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How Debbie Harry inspired 'Suicide Squad'

David Ayer’s 2016 film Suicide Squad was a critical and commercial failure, with the project receiving a lot of backlash for its inadequate directorial vision as well as its poor narrative framing. That’s exactly why James Gunn decided to make a standalone sequel in 2021 in order to salvage the legacy of the source material. With it, he proved to be very successful.

There were a lot of things that the 2016 Suicide Squad got wrong and among them was definitely the casting of Jared Leto in the iconic role of Joker. According to various reports, the actor terrorised his colleagues on set and excused his own offensive behaviour by claiming that he engaged in antics because it was a part of his “method acting” process.

Many of Leto’s co-stars later revealed that the actor had sent them bizarre items such as used condoms and dead rodents but Leto remained adamant that all these allegations were false. One source even claimed that he gifted anal beads to cast members while trying to “identify with the Joker” but Leto clarified that the only things he had gifted his co-star Margot Robbie were “cupcakes”.

“99.9% of what people read is bullshit…Any of the very few gifts that were ever given were given with a spirit of fun and adventure and received with laughter, fun and adventure,” Leto stated. “I’m playing a guy called the Joker, it’s OK to play some jokes. Nothing ever crossed any lines, and it’s not up to other people on the internet to create those lines.”

Despite his insistence, Leto’s reputation was permanently tarnished and his method acting is now feared by potential colleagues. Suicide Squad was supposed to be the next big step for Margot Robbie who had her breakthrough performance in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street but her turn as Harley Quinn was not enough to redeem the project.

Thankfully, she reprised her role in 2021 in Gunn’s project which explored an Abbott and Costello-like relationship with Bloodsport (Idris Elba). The 2016 Suicide Squad had earned nominations and accolades for its make-up and production design and a central focus of that was the Harley Quinn character whose costume was inspired by music icon Debbie Harry.

In an interview, Robbie revealed that the whole team was very confused about which costume to go with and they had tried several variations before settling on one. The actress said: “I tried on like 100 different variations of the costume but when I saw a picture of- we found this picture of Debbie Harry- and I was like, ‘That’s it, that is dope.'”

Check out the Debbie Harry outfit that influenced Suicide Squad below.