James Gunn recreates the Suicide Squad moment that led to the Peacemaker spin-off

Writer/director James Gunn explains how a special moment with John Cena on the set of The Suicide Squad inspired the spin-off series Peacemaker.

James Gunn decided to turn around peacemaker into a series based on a very specific moment of the shoot The Suicide Squad as John Cena gave his violent, rowdy character a new, unexpected layer.

Speak with vulture, Gunn focused on the particular instance. “There’s a really specific moment between me and John that I can trace the origin of this show to,” he explained. “It’s the moment The Suicide Squad where Peacemaker in Ratcatcher 2 is holding his gun and is about to kill her. I went into this close up close-up of his eyes… and I saw his eyes switch. I see him walking into this incredibly sad, vulnerable place. We realize that this character is a guy who does something he really doesn’t want to do but will do anyway, which is to shoot a young girl.

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From turning Guardians of the Galaxy into a mainstream franchise to a successful soft reboot The Suicide Squad, Gunn has a proven ability to spot potential in unexpected places. While whimsical and sometimes violent humor has become a hallmark of Gunn’s work, his writing has also been praised for bringing depth to otherwise wacky characters. Gunn’s vision of an entire series based on insight into a character is a revealing glimpse into the writer/director’s creative process.

Gunn also confirmed that of all the main characters in The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker – or Chris Smith – was the one missing a positive face. When Peacemaker became an antagonist in the film’s final act, Gunn didn’t have the narrative space to explore or redeem the character. With the revelation that there was a story behind him, the spin-off was born and Gunn had another success on his hands.

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Gunn’s revelation related not only to the depths of a fictional character, but to John Price’s ability to show that character’s emotions. “When I saw that moment in him, I knew that John wasn’t just an actor who was funny, which is why I hired him, but a guy who had this other level,” he said. “A big part of me wants to do that peacemaker was to mold away all the other stuff, all the juggling and entertaining that John does and focus on that vulnerable sector.

The first season of peacemaker received widespread acclaim, both for Gunn’s signature humor and for Cena’s balance of an outrageous character with a tragic backstory. The second season of peacemaker was greenlit by HBO max, with Gunn not only writing but directing each episode this time around, ensuring there were even more layers to peel off.

Seeing Chris Smith’s journey so far, both The Suicide Squad and peacemaker can be streamed on HBO Max.

READ MORE: Peacemaker just accomplished what Marvel Television never could

Source: vulture

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