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David Ayer Slams Studio Cut of Suicide Squad: “Not My Movie”

"A handful of people have seen it. If someone says they have seen it, they haven't"

david ayer suicide squad director's cut studio letter comments
Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.) and David Ayer (photo by DFree/Shutterstock)
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    With The Suicide Squad receiving strong reviews, some have taken renewed aim at the original from filmmaker David Ayer. In a new post heralded simply by the phrase “My turn,” the director has fired back at critics while disavowing the theatrical release of 2016’s Suicide Squad.

    The three-page retort came as a direct response to Screen International film critic Tim Grierson, who after tweeting his enjoyment of the new sequel, said, “Many times while watching the new movie, I thought, ‘Yeah, David Ayer should just abandon the idea of that director’s cut.” This was clearly a shot saying there was no way Ayer’s vision could elevate the disappointing Suicide Squad to the level of James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Ayer wasn’t having it.

    Ayer’s post opened an explanation of his hard-fought life, from years living on the street to his time in the Navy. It all added up to a person who doesn’t “know what quit is.” It also gave him the life experience to write his original version of Suicide Squad.

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    “I put my life into Suicide Squad,” Ayer explained. “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).”

    Then came the bomb: “The studio cut is not my movie. Read that again.” He went on,

    “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 of 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 3rd Act resolution. A handful of people have seen it. If someone says they have seen it, they haven’t.”

    Although his original vision may never see the light of a screen, Ayer said he still considers his career a gift and he’d never quit. “After my kids watched me come home every day after the studio takeover of the edit with my heart torn out?” he said. “Who would I be to them if I quit?”

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    Despite the experience, Ayer said he’ll never tell his side of what happened between him and Warner Bros. “So I kept my mouth shut and took the tsunami of sometimes shockingly personal criticism. Why? That’s what I’ve done my whole life,” he wrote. “Real talk I’d rather get shot at.”

    He ended his note by expressing his continued support of WB and praised James Gunn for giving the Suicide Squad franchise “the legs it needs.” “Every movie is a miracle. And Jame’s [sic] brilliant work will be the miracles of miracles. I appreciate your patience. I will no longer speak publicly on this matter.”

    It’s been known for sometime that WB wrested control of Suicide Squad from Ayer. As the filmmaker stated back in May 2020, the studio brass were still reeling from the critical lashing that welcomed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while Fox had just seen major success with their Marvel property Deadpool. That comparison led to Ayer’s “soulful drama” being “beaten into a ‘comedy.'”

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    Fans have been calling for years to #ReleasetheAyerCut to little actual hope such a thing would come to be. However, after the success WB saw with its HBO Max release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League following the #ReleasetheSnyderCut movement and now Ayer’s own words about his version of the film, one has to wonder if David Ayer’s Suicide Squad might actually be something worth fighting for.

    Read Ayer’s full statement below.

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