In an ensemble film with A-list heavy-hitters like Will Smith and Viola Davis, being the “new guy” on the set of international blockbuster Suicide Squad might seem daunting. But for Alain Chanoine, the process was nothing but fun.
To be fair, Chanoine is not new to the Hollywood machine, boasting an extensive list of both acting and stunt work throughout television and film. As Suicide Squad passes the $450 million mark at the box office, I got a chance to talk to the Canadian-born actor about his first major role as the villain Incubus and the process of being a part of a blockbuster. Check out our conversation below.
What was the audition process like? Did you go in expecting to read for a ten-foot tall monster?
(laughs) When I first got the audition in Montreal, it was only a businessman talking to a subordinate. Basically, a really powerful man being annoyed with his employee. I had no idea it was for Suicide Squad or anything. The second audition was with David Ayer in Toronto and I knew it was Suicide Squad by then because I knew David Ayer was directing the film. The third part of the audition was a chemistry meeting with Cara Delevigne and by then, I knew everything. I had read the comics and stuff. I didn’t know it was a ten-foot tall demon, but I did know I was reading for Incubus, so I had time to do research. And then I got it!
With all the CGI and costumes you had to go through, did you find it difficult to act? Were there any techniques you used to make sure Alain shone through?
It was cool, actually. I shot the movie first and I got to do all my scenes with the other actors on set. Then we went to Los Angeles and did a thousand scans of my face and body, all that stuff after. So I basically had sense memory as an actor and I remembered the scenes we had filmed, who I was talking to. It was all very easy. Cara Delevingne was in the room with me, so at least I had someone I knew to help me relax a bit. If It had been the other way around and I had never been on set or met the actors, I would not have known how to do any of this or where to do that.
So you and Cara had a good working relationship?
She was really cool. She went out of her way to be outgoing, made me feel comfortable from the get-go. They all did, Will, Margot Robbie. They’re all so open and fun. It was a pleasure to work with all of them.
That sounds like a fun work environment.
It was so much fun. I think it starts from the top. David Ayer is such a cool guy and such a down-to-earth person. Everybody on set had fun because the people in charge were so laid-back.
There were a few deleted scenes. Are there any you would have liked to have seen?
I read the script from the beginning and I wish I could actually have seen the Joker scenes. I think Jared [Leto] signed for maybe three movies, so it was more an introduction to his character, so I get that some of his stuff had to be cut. I think only two of my scenes were cut, and that’s too bad, but that’s a part of the process. I’m happy with the movie, though.
Did you feel any pressure for Suicide Squad to succeed?
Not at all. Honestly, I’m such a fan of David Ayer and his past work, and now he’s directing this huge DC superhero franchise and then you have Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Ben Affleck, I had no doubt it was going to be a success. It was the other way around, actually. (laughs). When I heard the first couple bad critics, that surprised me. I did have big expectations for the movie. I think it’s breaking new box office records now, so there were a lot of expectations, but no pressure. But when you have Will Smith on your side, I wasn’t worried. ‘Will’s gonna take care of it.’ (laughs).
How did you feel when you heard that first bad review?
I didn’t understand why critics were so hard. Maybe it wasn’t Deadpool, but I can definitely tell you the movie was good, entertaining, funny. There are so many movies that critics were, if anything, too easy on for some reason or another. I actually like this movie. Forgive the fact that I’m in it, so I had fun, and the fans loved it, too, so I don’t really get it. But that’s life, I guess. It’s not the last time it’ll happen.
Has your life changed since landing your first major franchise role? Do people stop you in the streets?
(laughs) I’m from a small community in Canada and I’m in the newspaper a lot, so it’s not that people are recognizing me more. More like people I already know or who were already attracted to me in the sense that they wanted to talk to me, to ask me some advice about a career. But now there’s a good energy going on, people congratulating me. I’m enjoying the whole thing immensely. Professionally, I have more opportunities now, a lot more offers. It’s a really good time in my life.
Would you consider doing another superhero film?
I’d love to! Blade is a character that I had always wanted to play. But any other movie with a good director and a good story, there’s so many superheroes out there. I love these films. I’m totally open to another one.
Is there any character in this film that you think would have been fun to play yourself? Any actor you would have switched roles with?
The role that was the most fun to watch was definitely the Joker. You know what, if Will Smith can play Deadshot who is white in the comics, why can’t I play the Joker? I think more and more, casting is open to so many different ethnicities. Now we’re talking about Idris Elba playing James Bond, it’s open on both sides. So the Joker might be a role I’ll play in a couple of years. You never know.
Which actor is most like their character on Suicide Squad?
I’d say it’s Will. In the movie, he’s funny, he’s this leader, but still getting the best out of people. That’s him in real life, really.
Is there anything you’d like to say to fans of yours reading this article?
I feel so lucky and fortunate to be in this position. The support I’ve been getting from everyone the last couple weeks is amazing. I just want to thank all of them.
*Featured image photo credit: Rob Daly Photography