When you think of DC Comics’ assassin Deadshot, the image that likely comes to mind is that of Will Smith in the live action Suicide Squad. But actor Christian Slater is certainly staking out a bit of territory where the character is concerned, voicing him as part of the kid-friendly show Justice League Action, as well as the new R-rated film Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, now available on Blu-ray and for digital download.
One would think that playing a character like Deadshot for two distinct demographics would prove problematic, but Slater doesn’t feel that way at all. “I’ve always been a DC fan,” the Mr. Robot star says in an exclusive interview, “and I really like this character and wanted to be involved, in one way or another, with this universe. I did put that word out to the people I work with and when this opportunity came down the road to be part of Justice League Action, it was great. I would pop in there to deliver a few Deadshot lines and it was just a natural, organic vibe. I had an idea from the get-go of what Deadshot should sound like, so I just kind of went with that and the creatives in that situation really seemed to enjoy it.
“And when I got the opportunity to come back and do it in the Suicide Squad film, it was much more intense and definitely an R-rated version and I was even more excited. I mean, as I was turning the pages of the script, I saw that this is a guy that was really getting the opportunity to take on a leadership role and put himself in that situation. I was fully gripped and fully entertained, and really got very excited about the opportunity.”
In Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, Amanda Waller (Vanessa Williams) pulls together “Task Force X” — consisting of Deadshot, Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown), Killer Frost (Kristin Bauer van Straten), Captain Boomerang (Liam McIntyre), Harley Quinn (Tara Strong) and Copperhead (Gideon Emery) — to retrieve a mystical object. This item is apparently so powerful, that they’re willing to risk their lives to steal it while trying to beat out another group of villains attempting to find it as well.
“My sense is that Deadshot is Deadshot,” says Slater, “whether he’s in a G-rated situation or an R-rated situation. I mean, he is a character that’s really true to himself and doesn’t really care what anybody else thinks. No matter what it is, it’s just that attitude of, ‘I’m going to do my own thing,’ which is what sets him apart from characters like Batman or Superman. He is a true bad ass. He doesn’t take any crap in whatever world he happens to be inhabiting at the time. That was one of the things I really loved about getting to see him in something like Hell to Pay, where I finally felt like I understood what the Suicide Squad really is and the world that they live in and the team that they have to cobble together. Usually, the heroes in these movies have these high tech machines and phenomenal X-Wing planes and all this type of stuff, but these guys are driving around in a Winnebago.”
Asked to further elaborate on his views of just who Deadshot is beyond being someone true to himself, Slater offers, “He’s made some questionable choices, has wound up in a situation that he’s doing everything he possibly can to shoot his way out of. At the end of the day, his main mission is to get back to his daughter and try to get on the right side of everything that he’s been involved with. To find some redemption and actually be there for his daughter. I think at his core he’s got a good heart; it’s just been covered up and all those layers are beginning to get stripped away. Like I said, his main mission is to get back to his daughter, which makes him a very relatable and understandable guy.”
Not that we should expect to see Deadshot petting a puppy any time soon. Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay is available now on Blu-ray and for digital download.
Images: Warner Bros