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Peacemaker’s Steve Agee Talks John Cena, James Gunn, And The Liberation Of John Economos – Exclusive Interview

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By Tim Lammers/Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 8: 16 am EST

It’s no longer on the whole an actor gets to reprise a job in a movie sequel, and even rarer for them to beget a spinoff series on TV. Fortunately for “The Suicide Squad” superstar Steve Agee, author-director James Gunn gave the prolific performer a golden opportunity to carry lend a hand the comically caustic ARGUS tech genius John Economos for “Peacemaker.” 

Streaming exclusively on HBO Max starting put January 13, “Peacemaker” is an eight-episode spinoff series that continues the wild adventures of the proficient but a shrimp bit clueless anti-hero — over but again played by John Cena — and the covert authorities motivate team that assists him, including Economos and his fellow ARGUS team member, Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland). Assigned to Peacemaker’s sleek motivate team in an act of revenge by their boss, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), for defying orders on the tip of “The Suicide Squad,” Economos and Harcourt are joined by a sleek supervisor, Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), and Leota Adebeyo (Danielle Brooks) — who, unbeknownst to her team participants, has extraordinarily discontinuance ties with Waller. 

Complicating their mission to ferret out a community of villains in the Butterfly Mission is a wannabe superhero sidekick, Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), to boot to Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick) — the racist and ruthless father of Peacemaker who expert his son to be an assassin from initiating and continues to motivate sway over him.

In an uncommon interview with Looper, Agee discusses his work with Cena on “Peacemaker” and reunion with Gunn, whom he worked with on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Agee, whose spectacular checklist of greater than 140 show camouflage camouflage credits includes “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “Novel Girl,” “Superstore,” and “Adventure Time,” additionally talks about getting the opportunity to endeavor into genres he didn’t ask as phase of the “Peacemaker” team.

From The Suicide Squad to Peacemaker

Congratulations on one hell of a 2021 for you, sir.

Oh, man. It used to be highs and lows, however knowledgeable work ingredient used to be no doubt a excessive.

It included “The Suicide Squad,” and now “Peacemaker.” At what point did you peek out that “Peacemaker” used to be going to occur in some unspecified time in the future of the whole “Suicide Squad” assignment?

We had wrapped “Suicide Squad,” I factor in, in leisurely February of 2020, actually appropriate earlier than the pandemic. Then that hit. I went into hiding. I’m single and I live on my own. I was appropriate by myself for that whole pandemic, or a minimal of the predominant seven or eight months, and I was like, “Oh my God, right here is by no manner going to cease and I’m going to be by myself for regularly.” I was initiating to mentally fetch into some if reality be told low areas.

I judge it used to be leisurely September or early October of 2020, James referred to as me and talked about, “Hey, I’ve written a series, a spinoff for ‘Peacemaker,’ and I desire John Economos to be in it.” I was like, “Oh my God, that’s very just appropriate. When will we open?” And he used to be like, “January.” So, I chanced on out about this three months earlier than we started capturing. He talked about, “I didn’t wish to fetch your hopes up, so I didn’t present you sooner.” It saved me both financially and additionally appropriate mentally, being ready to transfer lend a hand to being around company like James, Jen, and Cena, and sleek americans and if reality be told work but again. It appropriate if reality be told saved my sanity.

About that opening credits dance quantity

“Peacemaker” starts off with a bang — if reality be told every episode starts off with a bang — with that unparalleled opening dance quantity featuring all americans in the solid. How noteworthy of a blast used to be it to beget, and how many takes did it obtain to fetch through it? I expect on story of I would factor in you guys were cracking up with every thing.

It used to be a pudgy day of capturing. We shot that in a single day, however it absolutely used to be a pudgy day and there were a range of rehearsals on story of James used to be like, “Peek, we’ve got in some unspecified time in the future to beget this, so I desire all americans to be ready.” So, we had a bunch of rehearsals main [up to it] … Any day we weren’t working, we’d beget a minimal of an hour of rehearsal on it. So, when we went in, we’d been doing it so noteworthy that there wasn’t a range of breaking, however I don’t know in the occasion you seen, in the quantity, nobody’s smiling. All americans’s straight-faced.

The smartest thing that we needed to motivate stopping and restarting for used to be James would be like, “Please, you guys wish to total smiling,” on story of it used to be so noteworthy stress-free. We shot this midway in the course of the series — when put next to what we’d been doing, this used to be a whole sleek genre, and I’m no longer a dancer. It used to be a blast. The toughest thing used to be for folks appropriate to no longer be beaming ear to ear.

John Economos springs into action

What I love about this series is that all americans gets in on the action, even John Economos. I won’t utter what scene it is, if reality be told a couple, however you fetch quite handy with a crowbar in in reality appropriate one of them and also you punctuate things with the road, “Economos M-f-er!” with the exception of you don’t utter “M-f-er.”

“Don’t mess with John Economos!”

I don’t know, Steve. I’m pondering that “Economos M-f-er” in most cases is a hashtag accessible. I’m hoping that starts.

Please open it. I’ll retweet you.

Then you definately additionally fetch a shrimp bit “Karate Diminutive one” crane technique transfer in there, a shrimp bit bit of “Saturday Evening Fever.” After which there’s any other — I don’t wish to give away the leisure — badass weapon you utilize at one point.

I do know what you’re speaking about.

That’s got to be mountainous on story of, but again, John is on the whole the man that’s on the whole sitting in the lend a hand of a keyboard. So, for him to fetch accessible like that, you wish to dispute to James, “Thank you, man. Here’s a blast!”

I’m in a position to by no manner thank James ample. I’m in a position to by no manner categorical how grateful I’m. Most of my days, even when I’m no longer working or like this, I’m at my computer appropriate writing or answering emails and stuff. So, I’m constantly indoors. I’m at my computer. When I got the script and seen a few of those moments that you’re speaking about, I was like, “Here’s a dream arrive absolute top for me, for somebody who grew up as keen on action films.” As I got older and into my 50s, I was like, “I inform that’s by no manner going to occur. I’m by no manner going to beget action films.” And right here I’m, doing some quite kick-ass stuff. Yeah, I’m agreeable grateful to James. I’ve by no manner played a personality that’s gotten to beget stuff like this.

Agee is impressed by Cena’s talent for comedy

In most cases, that heavy lifting is relegated to a man like John Cena in action films. And God is aware of he will be doing all action if he wished to, or he will be wrestling if he wished to. But what I judge is so mountainous is that we’re if reality be told seeing this man blossom as a comedy actor. Did that surprise you in any methodology? He showed it in “The Suicide Squad,” however man, he’s if reality be told comic in “Peacemaker,” too.

I’d viewed glimpses of John’s humor, no longer as a human, however appropriate his comedic timing and stuff like “Trainwreck” and the movie “Blockers,” the put he if reality be told held his personal as a comedic actor. I wasn’t taken aback when we started “Suicide Squad” at how comic he used to be, however I was taken aback at how just appropriate of an improviser he used to be. Many of the stuff you search is written, however there’s cases on the very cease of a scene the put James will allow us to riff and path off. [Cena] constantly had something to dispute. He used to be by no manner at a loss for phrases. He’s got a range of mountainous comic timing and he’s if reality be told lickety-split with deliveries and he’s by no manner at a loss.

Agee says Peacemaker is no longer a personality so without inform defined

What I judge is on the whole very just appropriate is Peacemaker — he in most cases is a if reality be told contaminated and nefarious human being, however John restful makes him likable. That’s got to be an awfully much difficult thing as an actor to beget. Would you resolve with that?

James writes comic dialogue [for Peacemaker, where you say], “All appropriate, that’s comic. This man’s an a–gap, however that’s comic.”‘ But you’ve got got some empathy in opposition to him in the series on story of we stumble on why he’s an a–gap through his relationship alongside with his father and also you’ve if reality be told open to feel sorry for him. You don’t despise him as noteworthy. He’s without inform despised in “Suicide Squad” and in the TV series, you feel more sorry for him than you beget offended with him. That’s a sizable jump to beget for a personality like Peacemaker.

In Peacemaker’s mind, he’s a superhero. And but again, we beget now to consider, he did wreck Rick Flag in “The Suicide Squad,” so he’s a immoral dude in many respects.

100%.

Would you take into story Peacemaker a superhero or would you take into story him a supervillain — or is he an anti-hero?

I’d wish to transfer with anti-hero. I judge right here’s a personality, if we did more seasons, who can even without inform transform a superhero — any individual likable and any individual who grows out of what his father made him transform. The functionality is without peril there, however I judge as of now, he’s an anti-hero. The whole aim of the appearance of “The Suicide Squad” used to be taking villains, taking immoral americans and utilizing them for just appropriate. He suits successfully into that world, however I no doubt judge there’s doable for him.

Agee would desire to reteam with David Dastmalchian for a Polka-Dot Man spinoff series

Whenever you occur to had the attend of working with any other member of ‘The Suicide Squad,” and americans wish to consider, you were the man doing hurry receive for King Shark, so that you have to receive to dangle these americans if reality be told neatly. I’m speaking about Margot Robbie, Daniela Melchior, Idris Elba, and a man that I’ve known for a range of years and is in reality appropriate one of my current americans, David Dastmalchian.

Oh, yeah.

How thrilling used to be that beget, initially, doing King Shark, however who else would you wish to work with? Sadly, David’s Polka-Dot Man is no longer with us; I wish we can even obtain a methodology to carry him lend a hand. Whenever you occur to can even beget any other spinoff series, who would you wish to work with?

I got to dispute, Dave Dastmalchian can even very neatly be my simplest just appropriate friend in proper life. We’ve known one any other for a while now. It used to be appropriate very just appropriate that James build us both in the same movie. I wish to, noteworthy equivalent to you, somehow search Polka-Dot Man primitive but again perchance in a prequel, however I wish to work with Polka-Dot Man. I’d like to work with Dave appropriate as a just appropriate friend, however I opinion the persona of Polka-Dot Man used to be so deep and nuanced, that I wish to somehow work with Polka-Dot Man but again — as a selfish person attempting to work with my just appropriate friend but again, however additionally, I opinion the persona used to be very just appropriate.

The stress-free of working with James Gunn

Pointing out James Gunn but again, it used to be an awfully good assist for you mentally and workwise to fetch an opportunity to work with him. How various is he as a television director versus a film director? Enact those sensibilities alternate or does it feel the same?

For me, there used to be no distinction. To begin with, I’m working with a just appropriate friend, however additionally, he attacked this the very same methodology he did with a movie. It’s appropriate like Peter Safran; we were doing interviews earlier and Peter Safran, in reality appropriate among the executive producers, talked about “Peacemaker” didn’t seem any various. It gave the impression like James appropriate making an eight-hour movie, and I’d wish to agree. He used to be the same person on put of abode. He if reality be told gave the impression plenty less wired, no longer that he ever is on the whole wired, however he gave the impression like he used to be having a if reality be told, if reality be told just appropriate time on this. So yeah, it didn’t feel any various to me. It felt longer, obviously — we were up there for seven months. “The Suicide Squad” used to be five, so it wasn’t that noteworthy longer.

We would like to carry up, too, that you were in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” You appropriate must sit lend a hand, Steve, and utter, “How did I fetch right here?”

I no doubt utter that as soon as I’m on put of abode. I’m a model of participants that is no longer going to ever fetch tired walking onto a movie put of abode. I have confidence like a 14-year-musty shrimp one walking onto a put of abode for the very first time, and it’s each time. I stroll onto the Jotunheim put of abode and I’m like, “Oh my God.” I was sitting with Nathan Fillion on the put of abode of “The Suicide Squad” in the early days of capturing that, and we were appropriate on the seaside. We were sitting on the flawed seaside, which they built a sizable seaside, and we were sitting there appropriate taking a witness at it. Nathan, who’s been doing this for longer than I beget, and more good-scale stuff, appropriate checked out me and he used to be like, “Are you able to suspect we fetch to beget this?” He used to be like a 12-year-musty. Yeah, it by no manner gets musty to me.

Exploring other parts of the DC Extended Universe

A couple various DC characters are talked about in some unspecified time in the future of “Peacemaker.” Batman for one, Superman in any other scene, in a wretched model of methodology — we won’t fetch into that! If John Economos can even scoot to a special nook of the DC Universe and exist in the self-discipline of a Batman or a Superman mission or whatever, beget you’ve got got any particular DC superhero that you’d desire to search him work with?

Fully. I was by no manner a comic book book reader. It’s something I if reality be told be apologetic about, and I’ll receive them now. My recordsdata of superheroes is the very classic, essentially the most neatly-most standard [being] Superman and Batman. I would in reality like greater than the leisure to be in a Superman movie or a Batman movie or in a Justice League-model peril. These are my favorites. That’s no longer even according to my dinky recordsdata of superheroes and comic books. I judge even supposing I did know comic books to the depth of James Gunn or Dave Dastmalchian, I would restful wish to beget a Superman movie, appropriate as keen on that genre. I judge Superman or Batman.

The important thing three episodes of “Peacemaker” are now streaming exclusively on HBO Max. Future episodes will premiere on Thursdays.

This interview used to be edited for dimension and readability.

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