Suicide Squad's David Ayer Shares The Pressures of Making A Comic Book Movie


It takes but a casual look at the top domestic grossing films of all time to see the impact of "geek culture" on the film industry: it virtually runs it. In the top 10: Three Star Wars films, four comicbook movies, and two more science fiction. The next ten? Another three comicbook movies. Superhero films are big business, and that means if you're one of the lucky few that becomes the director of one of these movies, the pressure is immediately on. When we talked to Suicide Squad director David Ayer during a set visit last summer, he recognized that pressure right away.

"It's impetus not to f**k it up," Ayer said of doing a film like Suicide Squad in the world of DC Comics with a laugh. "Look, I'm a fan too. I believe in canon, and I believe in being respectful to how story-lines and characters interlock, and understanding how not to break things, I think, is the number one thing. How not to break a character. How not to do something that encroaches in the story-lines and histories that have come before. I think that you have to be really... It's like archaeology. It's nuts!"

Speaking of working in the comicbook world in general, he compared it to his work on Fury, where it's "all about world creation, even though it's a depiction of a historical event. You're trying to recreate things that exist and existed." That sense of bringing something that exists in one way to life in another taught Ayer "to think in terms of creating a visual world, and creating a layered visual world."

Comics also have their own unique strength of storytelling that Ayer, a fan of DC Comics in particular since he was a young child, recognized right away as a filmmaker.

"As a storyteller there is a mythological power in comic books. In a lot of ways, comic book characters are the avatars for Gods. They are very much of the Greek or Roman pantheon. There's something about the epic quality of that kind of character, of these characters that are avatars and almost have these super-human powers. Some do have super-human powers. Then to reverse-engineer that into a psychologically realistic space and execution just seems like the perfect assignment for me."


There's also the nature of working in the larger DC Universe, which he called "a fractal," but assured fans that "the backbone of this story is right out of canon, and it's one comic book. I'm not going to say which one. Eventually people might figure it out."

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Speculate away, DC Comics and Suicide Squad fans. You have until tonight to figure it out for yourself.