Creating King Shark for The Suicide Squad

In Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, director James Gunn made us fall in love with a big talking tree with limited vocabulary and a bitter anthropomorphic raccoon with a penchant for bursts of rage and stealing people’s prosthetic body parts. That’s no easy feat, but it turns out the most difficult walking-talking animal character the filmmaker had to deal with came from the upcoming DC Comics movie The Suicide Squad.

Sylvester Stallone is lending his voice to a big, dumb, flesh-hungry, bipedal shark appropriately named King Shark. It turns out trying to bring the new member of Task Force X to life for the big screen proved to be much more challenging to develop than both Groot and Rocket Raccoon for Marvel Studios.

GamesRadar has a big feature story on The Suicide Squad with plenty of insight from director James Gunn and the film’s cast. Amongst all the new details about the making of the movie, Gunn explained why King Shark was a difficult character to bring to life, even compared to a similar challenge he faced with Rocket Raccoon. The director said:

“Rocket was hard because it’s difficult taking an animal and turning it into a humanoid shape, but it’s five times more difficult to do that with a shark – it was a very, very painstaking process.”

With a raccoon, you have a creature with arms and legs. Even though the animal typically walks on all fours, they are able to stand on their hind feet, and it’s not hard to imagine them walking upright like people. Cartoons have helped make that more easy to accept as well, but there’s still the challenge of making the character look photorealistic and believable next to human characters. That’s infinitely harder when you’re taking an aquatic animal with no feet that doesn’t have the slightest human-like shape or features.

But beyond that, there’s also the character side of King Shark that made him difficult to crack.

The Suicide Squad - King Shark

King Shark Isn’t Easy to Get Along With

James Gunn talked a little bit about how King Shark’s demeanor and personality make him much different from Rocket and Groot, especially since there’s a lot of moral ambiguity within him, hence his involvement in The Suicide Squad. Gunn explained:

“From a character standpoint he’s very different from [Rocket and Groot], because at the end of the day, with the Guardians, we know they’re good. That isn’t true of the Suicide Squad. King Shark is a fish and he eats human beings. He doesn’t have such a mammalian love for people. But he wants to belong and he wants to show that he’s smart. And he’s not.”

Oh, it’s already clear how stupid King Shark is. The Suicide Squad trailer shows the beefy character sitting in on a mission briefing and the only thing he offers up is recognition that he has a hand. But that’s exactly what’s going to make a bloodthirsty character like that so endearing to audiences, and we’re certain King Shark is going to be a fan favorite just like Rocket and Groot. Plus, even though he eats people, he’s still a walking, talking shark wearing shorts, and that’s just adorable. So hopefully all the time James Gunn and his crew had to spend getting the character just right will be worth it in the end.

King Shark and Friends The Suicide Squad will arrive in theaters and on HBO Max starting on August 6, 2021.

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