Friday, April 12, 2024

“Suicide Squad” Exec Producer, Also Donald Trump’s Chief Fundraiser: “There are lots of secret Hollywood Republicans”


“Suicide Squad” premiered last night– David Ayer’s DC Comics rendering is pretty cool, a huge hit for Warner Bros. and leap forward into taking on Marvel Comics movies. The big time premiere at the Beacon Theater was so rambunctious that  when director David Ayer took the stage, an audience member yelled out “F— Marvel!” Ayer shouted it back, but later apologized on Twitter. Oh, it was okay. Smells like teen spirit!

Will Smith makes a huge comeback as Deadshot, and he told me it was a relief not to have an entire movie on his shoulders. “I could live my life,” he said, while shooting “SS.” Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as The Joker are a sizzling couple who could go on to Harley’s proposed standalone movie or the next Batman movie. (Ben Affleck makes a cameo in “SS” and there’s much talk about Gotham City and Wayne Industries.)

I was thrilled to run into Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who plays Croc with a lot of humor and pathos. You know Adewale– he was Mr. Echo on “Lost” and is a very in-demand actor. His next picture is “Wetlands” and he’s got another called “Elizabeth Blue.” He told me, “It’s a great time for black actors,” which I hope is true, and it’s a great time for Adewale.

I do enjoy Jared Leto, who makes The Joker his own and moves to the beat of a different drum. He wore a gorgeous long embroidered coat on stage at the Beacon and over to the party. The coat was made by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, who looks a little like Jared and was with him and a couple of attractive ladies at the party. “I love the coat,” I told Jared. He said, “It only cost twenty nine thousand dollars!” No sample sales.

suicide squad cageMeanwhile, the party Warner Bros. set up in Moynihan Station (the post office soon to be Amtrak) was almost as sensational as the movie and just about as well art-directed. There was a Harley Quinn tattoo parlor, and a prison cage where a Harley lookalike performed acrobatics. Samsung set up a VR salon, and there was pizza from Roberto’s in Brooklyn. No sign of our pal Viola Davis, who steals the movie as Amanda Waller, the mastermind of the Suicide Squad in a St. Johns knit top. She had to get back to LA for “How to Get Away with Murder.”

But I did have the pleasure of meeting Steve Mnuchin, who gets a separate huge “card” at the end of film as Executive Producer. (He works with Brett Ratner and James Packer in the RatPac, which financed the film.) A really affable, friendly guy, Steve also happens to be Donald Trump’s chief fundraiser. Huh? I asked  how hard it was to balance this side job with his newer Hollywood connections. Steve said, “You’d be surprised how many secret Republicans there are in Hollywood!”

Steve also said that Trump is raising plenty of money, more than enough. “It’s a unique time for an outsider to come to Washington and make a difference.”

Well, the guy is backing good movies. And this ordeal will be over in less than 100 days. We wait for a happy ending.

Just an afterthought by Paul Manafort and Reince Preibus would be good characters in the next film.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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