Christopher Smith was far from The Suicide Squad‘s most likeable character, and filmmaker James Gunn has now explained his approach to making sure fans would sympathize with the anti-hero in Peacemaker…
The Suicide Squad introduced a new Task Force X, and while there were a lot of casualties, Christopher Smith wasn’t among them. After killing Rick Flag (all in the name of peace, of course), the anti-hero survived a violent run-in with Bloodsport and lived to fight another day…in his own TV series!
Peacemaker takes a deep dive into what makes the character tick, revealing more about his tragic past and making it clear that he’s not the bad guy many of us thought. In fact, Smith has all the makings of a great superhero, even if he does have something of a tendency to be an asshole.
Over the weekend, we caught up with writer and director James Gunn to discuss Peacemaker ahead of its Sky Max/NOW launch tomorrow. In the video below, you can hear from the filmmaker as he explains his approach to making sure this character is one fans could relate to, aptly describing the former Suicide Squad member as “a guy whose soul was truly saved by rock ‘n’ roll.”
With a second season confirmed, Gunn has plenty of time to explore this character on screen, and these comments provide a fascinating insight into who Peacemaker truly is.
Peacemaker is available from 22 March on Sky Max and streaming service NOW with an Entertainment Membership.
Coming out of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker isn’t the most likeable character. By the time that penultimate episode comes around and he falls to his knees and cries, my heart was breaking for this guy, so for you and John [Cena]what was key in making sure audiences would embrace him and not reject him after what we saw previously?
Well, I really think it isn’t a matter of…authenticity and really and truly portraying a person with who they are emotionally is what matters. I feel that most people, you feel compassion for, unless they’re sociopaths. And sometimes, even then you feel for them, such as is the case with Vigilante. For the most part, I think that if you can see a person’s emotional reality, you feel compassion for that person no matter what an asshole they might be. For me, it was just about seeing who Peacemaker was.
I knew that I loved the guy. I knew that I felt sorry for him and I knew that he was trapped in what would be called toxic masculinity. He’s trapped in this world set down by his father that has forced him into being a certain way, but in his heart, he’s an artist. He’s the guy we see at the end of episode six playing the piano. That’s who Peacemaker is, and yet, he’s become something completely different than that.
He’s a guy whose soul was truly saved by rock ‘n’ roll. He’s a guy who had this white supremacist father, and the only thing he could do to rebel and have his own spirit, was to live to Motley Crew and Def Leppard. That was his ultimate form of rebellion, but also his way of maintaining himself and who he is to some slight degree. I think if I loved him, I always figured other people would probably fall in love with him too.