Speaking with Jon Bernthal on the Real Ones podcast, the director candidly discussed his 2016 DC movie, which was a commercial success for Warner Bros. but a critical failure. In the interview, Ayer unpacked the heartbreak he felt when his dark, grounded version of the movie was negatively altered by powers outside of his control. "That s--t broke me," the director said. "That handed me my ass."
He continued, "Hollywood, I tell people, is like watching someone you love get f---ed by someone you hate."
Ayer revealed that the surprise success of Deadpool in early 2016, coupled with the mixed reactions to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, prompted Warner Bros. to retool Suicide Squad, which released in August of that year. "Deadpool opened, and then they never tested Batman v. Superman, so they put the movie out there and they never did a test," Ayer said. "And they were expecting a different result, and then they got hammered by all the critics, and then it's like, 'Okay, we're gonna turn David Ayer's dark, soulful movie into a f---ing comedy now.'"
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Warner Bros. Pictures David Ayer; Margot Robbie in 'Suicide Squad'
Ayer claims that his original footage was so impressive that there were rumblings within WB that Ayer would graduate to a leadership position within DC. "And during a time, during Suicide Squad, when the dailies were coming in, people were like 'oh s---, maybe Ayer's gonna take over DC,'" Ayer said. "It's Game of Thrones in there. The palace politics were insane."
He said that he still has access to his original director's cut of the movie. "They never tested my cut, and the thing is, I have it, I f---ing have it, and if I didn't, oh my God…" Ayer said. "Everyone I've shown the cut has the same reaction: rage. Like, 'this is the movie we wanted, why didn't we get this?'"
The director is unsure if his cut of the movie will ever be seen by the public. "It's like Schrödinger's Cut now," Ayer said. "Is it more legendary to see it or more legendary to not see it? I talked to James Gunn, and look... he's trying to figure that whole mess out."
Earlier this month, Ayer took to social media to claim that Gunn told him his cut would have [its] time to be shared." He elaborated to Bernthal: "They wanna get some scores on the board first, you know? I have, I show people, but… it's tough because I wanna f---ing move on from it, I wanna heal from it."
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