Warner Bros.’ soon-to-be-released Suicide Squad has not been well-received by critics (to say the least), and as is often the case these days, that critical drubbing is being accompanied by a rather unflattering behind-the-scenes expose. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the making of Suicide Squad was a mess of impossible deadlines, creative confusion, and hurt feelings.
Apparently the problems started when Warner Bros. gave themselves a little over a year-and-a-half to produce Suicide Squad from scratch. Pushing the release date back wasn’t an option, so director David Ayer had to write the script in six weeks then immediately launch into production.
Ayer, who’d never previously shot a huge tentpole film, aimed for a dark, edgy tone, but Warner Bros., unsettled by the negative reaction to Batman v Superman, wanted a movie in the same tone as the well-received Suicide Squad trailers. While Ayer was still working on his version of the movie, those in charge hired Trailer Park, the company behind Suicide Squad‘s teasers, to cut its own version of the film.
As of May of this year, there were two completely different cuts of the film – Ayer’s downbeat version, and a wacky graphics and classic rock-packed take cooked up by the trailer guys. Both versions were screened for test audiences, and finding a middle ground reportedly involved “a lot of panic and ego.”
David Ayer was not happy with the process, and it seems like Warner Bros. might have felt the same, as they passed on Ayer’s next project, Bright. Despite the reports of behind-the-scenes turmoil, Ayer and WB executive Greg Silverman were all smiles in a joint statement…
“This was an amazing experience. We did a lot of experimentation and collaboration along the way. But we are both very proud of the result. This is a David Ayer film, and Warners is proud to present it.”
This raises the question, given the negative reaction to Suicide Squad and other big studio projects like Fantastic Four and Batman v Superman, of whether or not Hollywood’s currently-popular style of very hands-on management of tentpole films is sustainable. It’s hard to read the piece, which is very much worth reading in full, without drawing the conclusion that it might not be.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)