One of the things that has helped James Gunn’s comic-book adaptations connect with mainstream audiences is the care and craft that he puts into creating VFX-driven characters. There are just as many fans of Rocket and Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise as there are for, say, Black Widow or Ant-Man, and that’s because Gunn pushes for a magical realism that brings those digital characters to life. They give an actual performance in his movies, sometimes holding together the most emotional sequences in Gunn’s films.
The director continues this streak with his transition to DC Comics, The Suicide Squad, by creating three distinct VFX villains fans will be talking about for weeks after seeing the movie. One is a giant weasel. One is a tiny rat. And the other is the adorable (but deadly) King Shark, who we have seen in the trailers. CinemaBlend recently screened The Suicide Squad and spoke with Gunn afterwards, and when we brought up the creation of King Shark and the process of the visual effects, Gunn told us:
How difficult? So difficult that Gunn said he took a very long time to get to the point where King Shark came across, to him, as a credible character. Even as preliminary VFX shots were coming in from Framestore, the VFX company that completed a lot of King Shark’s composition, Gunn had to apologize and tell the artists that they had to go back to the drawing board, because the concept wasn’t quite working.
As James Gunn elaborated:
The other key element that stymied James Gunn as he worked to perfect King Shark for The Suicide Squad was the villain’s voice. King Shark talks, though mostly in one or two-word bursts of emotion. But Gunn says he couldn’t find the right voice during the production phase. He wrote the part with Sylvester Stallone in mind (the two collaborated on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). And yet, he worried about asking Stallone, just in case it didn’t work. As Gunn explains it:
Happy accidents like that can make or break a character. Credit goes to James Gunn for sticking to his instincts and not going with a different voice, forcing it to work. Sylvester Stallone is perfect for King Shark, as you soon will see/hear.
But what about the character’s outfit? Did he always have golf shorts? According to Gunn, that’s all that would have worked, as he tells CinemaBlend:
When the trailers for The Suicide Squad proclaim “from the horribly beautiful mind of James Gunn,” they are not exaggerating in the least bit. This movie is unfiltered Gunn insanity… including a talking shark in golf shorts. Get ready for this wild DC adaptation, which reaches theaters as well as HBO Max beginning on August 6.
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