David Ayer slams ‘Suicide Squad’: ‘The studio cut is not my movie’


David Ayer, the director behind the 2016 film “Suicide Squad” — which drew a lot of criticism from DC fans — accused Warner Bros. of substantially recutting his movie from his original vision that reflected his emotions and struggles.

Ayer, 53, took to Twitter to defend his original idea for the film just one week before the release of James Gunn’s upcoming retooling, aptly titled “The Suicide Squad,” which has already received significant praise from critics. Many have compared Gunn’s version to Ayer’s disappointing effort, which Ayer claims is not fully his work.

“I don’t know what quit is. I am not who you think I am,” Ayer shared on social media. “Nothing in my life was handed to me it’s been a struggle from the jump.”

He continued by noting that he went through “Foster Care. Abuse. Disruption. Chaos.” throughout his early life. He wrote that he learned to put his “pain on the page” and to write about his “live truth,” which he did for “Suicide Squad.” However, he noted that the suffering he endured and his perseverance to put out films were not reflected in the final product.

“I put my life into ‘Suicide Squad,’” Ayer wrote in the lengthy letter, which he titled “My Turn.” “I made something amazing. My cut is intricate and emotional journey with some bad people who are s–t 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,” he continued. “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 3rd Act resolution. A handful of people have seen it.”

“I put my life into ‘Suicide Squad,’” Ayer wrote in a lengthy letter, which he titled “My Turn” and details his tough past and his perseverance.
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

He further noted that he kept his “mouth shut and took the tsunami of sometimes shocking personal criticism.” Ayer could not quit or immediately go public about what he said Warner Bros. did to his film, especially after his kids saw him with his “heart torn out” after the studio takeover of the edit.

Ayer ended his letter by noting that he is “so proud of James” and supports “WB and am thrilled the franchise is getting the legs it needs.”

“Suicide Squad” faced a rushed production with multiple editors and competing cuts. A source told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2016 that Ayer had just six weeks to write the script. Ayer lacked some experience in directing an effects-packed movie, which led to further conflict between Ayer and some Warner executives.

“Suicide Squad” faced a rushed production with multiple editors and competing cuts.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

While Ayer was writing his original version, though, executives felt that the film was lacking an edgy and fun tone that the teaser trailer promised. Warner Bros. then set out on a different cut with multiple editors, though only John Gilroy is credited.

The studio also shot down the idea of releasing an Ayer director’s cut — an effort that went viral with the hashtag #ReleaseTheAyerCut — for “Suicide Squad,” especially after the studio heads were harassed and sent threats.

Gunn also did not have a smooth ride on his way to directing “The Suicide Squad.” Back in March 2018, dozens of the director’s tweets — which centered on topics of pedophilia and rape — resurfaced from almost a decade earlier. Disney removed Gunn from directing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” asserting that his comments were unacceptable and against Disney’s family-friendly image. In March 2019, though, Gunn was reinstated and he apologized for his tweets.

Gunn has been very outspoken about dismissing cancel culture, and he once again slammed it this week by stating, “I’m always attracted to outsiders” on Fox News.

Ayer ended his letter by noting that he is “so proud of James” and supports “WB and am thrilled the franchise is getting the legs it needs.”
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture