“The Suicide Squad” premiered August 5, written and directed by James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), and yes, that’s a hoot. Let me add to the fun with 11 fun facts to know and tell about the movie.
1. BELLE REVE PENITENTIARY
Much like in the comics, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) operates in a Louisiana prison that is home to many supervillains. In fact, we see a bunch of them in the scenes where Bloodsport (Idris Elba) is recruited. They include Double Down (Jared Leland Gore), Kaleidoscope (Natalia Safran) and Calendar Man (Sean Gunn).
Fun fact: Sean Gunn is the brother of director James Gunn, who also plays the role of Weasel (thanks to motion capture). If he sounds familiar to you, it’s because he plays Kraglin in his brother’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, in addition to providing motion capture for Rocket Raccoon (while Bradley Cooper does the voice) .
Fun Fact 2: Belle Reve is the French word for ‘sweet dreams’.
The island the squad infiltrates is named after the star of a series of graphic novels by Italian writer / artist Hugo Pratt, which began in 1967. Maltais is a freelance naval captain, soldier of fortune , with flexible manners at the beginning of the 20th century, whose name means “quick hands” in Spanish slang.
Fun fact: DC Comics has used “Corto Maltese” as the name of an island off the coast of South America for decades, in homage to Pratt’s renowned and historically accurate comics.
The film proves King Shark almost perfectly right. His name is truly Nanaue, and he is truly the son of the shark god in the pantheon of Atlantis. Voiced by Sylvester Stallone in the film, he was voiced by David Hayter on the television show “The Flash”.
Fun fact: King Shark was a regular on the R-rated animated show “Harley Quinn”, voiced by comedian Ron Funches (“Trolls”, “Helpless”).
The nightclub the squad kidnaps Thinker in roughly translates to “easygoing little kitty.”
Fun fact: Yes, that means exactly what you think it does, even in Spanish.
Amanda Waller’s support team was onscreen often enough that I assigned them personalities, but I never wrote down their names. (Assuming those names were thrown out.) I just thought of them as “Black Lady”, “Beard Guy”, “Blonde Lady”, etc.
Fun fact: Blonde Lady, aka “Emilia Harcourt”, is played by Jennifer Holland, James Gunn’s real girlfriend since 2015.
Mongul is a great yellow interstellar despot who organizes gladiatorial contests to the death on Warworld, where he is dictator. Mongal is Mongul’s daughter, who like daddy is super strong and hard to hurt.
Fun fact: In the movie, she found out that it was not flame retardant. But in the comics, she was killed by her own brother, Mongul the Younger. What a beautiful family.
Christopher Smith was originally a serious superhero, who appeared in Charlton Comics in the 1960s.
He was a wealthy pacifist diplomat who publicly funded the Pax Institute and secretly funded his life as an international peacemaker overthrowing the dictator and redressing wrongs. When it was bought out by DC Comics (along with most of Charlton’s other superheroes), the new publisher introduced the idea that a guy who loves peace so much he doesn’t care ‘how many men , women and children I kill to get it “may not be entirely sane.
Fun fact: Peacemaker was the base of the comedian in “Watchmen”.
Poor old Mr. Polka-Dot. It was his first crime name in 1962, where he committed crimes related to spots in Gotham City with a rigged suit that could produce weapons from the points. And yes, despite the best efforts of creators Bill Finger (writer) and Sheldon Moldoff (artist), he quickly became a joke character named Polka-Dot Man, who rarely appeared except as a punchline. “Seriously, I would search, for example, who are considered the dumbest supervillains of all time on Google and at the top of every list was Polka-Dot Man,” Gunn said. Insider.com.
Fun fact: The definition of polka dots are dots of the same size (and usually the same color) that form a pattern. Polka-Dot Man’s costume made of randomly sized and colored polka dots isn’t polka dots at all… it’s just speckled.
Starro was the villain of the very first Justice League story, published in “Brave and Bold” # 28 in 1960. He is, in fact, a giant alien starfish that releases starfish spores from the size of a face to control sentient creatures and conquer their worlds. While the original creature of the inhabitants of Earth called Starro is probably dead, there are many “mother fish” like Starro in its species. All of them seem to be called “Starro” and all of them are a constant interstellar threat.
Fun fact: In the comics, a surviving segment of the original Starro morphed into a full alien starfish the size of one of the spores, which Batman keeps in a jar. Telepathically convinced to be a hero by Martian Manhunter, “Jarro” is fanatically loyal to Batman and wears a Robin costume suited to the starfish in his dreams, where he is the heroic sidekick of the Dark Knight. For the spawn of an interstellar conqueror, this is really cute.
The Detachable Kid is based on Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, a DC Comics character who (retroactively) became the first candidate rejected by the Legion of Superheroes for having superpower just too stupid to be of use. Not that he thought so. “My power will amaze you,” he said when he first appeared in 1989. “Watch as I loosen my member and turn it into a deadly weapon! Die nasty! Ha-yaaaa!” He said, as he pulls his arm out (“PLORP!”) and hits it on a table (“KRAK!”). Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was redesigned as a “Splitter” in 1996, with equally successful results. The ability to move detached limbs by telekinesis was added by the movie. It reminds me of a fleeting 1950s character named Captain Marvel, an android superhero who could do the same.
Fun Fact: Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was based on a parody fan character. “Ear-Fall-Off Floyd” was coined for a fan magazine in 1967 as a useless superhero whose superpower was that his ear could fall out. The Legion fanzine “Interlac” then used the character as “Arm-Fall-Off-Boy”. Legion fans were elated when DC made the character official (and officially ridiculous) in 1989.
Clifford DeVoe was a criminal genius who first appeared in “All-Flash Comics” in 1943, a book starring the original Scarlet Speedster, Jay Garrick. Called “The Thinker”, DeVoe has developed a “Thinking Cap” which grants various mental powers. Many other criminals used the Thinking Cap technology and the Thinker name, and at some point Cape Town’s artificial intelligence became aware of itself and was itself a supervillain. Neil Sandilands played a version of Thinker on The CW’s “The Flash” TV show.
The nodules protruding from the skull of the film’s Thinker (Peter Capaldi) resemble the electronic gadgets that protruded from the original Thinking Cap, later incorporated into the Thinker’s head.
Fun fact: Capaldi played the 12th Doctor Who, from 2008 to 2017.
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