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Suicide Squad director David Ayer has absolutely no regrets about working on the film. When DC announced their own cinematic universe based on their characters, their aim was to take chances on creative filmmakers, as demonstrated by handing the reigns to Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League to Zack Snyder. Unfortunately, it appears they don’t always follow through on that endeavor. While Man of Steel seems to have escaped unscathed (Snyder has attributed this to producer Christopher Nolan keeping the studio off his back), Batman v Superman was cut way down for runtime purposes before Snyder’s superior Ultimate Cut was released, and Justice League is already famous for the way Joss Whedon altered Snyder’s original intent.
When Warner Bros. brought in David Ayer for Suicide Squad, the fact that he was best known for gritty thrillers like End Of Watch and Fury, suggested Warners was looking for something darker. However, After Batman V Superman received a critical drubbing, there soon came reports Suicide Squad was being drastically re-edited by the studio to make it lighter, with re-shoots to add more humor. The final edit is said to be a compromise between Ayer’s vision and one mandated by the studio.
Ayer has been vocal about the fact that he should have done things differently, specifically when it comes to the movie’s main villain, but it appears he holds no bitterness about his experience working on the movie, as he recently answered a question on his Twitter account asking if he regrets taking it on. Not only does he feel he grew as a filmmaker because of it, he’s thankful to the studio for taking a chance on him.
Not for a second. Not for one second. I got to work with amazing people. It won an Oscar, did incredible business. Launched a franchise and spinoff. And like it or not it’s halfway to cult status. I grew as a person, grew creatively. Warners took a chance on me. I’m grateful.
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) December 2, 2017
Ayer has always said there would never be a director’s cut of Suicide Squad, and that the version that was released belongs to him. That said, it appears his vision for the story was somewhat darker at one stage. In particular, Jared Leto’s Joker was supposed to be a larger part of the story, and in various deleted scenes he’s shown beating people to death and even attempting to kill Harley Quinn during her rescue. The film as a whole was re-edited to smooth the meaner edges off some of the squad and present them as more heroic.
While Suicide Squad also received mediocre reviews, it was a big hit for the studio, and if nothing else it’s nice to see Ayer is proud of his work. The experience of working with Warners can’t have been that harrowing either, as he’s still attached to Gotham City Sirens, a spin-off that will unite Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman. The director’s next film is Bright, a Netflix original that mixes gritty cop drama with fantasy elements. It’s worth noting that Ayer appears to have had a happier time working with Netflix, and recently praised them for letting him make Bright with little to no creative interference.