Robert Patrick & Steve Agee Discuss Suicide Squad Spinoff

His character's name may be the title, but Peacemaker is about more than ex-Task Force X member Chris Smith. The HBO Max series brings back The Suicide Squad alums John Economos (Steve Agee) and Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) to add more depth to their characters, while introducing viewers to DC Extended Universe newcomers Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) and Vigilante (Freddie Stroma). Additionally, writer-director James Gunn uses the series to introduce his most dastardly villain yet: the white supremacist villain White Dragon -- who just so happens to be Peacemaker's father Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick).

Speaking to CBR, Agee, Patrick and producer Peter Safran offered some insight into their Peacemaker roles. Agee recalled a joke from The Suicide Squad that finally made it into Peacemaker, while Patrick broke down the people and characters that inspired his portrayal of Auggie Smith. Safran promised the series is pure, "unfettered" James Gunn and recalled his favorite memory from set. They also discussed filming during COVID and more.

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CBR: Steve, what were you most excited to explore with your character in Peacemaker, that perhaps you didn't have the time or space to do in The Suicide Squad?

Steve Agee: One of the things that was like a huge weight on my shoulders when we did the movie was my beard. It's never mentioned, although when we were shooting the movie, James [Gunn] was like, "Dye his beard, and I want it to look obvious."

We never mention it in the movie! I was like, "Why? Why do I have to dye this? It's a pain!" I go, "It's really funny in the movie, it's really funny on set, but you don't realize when you say, 'Cut!', I go to a grocery store and I have this hideous beard. I go to Starbucks, and I order and they're looking at my chin like, 'Does this guy know...? Does this guy think he looks good when he leaves the house?'" And it pays off in the series! Granted, in the form of me being the butt of all of Peacemaker's jokes, but at least it's brought to people's attention, you know?

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Robert, your character Auggie Smith, obviously, is not a good guy --

Robert Patrick: Not a great guy, but he is an engineering genius!

Exactly! How did you ground a character so vile, without letting him become something of a caricature?

Patrick: Well, that's basically a compliment to James Gunn, because he really created the character, and I'm just facilitating his needs to dispense the dialogue. Yeah, father/son relationships are very complicated, and certainly this one with Peacemaker is one for the ages, man. I mean, his father is not going to give them a break on anything. He can't do anything right, and he's constantly telling him.

So there's some characters I've played in the past, certainly, that I was drawing on, and there's certainly people that I've met. Without going down too dark a rabbit hole, he's a bad, bad, bad dude, and you had to have that for you to get an understanding of who Peacemaker is.

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Peter, you've worked with WB for quite some time now, and on some DC films, specifically. What is it about Peacemaker that makes it stand out from the other DCEU projects you've been involved in?

Patrick: John Cena.

Peter Safran: Well, mostly, it's the opportunity to work with James Gunn in kind of an unfettered manner, the idea of being able to give James eight episodes of real estate to really let his mind go crazy. So he really had tremendous creative freedom to explore everything he wanted to explore, both with Chris Smith, but also Economos and Harcourt and Murn and everybody else.

So what really sets it apart was the threshold we had going in was, "How do we make something that's different from any other superhero show or any other show on television?" James knew what he wanted. He knew what that should be. Over the course of these eight episodes, I think we really delivered on that promise.

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What is one of your favorite memories from working on this project?

Agee: I'll tell you what it was. This was my absolute favorite thing, and it happened on my birthday, was we shot the scene in Episode 1 where the team meets in a restaurant. Cena comes in and we're making fun of him for having an eagle that he names the Eagly, and we shot that for a few hours.

This is pretty much at the height of COVID. This was pre-vaccines. For most of us, we had not stepped foot inside a restaurant or eaten with friends in like a year. It almost brought a tear to my face to be able to -- granted, it's a set and it's all bells and whistles -- but I was sitting at a table in a restaurant with John and Danielle [Brooks] and my friend Jenn [Holland] and Chuk [Iwuji]. They would say cut, and they were like, "Okay, we need to move the cameras for coverage," and I don't think any of us wanted to get up from the table. We wanted to just keep talking there. That was, hands down, my favorite moment of shooting.

Patrick: Oh my gosh, there's so many wonderful moments. [laughs] Oh, you're gonna kill me. You know, the whole thing in the prison with the white supremacy thing -- boy, that was something to endure! I gotta tell you what! Holy moly! That was crazy.

Safran: Yeah! I mean, listen: for me, John Cena dancing for four minutes in his tightie whities to The Choirboys, just -- when I read it in the script initially, when James wrote it in there, and then watching it come to life, and John throws himself in there with zero self-consciousness and complete abandon? I just love that. To me, that's everything you need to know about John. No matter what you ask him to do, he's gonna deliver 110%.

Peacemaker drops new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.

KEEP READING: Peacemaker: John Cena & Jennifer Holland Unpack Their Characters' Vulnerabilities

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About The Author
Meagan Damore (5298 Articles Published)

Meagan Damore has served as a CBR Editor since January 2015, though she got her start as a staff reviewer in 2013. She discovered comics thanks to the plethora of movies and television she grew up with, like Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, the original X-Men film trilogy, X-Men: Evolution and Justice League Unlimited. She picked up her first comic in high school and fell instantly in love with the medium. Later, she took her love for pop culture with her to college, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts from Suffolk University and a Masters Degree in Literature from University of Massachusetts Boston. She loves to apply her education to her work writing editorials and conducting interviews. You can catch her writing on Agents of SHIELD, the Arrowverse and more right here on CBR. You can also find her on Twitter at @metathor.

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