If you think that throwing overly negative criticism at movies and directors is a victimless crime, you should probably think again. That kind of criticism can land with the film-makers on a deeply personal level, if David Ayer’s comments about Suicide Squad’s reviews are anything to go by.
The director – who also faced a critical backlash for Bright (though not enough of one to put fans off) – has spoken to Entertainment Weekly and reflected on the response to his controversial DCEU movie:
“It was sh*t. Yeah, it was sh*t reviews. I got my throat cut.”
Ayer also very obviously hinted at how the reception of the film affected his confidence going in to Bright, and more broadly how negative reviews can impact a director’s vision of himself and how he had to steel himself to cope:
“It was a super polarizing movie. Incredibly polarizing. It’s like going to the boxing ring and getting knocked out is how it felt. And I had to go into the ring again. And directing is a confidence game, because you’re selling everyone on something that only exists in your head. The actors have to feel that confidence to trust that you know what you’re doing, and so does your crew. As a director, you set the tone. Really, it’s coming off that movie, I understood the pitfalls, I understood the dangers, I knew where the alligators hide, you know? And so I made damn sure I didn’t repeat any mistakes”.
At least it sounds like he gained something positive from it, in terms of personal growth.
Next up, Ayer has the somewhat surprising Bright 2 for Netflix and he could still have a DC project to work on, provided the new Warner Bros hierarchy doesn’t cancel them all. That should take the form of Gotham City Sirens, which may see him team back up with both Harley Quinn and The Joker (though the ins and outs of all of those various projects makes keeping track of the players mighty confusing).
He’s definitely not back for Suicide Squad 2 – which hasn’t been cancelled so far – as Warrior director Gavin O’Connor has been hired. Let’s just hope he manages to steer clear of attracting the same sort of negativity that has affected Ayer so much.
Do you think the Suicide Squad reviews were needlessly too harsh? Share your thoughts below in the comments thread.