Why Will Smith Was Crucial To Suicide Squad’s Success, According To David Ayer

Will Smith is a Movie Star, capitalized for emphasis. He's one of the biggest stars on the planet (even with the recent struggles of Concussion, Focus and After Earth). The man is used to carrying blockbusters, not giving up the spotlight to be part of a much larger ensemble of colorful characters. And yet, his recent status as a team player is exactly what Suicide Squad needed, and part of the reason why he's crucial to the movie's overall success.

In Suicide Squad, Will Smith plays Deadshot, a brilliant assassin who never misses a target, despite which weapon he's choosing to use. But Smith doesn't steal focus away from the movie, and instead acts as then tide that floats all boats in Squad. I asked David Ayer what Will Smith brought to the production, and he explained to me in an exclusive interview:

[Will] he showed up to be a part of this, a part of something. At the same time, the movie really hangs on his shoulders. The core emotional journey of the movie and the theme is really personified by Deadshot, and Deadshot's hopes and dreams, and I needed somebody who... I needed a veteran. I needed a pro. Because I knew I had this ensemble cast, and there's some younger actors in there. I needed someone that I knew they would look up to, and they did on set, and he was a great leader and a great ally on set. On the screen, it also feels like he's earned the right to tell these people what to do.

You simply can't put a price on experience. Will Smith has been delivering hits for decades, so there's an instant level of trust on the part of a director like David Ayer that Smith is going to be a total professional, and not overplay any material for the benefit of "Will Smith, The Actor." The two-time Oscar nominee has shown over the years that he's interested in doing what is right for the movie, whether it's going toe-to-toe with Martin Lawrence, playing off Jeff Goldblum, or carrying his son's dramatic weight in The Pursuit of Happyness or After Earth.

You can see the type of leader Deadshot ends up being in the most recent Suicide Squad trailer:

And Deadshot already has been rumored to be part of DC's future film plans. He may show up opposite Ben Affleck's Batman in a solo Batman movie. He may be part of a Suicide Squad 2, if that happens. Once you have Will Smith in your stable, you use him. See what he does with this engaging character when Suicide Squad opens on August 5.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.