David DastmalchianThe actor’s first on-screen gig was a comic book movie. He was a disturbing but sympathetic presence in The black Knight like an unnamed henchman for the Joker. As a longtime comic book fan and writer, Dastmalchian’s role in Christopher Nolan’s epic was a thrilling and life-changing experience, launching a career in the superhero genre that would see him pull off heists with Ant-Man and come across the path to The Flash. With The suicide squad, however, the actor can finally dress up and proclaim, “I’m a superhero!”
Spoilers for The suicide squad to pursue.
It’s a wonderful time for Abner Krill and Dastmalchian. After a lifetime of pain and suffering, the character can finally use his power for good. He turns his darkness into light. It helps save the day. It’s a wish-fulfilling moment for the misunderstood character, but also for Dastmalchian.
“Well imagine your whole life collecting comics,” Dastmalchian said. “All your life you have been obsessed with the dark villains and in particular the villains of DC. Then you find yourself in this movie with one of the masters of modern cinema, James gunn, and we’re going to make this movie.
Dastmalchian previously played a henchman and, of course, a sidekick in the The ant Man movies – but as Abner he gets one of those wonderful shots of heroes in Task Force X’s climactic fight against Starro. In battle, Polka-Dot Man delivers a devastating blow against Starro, ripping off one of the giant alien creature’s legs (while imagining Starro to be his mother, of course). When the day came for Polka-Dot Man’s hero highlight, Dastmalchian was nervous but more than prepared.
“We shot in Panama at the very end of, I think a six month production schedule is August, September, October, November, December, June. Yeah, like a six month shoot that we were on. So that day, that line, that moment, I felt like I had built, driven my whole life. And the day he arrived, I was very scared.
The fear was allayed by Gunn, who for good reason considered Dastmalchian for the character early on. “Then I was at peace,” the actor concluded. “I felt really good about where James had taken me with Abner, but I knew how important that moment was to the character’s arc. It was a day when it was just me and Idris, sort of working together. I had a minute where I got scared and James came up to me and there are hundreds of people standing with cameras and gear and everything. We just had this very little quiet conversation as two collaborators, two friends. An actor and a director who I trust so much. He told me things that helped me meet the challenge. Hope it’s a fun time.
With comic book movies, we’re used to seeing heroes used to being great, but that’s not the case with Polka-Dot Man. There is something childish about the character. So much that James gunn at one point, as Abner Krill revealed his past to the gang, he told Dastmalchian to move physically like a nervous, shy kid. In the end, watching Polka Dot-Man stand up straight, shine brightly in a moment of triumph is like a kid finally getting their wish to become a superhero.
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