Skip to main content

James Gunn would only make The Suicide Squad on these two conditions

King Shark in The Suicide Squad
(Image credit: Warner Bros./DC)

The Suicide Squad director James Gunn has explained the two conditions he needed met to make the movie, after he penned the screenplay. 

"When I was finished with it, then they asked me to direct it, and I said I'll do an under two conditions, and they were both conditions they hated," Gunn told IndieWire. "One of which was, it needs to be rated R. The other was which I needed to shoot in Atlanta, Georgia, because my father was dying and he lived in St. Louis, and they wanted to shoot in the UK. I couldn't be that far away from my dad. The UK one was actually the bigger [condition], because it's a lot more expensive to shoot because of all these tax things in the United States. But those were my conditions. But they said yes, and they were fantastic. They just really let me do my thing." Sadly, Gunn's father died a week before filming began.

The director added that he wanted the R-rating because The Suicide Squad is akin to a war film, and he wasn't a fan of films of that genre that shied away from depicting the consequences of violence. The director explained that he could have made the movie with robot enemies instead to avoid an R-rating, but didn't want to – and Warner Bros. agreed to Gunn writing an R-rated script.

The Suicide Squad earned its rating for "strong violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, drug use, and brief graphic nudity." It's not the first ever R-rated output from DC's live-action movies, though: there's also Joker, Zack Snyder's Justice League, Birds of Prey, and the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

"Joker came out after we were already well into our thing and well into shooting, and so that was a really good thing to happen for me," Gunn commented. "It took away a little doubt in terms of how well an R-rated movie could perform."

The Suicide Squad is out now in UK cinemas, and arrives to US theaters and HBO Max this August 5. Until then, check out how to watch DC movies in order to get up to speed on the DCEU.

Molly Edwards

I'm a freelance Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for our Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after getting my BA in English.