There are many horror stories from the set of “Suicide Squad.” For his comic book movie about a team of villains rounded up to save the world, filmmaker David Ayer (“End of Watch,” “Fury”) encouraged his actors to get really, really, really into character. Some took it too far: Jared Leto got so into playing the Joker that he mailed fellow cast members condoms. There was only one crazy thing Viola Davis had to do. As Amanda Waller, the manipulative government official who created the squad, she was asked to keep calling her fellow actor Joel Kinnaman, who plays a solder, a “p—ssy.”
And yet Davis, 50, couldn’t have had a better time. Still reeling from reuniting with the close-knit cast for the “Suicide Squad” junket, the two-time Oscar-nominee and Emmy-winner gushes about a very unique experience.
Apart from calling Kinnaman a “p—ssy,” were there other things Ayer would do to get you in character?
Besides calling him a “bitch” and a “p—ssy” [laughs], that was pretty much the height of it. But what [Ayer] constantly encouraged me to do was tap into my power and not shy away from it at all. Whenever I did something, he would say, “Nah-uh. Louder! Harder!” It was very liberating for me. It was a great exercise in terms of tapping into my power and understanding how much further I need to go in my life.
Have you ever experienced something like this kind of production? Doing a play might be somewhat similar to this.
No. It just became a different sort of camaraderie. We had a rehearsal period of four weeks where they encouraged everyone to just go for it, to share their intimate secrets. The members of the “Suicide Squad” had sparring watches and spent a lot of time training together. We just got to know each other and it created this atmosphere of safety and togetherness. By the time we started shooting we really felt like a team.
What were some of the things you had to do in terms of prep?
I had to go to gun training. I learned about the larger weapons, the semi-automatic, the 9mms. In the past I’ve done so much training with the FBI, so I knew that in and out already.