduce, a very complex story that is not your normal linear story and you’re introducing the audience to a whole new world, plus it just has my sort of sickness as a filmmaker in it, my vibe and attitude. So it just took a lot of work to find the movie, the movie was always there and even in the early cuts we knew we had something, we knew it was going to work, but to get it there… wow.

It sounds like a lot changed over the course of making Suicide Squad — we know a bunch of stuff involving Jared Leto‘s Joker got cut, for starters — but Ayer seems satisfied with the version that made it to screens. For his sake, let’s hope the fans are too.

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