10:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Will Smith Bonded With 'Suicide Squad' Cast Over Rapping, Ping-Pong
A version of this story first appeared in the Dec. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Sounds like David Ayer’s intensive rehearsal process for Suicide Squad paid off for the film’s talent with help from Will Smith.
The filmmaker — known for requesting that his actors undergo weeks of rehearsals prior to shooting — gathered actors including Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje close to six weeks before principal photography commenced to rehearse.
"When we got to the film, we were already a squad," Akinnuoye-Agbaje tells THR of the Warner Bros. project based on the DC Comics property. "We partied together, we ate together, we worked out together. What you’ll see in the movie, the relationships are very organic, and that’s David’s process. He wanted a real team of people that he handpicked to get along. It brought us together as a unit."
But it wasn’t all work.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje adds that Smith requested that a "rec room" be built for the actors so they could continue bonding offscreen in extracurricular ways courtesy of a ping-pong table, basketball hoops and even a deejay booth.
"It was a real Disneyland," he says of the room, located in the parking lot in between trailers on the Pinewood Studios lot in Toronto. "If you’re going to do those type of movies, he’s the guy you want to do them with. And that’s the way to do it."
Anything scandalous ever happen in said rec room? "There are some things I can’t say," he laughs, before revealing what he could. "There were a lot of birthdays because there are a lot of Leos in the cast, so we had a lot of parties. But we’d watch football games, boxing fights and play music."
And even the Fresh Prince made a cameo. "There was a DJ set where Will started rapping. He was the one rallying the troops. He’s a consummate professional and celebrity and he’s a mentor to me in that regard because he shows you how it should be done."
Akinnuoye-Agbaje also seems to know what he's doing. The actor currently stars in Trumbo and opposite Smith in another highly anticipated film, Concussion.