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DC Comics' upcoming antihero comic book movie Suicide Squad is set to be populated by a cast filled with talented actors - but today the project has lost one of its key names. Tom Hardy, who had signed on to the film to play team leader Rick Flag, has reportedly decided not to take part and has dropped out of the feature.
This surprising news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter, and the reason is unfortunately a very standard one. According to sources, Tom Hardy has been forced to leave Suicide Squad due to scheduling issues. He is currently in the midst of working on Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio, and apparently that shoot is set to go on longer than initially expected. This has resulted in Hardy being unavailable for when the DC Comics movie needs to shoot in order to make its 2016 release date. Also not helping is the fact that the comic book film is scheduled to start production around the same time that Tom Hardy is going to be going on a worldwide tour promoting the release of George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road.
By leaving the project, Tom Hardy is leaving behind the chance to work as part of a pretty fantastic ensemble, as Suicide Squad is still set to star Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jared Leto as The Joker, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, and potentially Jesse Eisenberg and Viola Davis as Lex Luthor and Amanda Waller, respectively. It's not entirely clear at this point what the film will actually be about, but Hardy's role would have seen him playing the leader of the film's titular group, which consists of dangerous convicted criminals who are willing to take part in deadly black ops missions for the government as a means to commute their individual sentences.
Had Tom Hardy stayed aboard Suicide Squad, it would have been the second movie he made based on a DC Comics property. In 2012 he grew to monstrous proportions to play Bane in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises - which was met with mixed reactions. Playing Rick Flag in David Ayer's film would have provided him with a very different kind of comic book character to work with and new areas to explore, so it's pretty disappointing that he won't be a part of the project.
The Tom Hardy-less Suicide Squad will be going into production this spring, with Warner Bros. having penciled in the film for a August 5, 2016 release date. Presumably the folks behind the film will work fast to try and find a replacement to play Rick Flag in the movie, so stay tuned for news on that front in the coming weeks.