How Will Smith channeled his inner serial killer to create Suicide Squad’s Deadshot

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Jul 8, 2016, 1:39 PM EDT

Will Smith has done a lot in his career, but playing a straight-up villain turned antihero in DC’s Suicide Squad really is a fresh direction for the veteran actor. So, how did he finally shake off his heroic tendencies to bring Deadshot to life?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Smith talked about the challenges of getting into the role and what attracted him to it in the first place. Though joining an ensemble seems an interesting move for the A-lister at this point, Smith said he was intrigued by the idea of the character and the opportunity to play a bad guy who is comfortable with being a bad guy. Oh, and he also channeled his inner serial killer.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

“I had never played a character that legitimately didn’t give a f**k. It’s very freeing not having to carry the moral spine of the movie … I couldn’t find a model to understand what would make someone comfortable killing another person for money. David walked me through that. He found a book for me (The Anatomy of Motive by John Douglas), and I worked through getting into the mind of serial killers. Once I accepted the [notion the author puts forth] that it feels good, that really exploded the idea in my mind of Deadshot.” 

Though Deadshot is obviously a villain (the team is comprised of baddies, after all), Smith said he still found some more nuanced motivations once he dug a bit deeper into Deadshot. Despite it all, Smith said his character’s “Achilles heel” is his daughter, whom he loves and really wants to do right by. In the right hands, that could be a really good story.

Nuance hasn’t been the strongest building block for the DC universe (*cough*Zack Snyder*cough*), so here’s hoping Smith and director David Ayer can actually pull it off here.

Suicide Squad opens Aug. 5.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)