Polka-Dot Man's Origin Story, And How James Gunn Directed David Dastmalchian

David Dastmalchian had no idea who Polka-Dot Man was when he was cast in The Suicide Squad. Even as a longtime comic book fan, as well as comic book writer himself, Dastmalchian was stumped. Director James Gunn told him it didn't matter. The not-so-super villain was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff, but Dastmalchian was led by Gunn's vision for the character.

Abner Krill is a mystery to most moviegoers, and to the other characters in the film. Until the truth comes out. We recently spoke with Dastmalchian about the key scene in The Suicide Squad that reveals his tragic past, and what went into filming it.

This post contains spoilers for The Suicide Squad.

Polka-Dot Man first appeared in Detective Comics #300 as a crook aspiring to face-off with Batman and Robin. But the version of Abner Krill seen in The Suicide Squad didn't choose to become Polka-Dot Man. His mother, a scientist, performed cruel experiments on him to unlock superpowers. He was abused. It's a trauma both Gunn and Dastmalchian take seriously, even in a movie featuring a lonely talking shark ripping people apart.

During a memorable scene, Abner reveals his past to his new friends, and they listen and see him beyond the costume. For the scene, Gunn gave Dastmalchian very specific direction, which ended up paying off. The actor recalled:

"It was a hard day for me as an actor and James at one point came to me, put his arm around my shoulder, and just gave me some really simple, but the specific physical direction of gestures that he kind of wanted me to try with my foot and my hip. I did it. We're standing there in the middle of the jungle, which is on the stages of Pinewood in these insane sets. I did this thing, I kind of dug my toe in the sand the way he wanted me to. I kind of looked at the ground and all of a sudden I felt like a 12-year-old standing there facing all the bullies and gym class again. I was like, 'Oh my God. It helps to be in the hands of a genius.'"

Dastmalchian went as far as to make a Polka-Dot Man book, writing stories about the character's past prior to shooting. He has given the character a great deal of thought, and has found a great deal of empathy for him:

"I think that having this really unique power and ability, if he hadn't maybe been so insecure, so broken, so lost emotionally and psychologically, perhaps life and the path would have just been so different. I think that no matter how powerful someone is, no matter how much power someone wields, someone can literally be walking around with the power to detonate every nuclear bomb on the planet, if that person is riddled with insecurity and pain, and there's a broken child living within them, then all that power is useless. And in fact, it can actually turn to bad. People will have to watch the movie to see if Abner's power gets turned to good or bad."

The Suicide Squad is in theaters and on HBO Max now.