Dee Bradley Baker Details His Work With James Gunn On The Suicide Squad And Peacemaker – Exclusive
With more than 640 credits in film, television, and video games to date, legendary voice actor Dee Bradley Baker has not only entertained audiences worldwide for the past 30 years, he’s also impressed some of the biggest creative forces in showbiz. Voicing everything from humans, clones, and robots to animals, aliens, and monsters, Baker has worked with the likes of Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau in the “Star Wars” animated and live-action TV realms, as well as Seth MacFarlane on the animated smashes “Family Guy” and “American Dad!”
The interesting thing about Baker is, he doesn’t only provide voices for animated or computer-generated characters, but oftentimes he also creates realistic sounds of animals and other creatures. As such, Baker was hired by writer-director James Gunn to provide the voices and noises of Sebastian the Rat, the faithful friend of Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) in “The Suicide Squad,” and Eagly, the trusted American bald eagle companion of John Cena’s title character in “Peacemaker.”
Even though Eagly doesn’t speak words in the series (a spinoff from “The Suicide Squad”), Baker said in an exclusive interview with Looper that he considered the raptor just as much a character as the humans that surround him.
“Part of why I’m called in to do something like this — whether it’s an animal or a monster or an alien or something — is there’s an intelligence or intent underneath it so that it plays out as a character in the scene,” Baker explained. “It’s not just a sound effect. I don’t think of myself as a sound effects guy, really. I’m really an actor that channels my acting in a weird way, but it’s acting. That’s what they brought me in for — to add the extra feather in, if you will — that extra nuance to the performance of Peacemaker’s sidekick.”
Baker says Gunn was very involved in bringing Eagly and Sebastian to life
Dee Bradley Baker’s voice work on both “The Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker” was unusual in that — like many productions under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic — his recording was done in a remote location. While Baker has a studio in his garage in Los Angeles, he said he largely did his work on the movie and TV series spinoff from his studio in Colorado. No matter the location, Baker said writer-director James Gunn was involved either directly or in a supervisory type of capacity.
“Someone that puts out such good and satisfying storytelling has got to be someone that, first of all, chooses really competent able generals to do their thing, and then is very hands-on from a god’s-eye view, if not right in the trenches, at times,” Baker told Looper. “For me, he was directly directing me during Sebastian for our rat sessions. And then, he might have been involved with some of the ‘Peacemaker’ [sessions], but that was mostly with the sound team.”
Ultimately, Baker said it was Gunn who shaped the performance of Eagly, but he has great admiration for all the sound artists involved in bringing the majestic character to life. “He’s very directly involved with approving and listening, and suggesting and sculpting the final performance as it comes together. That’s a marvel to me, how the whole process comes together,” Baker said. “I’m just a guy that swoops in, fixes the air conditioning and swoops out. I don’t get to run the whole building. He does it so beautifully, but very much with a hands-on attitude towards it all.”
All eight episodes of “Peacemaker” are streaming exclusively on HBO Max.