It seems Jared Leto was not the only one messing with people’s heads on the set of DC’s ‘Suicide Squad.’ Recently rumors have come out about the directing practices of David Ayer on set, and the methods he used to get the best performances from his actors. You see, actors and directors have a very intimate relationship on set, as the actors have to trust that the director knows what he is doing, and is only trying to get the best performance out of them on screen. Therefore they often let their guard down and offer intimate details to directors that they might not share with other members of the cast and crew.
Well, it seems that Ayers would often take bits of that intimate information and use it against the actors on set, mentioning specific details or facts just to get a reaction from a cast member during their scene, all in the hopes of bringing out a more raw and honest performance from the actor (one would assume). For example, according to Joel Kinnaman (who plays Rick Flagg):
“David would ask questions where you would reveal your biggest vulnerabilities and the stuff that you are ashamed of. He stored it all in his database, so at the right moment he would completely betray you.”
In the Kinnaman example, apparently Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller is talking to his character and starts calling him some ugly names, names which hit especially hard for Kinnaman as they were things Ayers had told Davis to say based on conversations he had with Kinnaman. The actor later described the tactic as “high-level direction’ through manipulation” and believe it or not, it seems not even Kinnaman was particularly upset about the tactic. In fact, a lot of the cast praised Ayers for his directorial style, though the tactic only has limited usage, as once actors are aware of Ayers and his methods, they are less likely to open up to him and give him personal information.
What are your thoughts on this tactic? Do you think its necessary to almost bully trained actors into getting the performance you need from them? Or was it just harmless button pushing, which the cast later appreciated due to the results? Share your opinions on the matter in the comments section below!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter .