'The Suicide Squad': David Dastmalchian on Playing Polka Dot-Man

The Suicide Squad is the highly anticipated sequel to the 2016 film Suicide Squad, which will see the task force of convicts on a mission to destroy a Nazi-era laboratory and fight other forces of evil along the way.

The ensemble cast includes Suicide Squad originals Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flag and Viola Davis' Amanda Waller alongside some new faces.

Joining the cast of The Suicide Squad is Ant-Man's David Dastmalchian, who takes on the role of Polka-Dot Man. There is a host of new characters, including King Shark, voiced by Sylvester Stallone, Peacemaker played by John Cena, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, Pete Davidson as Blackguard and a female version of Ratcatcher, played by Daniela Melchior.

Polka-Dot Man/Abner Krill is one of the film's major villains, originating in Detective Comics #300 in February 1962, created by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff.

He was introduced into the Batman universe, as one of the villains who wanted to make a name for himself in Gotham City, eventually proving himself to be superior to the Dark Knight at one moment in time.

Eventually, he was caught by Batman's sidekick Robin and his superhero powers were diminished. He returned to a criminal lifestyle, robbing businesses and supermarkets armed only with a baseball bat.

He then went on to serve Doom Patrol's General Immortus before his death.

Dastmalchian, a self-confessed "geek" admitted to Newsweek he didn't know who Polka-Dot Man was when director James Gunn approached him about the role.

He shared: "I had no familiarity with before, you know, this film and that was embarrassing to me because I am someone who thinks they know a lot about comic books in the world of comics, especially villains because they're my favorite. James [Gunn] told me that he wanted me to portray the character Abner Krill, The Polka-Dot man, and then he sent me this script and I sat down and read it and I laughed. I cried I gasped, I stood on my feet.

"I got the opportunity to go and join this insane ensemble of some of the most talented actors and some of the funniest people I've ever met and working under the guidance of this visionary genius James Gunn I got to bring this character to life who, for all intents and purposes is like one of the most pathetic characters that probably ever appeared in a superhero film.

As seen in The Suicide Squad, Polka-Dot Man is a metahuman criminal from Gotham City, who can grow multi-colored polka-dots from his body, with each colour representing a different and often deadly weapon.

For example, Polka-Dot Man's colours can produce saw-blades, poisonous gas, flying saucers and some even hold the power of transportation.

Polka-Dot Man is also an expert engineer, with the ability to use his skills to create a supervillain uniform to use his polka-dot ability to the best of his advantage.

The film will see the unlikeliest of supervillains — from a former psychiatrist to a man-eating fish-human hybrid — come together to fight evil.

Polka-Dot Man is a member of the second Task Force Team, who are sent to Corto Maltese to destroy s Jotunheim, a Nazi-era prison and laboratory.

Polka-Dot Man was a part of Task Force X who set out to destroy Starro as part of Project Starfish.

He is famously quite an obscure, troubled and sad character from the DC Universe. Unfortunately, the much-loved supervillain doesn't see himself as being worthy to be a part of Project X and makes very clear his death wish during the mission.

Dastmalchian described Polka-Dot Man as "morbidly depressed" and "apathetic," insisting if it wasn't for Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis), he "probably wouldn't have ever left his cell."

"I don't think there's much that Abner wants at the beginning of this film more than to just end it all and that's ridiculous in the context of a superhero movie, but it's also painfully dark, and emotional."

Funny and Sad Moments

Although the superhero comedy will have audiences laughing out loud, the film has moments, particularly involving Polka-Dot Man, that may reduce you to tears. The troubled character also struck a personal chord with Dastmalchian himself.

Dastmalchian reflected: "It was such an honour for me to get to explore that in the world of film, as you know, big and explosive as The Suicide Squad because I think my character at the end of the day is still grounded in something that is very common and very human, which is feeling like 'I don't belong here. I don't have any skills that are worth anything. I don't have any talents that really matter in the world. People don't like me. I don't know what the purpose of my existence is' and I hate to say it, but I just feel like that's a more common sentiment that we care to admit in the world.

"I know I've felt that way more times than I care to admit. And I know that the battle to come out of that has been Herculean for me to say the least."

"I had to go as deep as I could into this character's psychology. And some people may laugh, and go, you're just playing Polka-Dot Man, for God's sake. And I think, 'yeah, I'm playing f****** Polka-Dot man'. It's a huge responsibility, because for him to matter, to anybody who's watching this film, and for his role and his relationship with the other characters in the film to mean anything it has to be a really multi-dimensional exploration of emotion, emotions, and psychology.

"For me, battling depression and anxiety and insecurity are things that I have wrestled with my whole life and so I did, go there, and I did go to those places. And thankfully, in the hands of someone who is kind and supportive and visionary, James [Gunn], what would happen is sometimes we'd get into the scene work, and he would just encourage me to stop, let go of my fear, and my insecurities and to just breathe, and to let the words come out of me. It was really hard work but I loved every second of it."

Reflecting on his The Suicide Squad experience, Dastmalchian said: "It's really been a life-changing experience. I can't wait to sit in the movie theatre with people watching this film, because I think it's going to be one of the highlights of my experience as a human being."

The Suicide Squad is out in UK cinemas now and will arrive in US theatres on Thursday, August 6.

The Suicide Squad will be available to stream via HBO Max from Friday, August 6.

david dastmalchian polka dot man
David Dastmalchian as Polka Dot Man, John Cena as Peacemaker, Idris Elba as Bloodsport and Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2. Jessica Miglio/™ & © DC Comics