Will Smith Celebrates Superhero Diversity at 'Suicide Squad' Premiere

Director-screenwriter David Ayer has apologized for shouting "F— Marvel!" at the worldwide debut of Warner Bros.' pic about DC supervillains.
Ilya S. Savenok / Getty
From left: Viola Davis, Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto

The beloved supervillains of the DC Comics universe on Monday roamed free on the black, barbed-wired carpet of Warner Bros.’ world premiere of Suicide Squad, where diversity and imperfection were highly celebrated.

"What I love about working with this group, it's a rainbow — it's all races, creeds and colors. It's the diversity and inclusion that this country is supposed to be about," said Will Smith to thunderous applause at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Monday night.

The cast, including Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Karen Fukuhara, Cara Delevingne, Scott Eastwood, David Harbour, Adam Beach, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jim Parrack and Ike Barinholtz, chanted to the audience as they introduced the film, while director-screenwriter David Ayer echoed an audience shout: "F— Marvel!" (He later apologized for doing so on Twitter.) 

Hernandez admitted he feels conflicted about playing Diablo, a villain with pyrotechnic abilities. "Having a Latino superhero is long overdue — we've been waiting for it, and David Ayer had the balls to put it out there," the actor told The Hollywood Reporter. "I can't believe I'm the first one. It's pretty ridiculous not to have diversity in a movie like this."

Added Courtney: "I get to play an Aussie, which is a real thrill for me to take it back home, and yet be so farfetched and fantastical."

Regardless of cultural background, Fukuhara noted that these supervillains "also really reflect humans in real life. Not everyone's perfect, and people relate to that." 

Altogether, playing amoral protagonists was a freeing experience for the ensemble. "When you play a character that has to carry the moral line of a film, you're bound much more by your choices," Smith told THR of playing assassin Deadshot. "But when you play a character that's completely immoral, as an actor, it blows the scene wide open."

Such was especially true for Robbie as Harley Quinn. "I loved not having to abide by the rules," said the actress. "You can do anything in the scene and just assume, 'She can do that, she's crazy!'"

The cast attributed their palpable familial bonds offscreen to Ayer, whom Scott Eastwood said "reminds me of my father [Clint Eastwood]: a no-bullshit kind of guy who knows what he wants and gets it." 

Of strategically building a film with a slew of supervillains, Ayer explained, "It's a bunch of bad guys with good hearts. I think there's room for different versions of this superhero genre. It's like the cowboy movie, which was Hollywood's bread and butter for 70 years. We're gonna continually find ways to reinvent this." 

Suicide Squad opens Friday nationwide.

Aug.1, 8:05 p.m.: Updated to include Ayer's apology on Twitter. 

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