Will Smith is one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, and you can pretty much define exactly what a Will Smith-type role is. The actor is known for usually playing the main character who is typically an inherently good person. He basically always plays the hero, which makes his decision to play Deadshot - who's definitely NOT a hero - in the ensemble focused Suicide Squad all the more interesting. It's a bit of a departure for the actor who was originally on the fence about playing the character. He had never played a killer like Deadshot, but thanks to David Ayer, he was able to find the right mindset to figure out how to play the role.
Will Smith spoke with Entertainment Weekly to promote Suicide Squad, and the actor got to talking about why he wanted to be a part of the DC Comics film. Deadshot in the comics is one of the greatest marksmen in the world, and he rents those skills to the highest bidder; he doesn't exactly have any preference or objections in who his target is. That's a new type of character for Smith and, in the end, the actor decided wanted to do something he'd never done before.
I had never played a character that legitimately didn't give a fuck. It's very freeing not having to carry the moral spine of the movie. I couldn't find a model to understand what would make someone comfortable killing another person for money. David walked me through that. He found a book for me (The Anatomy of Motive by John Douglas), and I worked through getting into the mind of serial killers. Once I accepted the (notion the author puts forth) that it feels good, that really exploded the idea in my mind of Deadshot.
Playing a killer is pretty tough, and Will Smith sounds like he found the right stuff to believably play Deadshot. Smith goes on to explain that, while Deadshot isn't winning any morality contests, he does have a softer side. The only thing in the world he cares about is his daughter, which is both a motive and weakness to the character. He's a hired gun to help support his daughter, but she probably won't be buying him any World's Greatest Dad mugs anytime soon for it. According to Smith, she's his "Achilles Heel."
Will Smith also credited David Ayer for helping him find the characters motivation. He credits him as "the best actor's director" he's ever worked with. That's a relationship that will definitely come in handy for Bright, the fantasy cop film from Netflix that will be Smith and Ayer's next project.
You'll be able to see Will Smith as Deadshot and the rest of team in Suicide Squad which will be releasing in theaters next month on August 5.