Viola Davis closing in on overall deal to play Amanda Waller in DC movie universe

If Viola Davis is going to be the Samuel L. Jackson of the DC movie universe, I am perfectly fine with that.

If you're not terribly familiar with Amanda Waller, the character she is in final negotiations to play in a number of different DC movies, let me recommend a recent DC animated film to you as a sort of crash course in both Waller and the Suicide Squad. “Batman: Assault on Arkham” will give you a pretty decent idea of what you can expect when David Ayer's “Suicide Squad” hits theaters in August of 2016.

CCH Pounder plays the role in that film, and she also played that part on the “Justice League” animated series. On “Smallville,” it was Pam Grier who played the part. Waller also appeared in a very brief couple of scenes in the live-action “Green Lantern,” where Angela Bassett played the part. I love Viola Davis, certainly, but I am equally fond of Bassett, and I suspect that if “Green Lantern” had done well and been creatively satisfying, Bassett would have been DC's unifying actor. But that film was such a profound misstep by the studio that they can't even contemplate using the same actor. It's clear looking at who has played her before that there is a type when casting Waller, and that type appears to be “totally awesome badass actresses.”

While it's easy and convenient to make the Nick Fury comparison, Waller's a far shadier figure, and it sounds like the film version will continue to walk a morally ambiguous line. Davis has been talking about the role during the press junket for “Blackhat,” and it's exciting to see her enthusiasm.

One of the major ways that DC and Warner can stand apart from Marvel is the tone they take in approaching these properties, and there's something darker and more mythic about the way they seem to be approaching this new series. Davis has been on fire lately, winning over a lot of new audiences with “How To Get Away With Murder,” and she's going to make a really strong center for what is a tricky ensemble film.

The cast for “Suicide Squad” is great, and again, it looks like Warner thinks of this as something that is a major movie. If they approach all of these DC films this way, then at the very least, they'll be well-intentioned. You can't be embarrassed making material like this, and this casting shows that they're aiming for the best cast they can get.

“Suicide Squad” arrives in theaters August 5, 2016.