Casting Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad was never going to be easy, as she's one of the most beloved comic book characters of all time. However, David Ayer got incredibly lucky by locking down Margot Robbie -- an actress who, in retrospect, seems tailor-made for the part. That said, it doesn't sound like the folks behind Suicide Squad had to try too hard to convince Robbie to sign on, as she was already a massive fan of Ayer's work on End of Watch and wanted to collaborate with him. Robbie opened up about the Suicide Squad negotiation process and explained:
The reason I signed on for Suicide Squad was because I love End of Watch so much and I saw it about four times at the cinema.
Margot Robbie made this confession during an appearance on Variety's Actors on Actors show, highlighting the shared creative DNA between Jake Gyllenhaal and herself. She saw the pseudo found footage cop thriller (which features the Stronger star in the lead role) several times back when it debuted in theaters in 2012, so she jumped at the chance to work with David Ayer when the opportunity arose. In the end, that opportunity was a DC movie about a lesser known villain team called Task Force X.
For those of you who haven't seen it, End of Watch is a grounded and gritty thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as two hotshot LAPD cops. The film follows them through their day-to-day patrols around the city, but when they interfere with a Mexican cartel, they find themselves in the crosshairs of an entire criminal empire. The film is unflinchingly brutal, but is ultimately anchored by the brotherhood of its two leads.
Looking beyond Margot Robbie's personal affinity for End of Watch, it's clear that there is a strong fan following for the film. That likely has quite a bit to do with the fact that it feels far more like a David Ayer movie than Suicide Squad. To date, the Task Force X DCEU adventure is the director's only PG-13 film, and it's quite distinct from his other gritty projects (most of which examine the lives of law enforcement officials) dealing with small-scale, street-level conflicts.
Given the polarized response that Suicide Squad received, one has to wonder if David Ayer would've made something closer to End of Watch if given another shot at the film. In fact, the director recently spoke out about Suicide Squad and admitted that he thinks that Jared Leto's Joker should've been the central antagonist of the movie -- which would've immediately scaled the story down from the city-destroying abilities of Cara Delevingne's Enchantress. We will never know how that version of Suicide Squad would have been different, but it's clear that David Ayer's previous work had a significant impact on which actors chose to sign on for his DC film.
As for Margot Robbie's next project, you can catch her as Tonya Harding when I, Tonya debuts in theaters on December 8. Beyond Ms. Robbie's filmography, you can take a look at CinemaBlend's 2017 movie premiere guide and our 2018 movie premiere guide for more information on the next year of major movie releases.