According to The Hollywood Reporter, the in-demand actor is dropping out of the David Ayer-directed adaptation of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad because of obligations with director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman follow-up, The Revenant, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is currently shooting; the shoot is expected to run longer than originally anticipated.
Hardy’s next starring role is in Mad Max: Fury Road, which opens on May 15, during the middle of the Suicide Squad filming schedule, so his press tour obligations could also have precluded the star from suiting up for the superhero flick.
Hardy was set to play Rick Flag, the leader of Task Force X (aka the Suicide Squad), which consists of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Enchantress (Cara Delevigne), and, in possibly in this version, the Joker (Jared Leto).
So, who will be stepping into the spandex of Task Force X leader Rick Flag? Newly beefed up Nightcrawler and Southpaw star Jake Gyllenhaal, says The Wrap. Evidently David Ayer is courting his End of Watch star to fill Hardy’s considerable shoes. This is a casting choice that I absolutely love. It may not earn the Oscar nomination that Gyllenhaal so richly deserves, but joining a high-profile superhero franchise is a decent consolation prize.
Suicide Squad is set to begin shooting this April in Toronto. It opens in theaters on August 5, 2016.
What do you think of this casting shake-up? Is Jake Gyllenhaal a good replacement? Let us know in the comments below.
Dan Casey is the senior editor for Nerdist. You can tell him all about your crazy comic book theories on Twitter.