The Suicide Squad’s David Dastmalchian Gets Candid About Why His Polka-Dot Man Role ‘Resonated’ With Him

David Dastmalchian in The Suicide Squad

James Gunn’s newly released The Suicide Squad introduced a number of new villains that missed out on Task Force X's first cinematic outing, aside from a slightly altered version of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and a few other familiar faces. Among the lesser known villains that the director gave new life to is the Polka-Dot Man, who was both played by and written for David Dastmalchian. The actor really found himself drawn to the character, and he's now getting candid about exactly why the character “resonated” with him so strongly.

David Dastmalchian is an actor who has played a lot of different supporting roles in huge productions and has amassed a number of credits in comic book movies. In fact, Polka-Dot Man isn’t even the only Batman villain he has played, as he previously portrayed the Joker’s henchman in The Dark Knight. Despite having a large codex of comic book characters to his name, in an interview with NME, Dastmalchian explains that his The Suicide Squad character’s dark past and mindset were the first things that "instantly resonated" with him. Here’s what he says, exactly:

The first was his struggle with morbid depression, which I have battled the majority of my life. I have been working actively on my mental wellbeing for the past 19 years, so thankfully I am now in a place where I can more readily access my baseline [for a performance]. In the past, I felt so plagued by my inner darkness, and by my feelings of shame, isolation and despair, that I attempted to take my life several times.

David Dastmalchian is certainly not the only celebrity to struggle with his mental health and speak out publicly about it, but it is still a borderline taboo topic. This is especially true for people like Dastmalchian who have battled even darker struggles like suicidal tendencies. The 44-year-old actor also struggled with a heroin addiction in the past. Unfortunately, addiction is not unusual for people who have intense struggles with their mental health.

In the same interview, David Dastmalchian explained that another aspect of Polka-Dot Man’s arc in The Suicide Squad that he related to was the character's need to go on Task Force X's dangerous assignment. As Dastmalchian points out, the mission was a way for the character to “end his suffering." Here it is in the actor’s own words:

When he’s offered an opportunity to go on this mission, he’s grateful for it, because he’s finally going to get to end his suffering – and that’s a feeling I knew deeply.

While people who struggle with addiction and mental health issues, in many cases, do so for their entire life, it's always great to see when someone gets the upper hand on their struggles. It definitely appears that David Dastmalchian has conquered a lot of those past struggles he speaks about and was able to safely revisit them with his The Suicide Squad character.

You can catch David Dastmalchian's excellent performance in The Suicide Squad by checking it out in theaters or on HBO Max. And you'll soon be able to see the actor in Dune, which will also receive a dual release on October 22.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.