The Suicide Squad Director James Gunn Says Idris Elba Exceeded Expectations as Bloodsport

The Suicide Squad writer-director James Gunn lauds star Idris Elba on his birthday, saying the actor went "beyond expectations" as Bloodsport in their first collaboration. The now 48-year-old actor, who played the all-seeing Heimdall in Marvel Studios' Thor and Avengers franchises before joining the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker in the DC Extended Universe, portrays a high-tech assassin imprisoned for shooting Superman (Henry Cavill) with a Kryptonite bullet. Bloodsport, real name Robert DuBois, is conscripted by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) as a member of the expendable Task Force X — the so-called Suicide Squad — and aims for a commuted prison sentence bringing him closer to a reunion with daughter Tyla (Storm Reid).

"I rarely write roles for actors I've never met, but I did exactly that for @idriselba in #TheSuicideSquad & couldn't be happier I did - you went beyond my expectations as an actor AND as a human being," Gunn wrote in an Instagram post alongside a capture from The Suicide Squad's star-studded DC FanDome panel. "I can't wait for folks to see you as #Bloodsport."

Teasing Elba's role in an August tweet, Gunn remarked he hadn't seen "a single person" guess that the Luther star is playing Bloodsport. The DC comic books depict DuBois, one of three people to adopt the mantle of Bloodsport, as a paramilitary-styled mercenary who is gripped by his obsession with the Vietnam War.

During the online-only DC FanDome event, where Warner Bros. debuted first footage, Peter Safran described the "completely unique" Suicide Squad as a "gritty, 1970s war movie combined with the brilliance of James Gunn's characters and comedy."

Added Elba in a first-look reel offering a peek at the revamped roster, "The Suicide Squad is just a twisted fantasy of characters. It's like a big, massive graphic novel brought to life."

Joining Elba are fellow franchise newcomers Michael Rooker as Savant, David Dastmalchian as Polka-Dot Man, Steve Agee as King Shark, Daniel Melchoir as Ratcatcher 2, Flula Borg as Javelin, Mayling Ng as Mongal, Alice Braga as Sol Soria, Pete Davidson as Blackguard, Nathan Fillion as TDK, Sean Gunn as Weasel, Peter Capaldi as The Thinker, and John Cena as Peacemaker.

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Returning stars from the David Ayer-directed Suicide Squad include Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and Davis as Waller.

Also starring Joaquin Cosio as General Mateo Suarez, Juan Diego Botto as Luna, Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt, and Taika Waititi in an unknown role, James Gunn's The Suicide Squad opens in theaters on August 6, 2021.