Tom Hardy’s off ‘Suicide Squad’ over scheduling, but Gyllenhaal may join in his place

One of the hardest things when  you're casting a big giant Hollywood movie is dealing with the egos, schedules, and demands of movie stars. I learned many things from William Goldman's “Adventures In The Screen Trade,” but first and foremost, I learned that movie stars are both an essential part of the process and that they can also be the biggest enemies to getting a film made.

Tom Hardy is reportedly out of “Suicide Squad” now, and I can't say I'm shocked. Hardy seems like he has an uneasy relationship with the big giant movies that drive Hollywood right now. Sure, he'll make a “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but I get the feeling that was more about working with George Miller than it was about being part of a franchise. Same with his Chris Nolan films. When Hardy makes something like “Locke,” though, it seems like that's more his sweet spot. He seems to be drawn to challenges, to films that push hard to break formula, and that's not really what Hollywood does best. “Bronson” or last year's “The Drop” seem like the kinds of things that he'll always make if given a chance. The piece that Borys Kit wrote pins Hardy's departure on scheduling, and that may well be true. Inarritu's “The Revenant” is evidently a very demanding shoot, and it's running long. Since “Suicide Squad” already has a release date, they may need to start production before Hardy can guarantee he'll be free.

Besides, if Warner really does end up with Jake Gyllenhaal in the role instead of Hardy, there's nothing wrong with that. Gyllenhaal has also become adept at avoiding empty big-ticket movies, no doubt driven by his disastrous experience on “Prince Of Persia” for Disney. When I look at the work he's doing right now in films like “Prisoners,” “Enemy,” and “Nightcrawler,” it's obvious that he has become one of the most adventurous actors around, with such remarkable attention to detail in his performances that he really does seem to be a different person each time out. Gyllenhaal also worked with “Suicide Squad” director in “End Of Watch,” a high point for both actor and director.

I'm so curious about this one. It's a really clever piece of source material overall, and Gyllenhaal would step into an ensemble that includes Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courteney, and Cara Delevingne as Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Boomerang, and Enchantress. I have a feeling one of the most discussed things about the film is going to be their take on the Joker, played here by Jared Leto. There are few roles more iconic, and Heath Ledger set a very high bar for anyone else playing the part.

It feels like this is just as important to the overall plan that Warner has for their DC films as “Justice League,” but in a different way. Just as it was crucial to Marvel's overall plan to prove that they could turn a property like “Guardians Of The Galaxy” into a crossover hit, it's important to show that they can build a movie around characters not named Batman or Superman. I'm also interested to see what rating this gets, and how dark they end up playing the tone. Besides, this is where we'll meet Amanda Waller, presumably played by Viola Davis, who is going to help tie together all of the DC films.

“Suicide Squad” will be in theaters August 5, 2016.