Jai Courtney's Suicide Squad prep: magic mushrooms and cigarette burns

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The Australian star took an extreme approach to his role as Captain Boomerang, while other cast members tattooed each other and Jared Leto gifted a dead pig

Jai Courtney's Suicide Squad prep: magic mushrooms and cigarette burns
Crazy gang … the Suicide Squad cast, Jai Courtney far right. Photograph: Clay Enos/Warner Bros.

Suicide Squad star Jai Courtney prepared for his role as gun-for-hire Captain Boomerang by eating magic mushrooms and stubbing cigarettes out on his arms, according to Empire magazine.

The Australian star told the magazine that he was on a Skype call with director David Ayer when he experimented with drug use and self-harm to get into character.

“That night I happened to eat some mushrooms,” said the actor. “I did self-inflict some burns.”

Courtney has previously said he was told by Ayer to “find your inner shitbag” when approaching the role of the caustic, aggressive (and – in the DC comics – racist) Boomerang. But he also revealed to Empire that the director had introduced an unusual means of developing the character’s look.

Jai Courtney's Suicide Squad prep: magic mushrooms and cigarette burns
Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad. Photograph: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

“I turned up to discuss my look, expecting we’d have a long discussion and slowly he refine it,” says Courtney, “David [Ayer] just walked right in, picked up some clippers and started shearing chunks of hair off my head, Eventually he said, ‘You look like bad news.’ Then he left.”

Suicide Squad, a supervillian movie about a nefarious bunch of meta-humans rounded up by the government to save the world, is fast turning into this year’s The Revenant when it comes to stories of extreme preparation. Many of the cast tattooed each other with the word “SKWAD” on set, while Jared Leto, who plays a new iteration of The Joker, reportedly got so into character that he instructed an assistant to present the rest of the cast with a dead pig, before gifting his co-star Margot Robbie (who plays Harley Quinn) a live black rat.

Leto, along with Will Smith (who plays the eagle-eyed sniper, DeadShot) reportedly had access to an on-set therapist after Ayer encouraged them to get deep into their roles. The director, previously known for the second world war tank movie Fury and the LA cop drama End of Watch, apparently also instructed cast member Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje to listen to audio recordings of the Japanese cannibal killer Issei Sagawa and told Joel Kinnaman to watch graphic military videos that the actor described as “horrific shit”.

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