David Ayer is an interesting and singular voice in Hollywood. He's never concerned with adding a clean veneer to his words or mincing them. That's why I enjoyed listening to him on the Real Ones podcast, hosted by Jon Bernthal.
These two worked together on the movie Fury, but in the interview, they covered a wide range of topics, including the transformative power of cinema, the true stories that inspire him, and his process as a filmmaker.
David Ayer & Jon Bernthal: Unfiltered Truths of Hollywood & Life | Real Oneswww.youtube.com
Ayer was open with how he was unhappy with the studio's cut of 2016's Suicide Squad, and shed some light on what happened.
He said, “Come right off Fury, right? I had the town in my hand—could’ve done anything, and I did do anything.”
Fury was a big hit for the director and showed he could handle a big budget and big stars.
Ayer continued, “And [I] go on this journey with [Suicide Squad]. And the same thing—authentic, truthful, let’s do all the rehearsal, let’s really get in each other’s souls. Let’s create this amazing, collaborative thing, right? And then Deadpool opened, right? And they never tested Batman v. Superman, so they were expecting a different result, and then they got hammered by all the critics. Then it’s like, ‘Okay, we’re going to turn David Ayer’s dark, soulful movie into a fucking comedy now.’”
This change in tone and scope of the movie rubbed Ayer the wrong way. He was clear about the advice he gives people when it come to working in this town.
When asked about his heartbreak, he expanded on these ideas. Ayer said, “Hollywood—I tell people—is like watching someone you love get fucked by someone you hate. The big one is Suicide Squad. That shit broke me. That handed me my ass.”
Studios are famous for pivoting priorities when they think certain ideas are more commercial. It seems like Ayer had a clear directive for what he wanted to accomplish in the movie, but the studio made changes to the edit to do the opposite when they balked at what might be considered commercial at the time.
We'll never really know without seeing his cut of the film, which has no release date or even press release, but you never know what new DC Studios head James Gunn has in store.
No matter what, Ayer's words ring true. Hollywood is a fickle place and not every idea comes out the way you imagined it could. You have to balance art, commerce, and other people's expectations as well.
None of it is easy and a lot of times the battle is fruitless. But if you believe in your work, you live to fight another day.
Source: Real Ones Podcast
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