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David Ayer disowns Suicide Squad: "The studio cut is not my movie"

Jared Leto and Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Over the past year, David Ayer has talked.. quite a lot about Suicide Squad and he's now issued his most extensive statement, essentially disavowing the movie.

When it debuted, the DCEU antihero caper was met by overwhelming negative reviews despite netting $700 million at the global box office. In the past twelve months, Ayer claims the movie was "ripped to pieces" by Warner Bros, later adding that his original cut scared them, a cut which included "terrifying" scenes of Jared Leto's Joker

The upcoming release of James Gunn's soft reboot The Suicide Squad stirred up bad feelings against Ayer's 2016 outing from film critic Tim Grierson who tweeted: "Many times while watching the new movie, I thought, 'Yeah, David Ayer should just abandon the idea of that director’s cut.'”

Ayer felt moved to respond to Grierson, who referenced Ayer's own bid to score a Justice League-style reworking of Suicide Squad, with an extensive statement:

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The director pours his heart out over several pages, revealing details about his life before he turned to screenwriting, how his experiences led him to draft the script for Training Day, before he dives into the matter at hand.

"I put my life into ‘Suicide Squad,’" he writes. "I made something amazing. My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some bad people who are shit on and discarded (a theme that resonates in my soul). The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again."

"And my cut is not the 10 week director’s cut – it’s a fully mature edit by Lee Smith standing on the incredible work by John Gilroy. It’s all Steven Price’s brilliant score, with not a single radio song in the whole thing. It has traditional character arcs, amazing performances, a solid third-act resolution," he adds. "A handful of people have seen it. If someone says they have seen it, they haven’t."

He mentions coming home to his kids after the studio took hold of his edit "with my heart torn out," before wrapping up by saying this is the last time he'll speak publicly on this matter.

Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff said no to Ayer's proposed director's cut of Suicide Squad, despite Zack Snyder's support of the project (which, at the time was a benefit, before Snyder and Warner parted ways). It seems unlikely we'll ever see what Ayer originally intended for the characters, and that's a sad thing indeed.

To catch James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, you can see it on the big screen a day earlier than expected on August 5, and on HBO Max August 6. UK audiences can head to a multiplex to see it now. If you fancy learning more about Gunn's movie, catch up on everything we found out about the superhero extravaganza in our set visit report.

Gem Seddon

I'm GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter. I'm a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator. You can find my byline on our best Netflix movies and best Netflix shows lists.