After Warner Bros. stunned even non-comic fans with their star-studded cast of Suicide Squad, there was one key role left unfilled, with legendary actress/talk show host Oprah Winfrey rumored to be the studio’s top choice. The role in question was that of ‘Amanda Waller,’ the no-nonsense government agent responsible for overseeing the eponymous squad – a role reported to be played by Viola Davis (The Help, How to Get Away With Murder).
Those reports claimed that Davis – yet another potential Oscar-calibre cast member for a film once thought to be a second-tier WB/DC property – had simply been offered the part, but had yet to sign on the dotted line. Speaking with Nerd Report during the promotional tour for her upcoming hacker film Blackhat, Davis addressed the role and her casting directly.
Unfortunately, Davis still speaks vaguely about just how attached she is to the production; but explicit confirmation or not, she’s already showing interest in bringing one of the more complex antagonists of the DC Comics universe to life:
“I have not started reading [the comic book source material] yet. I’ve read up about her but I’m working out my schedule for Suicide Squad… I’m fascinated by her. I’m fascinated by her in this world of superhero-ness because she is not a woman that you would expect. I think that she is a massive contradiction. She’s this big powerful black woman, hard, ready to pick up a gun and shoot anyone at will. I’m fascinated in exploring her psychology, just put it that way. And I’m excited to pick up a gun.”
“You know, I’ve done action before but I guess a lot of those scenes were cut in movies. Yeah, [Blackhat] was good research because I certainly had to do a lot of it.”
Fans of the comics will be pleased to hear just how quickly Davis has keyed in on the most compelling aspects of Waller’s character. It’s fair to say that the elements of Amanda Waller that fascinate the actress are the same ones which have made her such a lasting presence in DC’s universe, taking on a more prominent role in the comics, animation, and even the TV universe. But the fact that Davis was sought out for the role also provides insight into just which version of the character audiences are in for when Suicide Squad arrives in 2016.
The version of the character most familiar to pre-New 52 DC Comics fans is likely the same: a large, powerful and notoriously cold-hearted government official, more than willing to send a criminal to death to prove a point (and get her job done). Yet in DC’s New 52 reboot, the Director of A.R.G.U.S. – a younger, thinner Waller – isn’t afraid to get her own hands dirty in the field. Since next to nothing is known about the actual story David Ayer is looking to tell with Suicide Squad, it’s best to hold off assuming that Davis will be embroiled in combat along with the more… lethal members of the team.
Either way, it seems Viola Davis is, indeed, on board – with the cast members already announced, how could she resist? Does the excitement from the actress herself raise your hopes for seeing the character brought to life on the big screen, or do you still think another actress, or version of Waller, would have been better? Share your thoughts in the comments, and we’ll keep you up to date as more details on her role arrive.
Suicide Squad will be in theaters on August 5, 2016.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for Suicide Squad updates, as well as TV, movie and gaming news.