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Why King Shark Feels Real



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If you’ve seen the trailers for James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad, you already know King Shark is an icon. He is a shark, you see, but he is also a man. He wears grubby board shorts and at one point in this film says “nom nom” before chomping a man to death. Sylvester Stallone provides the voice of King Shark, which is objectively hilarious (“HAND“), but comedian Steve Agee did the character’s motion-capture, a fact Collider learned back in 2019 when we visited The Suicide Squad‘s Atlanta set. I tragically can’t spoil the context, but rest assured a person doesn’t easily forget the sight of Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, and John Cena interacting with Agee while he’s wearing a “displacement suit”—a cross between a back brace and the exosuit from the end of Aliens—that ensures his co-stars maintain the proper eye line and distance from their massive man-shark friend. (A standee on set confirms King Shark is just about 7 feet tall.)

King Shark

Image via Warner Bros.

RELATED: A New “Leaked” ‘The Suicide Squad’ Trailer Reveals Which Character Got the Jump on Superman

Obviously, the mere fact Gunn is directing a comic book anti-hero team-up movie already draws comparisons to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which doubles when you factor in the idea King Shark and Weasel share clear parallels to Groot and Rocket Racoon. (Sean Gunn, who provides mo-cap for Rocket, also happens to be doing the same for Weasel.) However, on the set, production designer Beth Mickle noted that Gunn specifically wanted to use his two newest CGI creations to highlight the differences between the two films. Here’s what she told a roundtable of journalists:

“With King Shark and Weasel, it’s a neat note that also separates this film. One of James’ mandates from the beginning was, he didn’t want to sensationalize any of these things or make these things appear really fantastical and really extraordinary. He just wants to treat them in a very ordinary way. So whereas, in Guardians, Groot is this big magical thing and he casts these beautiful sparkles, and he’s this whole fantastical creature, he wants King Shark just dirty and dusty, just walking down the streets of this sunbleached island and you’re not really paying attention and it’s just part of everyday life. As James said, ‘It’s as common as your toaster on your counter.’ So very much of that went into the thoughts of the design of bringing these characters to life.”

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It’s that juxtaposition of King Shark’s reality and unreality, his dad-bod cuddliness and ability to chew you in half, that’s at the core of the character. “Funny, yes. But also horrifying. He’s so dangerous,” said co-star David Dastmalchian during a roundtable. Agee, who is absolutely key to the character’s physicality, if not his actual voice, explained it a bit differently.

“Visually, he’s funny. And he’s just, he doesn’t really think things out. He’s kind of just acts on his animalistic, basic needs and wants and impulses…He looks really funny, but also if you really walked into a room at night, you would fully get diarrhea if you saw that thing.”

Be on the lookout for more dispatches from The Suicide Squad set, including new details on Jotunheim, the film’s hard-R rating, and more. The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max on August 6th.

KEEP READING: James Gunn Reveals Why ‘The Suicide Squad’s King Shark Has a Dad Bod


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Benvenisti Eyal

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