The Suicide Squad Editors on Constantly Being Surprised by James Gunn | The Rough Cut

by Ankit Verma | Aug 18, 2021

From the hilariously deranged mind of James Gunn comes the new (and improved) The Suicide Squad—a zany and unpredictable anti-hero adventure that finds some of DC Comics most obscure characters getting their shot at redemption.  

The Rough Cut host, Matt Feury chats with The Suicide Squad editors Fred Raskin, ACE, and Christian Wagner about working with writer/director James Gunn and experimenting with their preferred styles of editing.

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Key conversations

*Quotes below have been edited for clarity and length.

Editing a trailer versus a feature-length film

WAGNER: James Gunn and Peter Safran asked me to put together a promo trailer for Peacemaker while we were cutting The Suicide Squad. I, admittedly, wrote them back man and said, “listen, guys, I really don’t know how to do that stuff.”

I have been cutting features for a long time, and I’m really horrible at it [trailers]. They’re like, well, I’ll give it a shot. And I gave it a shot. And I sent it to them. They said, yeah, you’re absolutely right. We’re going to somebody else. And I get it because there’s an art to cutting trailers and it’s a completely different skill set. And I just don’t have it. I have been lucky enough to understand story and editing as a tool to progress pace, tell the story.

Not being dismissive from the start

WAGNER: I was interviewing with a director, and I said, “I happen to know the editor that you used to work with. What happened with him?” He said, “Well, I got tired of hearing him say, that won’t work without trying it.”

And I was shocked that any editor would say that to a director. But that is a very important thing. You can’t, in my opinion—and this has just been the way I feel about working with directors. You got to try the things.

RASKIN: If I’ve learned anything, it’s that when an idea is presented to me, and I am 100%, certain it is never going to work, 50% of the time, it ends up working. Never say this isn’t going to work. You got to try it.

Working with a director who also wrote the script

RASKIN: You have to be fearless about trying new stuff. That’s one of the great things about working with a writer-director is I think, in general, the person who’s written the script will feel a little bit more comfortable reworking their own stuff. And James certainly does that, too. There were some big cuts that were made in this movie that I would never have thought of doing. Honestly, part of it would be for fear of offending the writer. But there were some key plot points that I would never have have imagined we could have lost where James was like, “No, I think we can lose this. We got to. I want to keep the the pace of the movie moving at this point.”

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