The critical response to Suicide Squad has been mixed at best, but it could have been even more divisive if director David Ayer had originally gotten his way.
Shia LaBeouf revealed in an interview with Variety that Ayer, having worked with LaBeouf on 2014’s Fury, originally wanted to cast him in the role of Edwards. Played by Scott Eastwood in the final film, the character acts as one of the Squad’s military handlers along with Rick Flag, who was, at the time, slated to be played by Tom Hardy.
LaBeouf said, “I don’t think Warner Bros. wanted me. I went in to meet, and they were like, ‘Nah, you’re crazy. You’re a good actor, but not this one.’”
It seems Warner Bros. was too worried about LaBeouf’s erratic behavior to cast him in a major role. And, according to LaBeouf, it was a bigger role originally. After Hardy dropped out of the film and Will Smith was cast as Deadshot, the Edwards and Flag roles were downsized to make more room for Smith’s Deadshot. Why those two characters would take up space over one of the movie’s actual supervillain protagonists is odd, but there’s a lot about Suicide Squad’s structure that doesn’t make much sense.
Since he plagiarized a comic for his short film and started doing a series of art performances, Shia LaBeouf has turned into one of the more polarizing figures in Hollywood.
Putting him in Suicide Squad would probably just have given people another thing to argue about. Or maybe he’d have been spared from the conversation thanks to whatever it is Jared Leto thought he was doing.