David Dastmalchian is getting scene-stealing raves for his portrayal of Abner Krill aka Polka-Dot Man in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, which is sitting at a lofty 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the best reviewed DCEU movies ever. This highly anticipated follow-up (but not a sequel) to the 2016 film, follows Task Force X on a mission to destroy a Nazi-era laboratory and fight other forces of evil. Gunn’s film does include Suicide Squad OGs Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Joining the cast along with Dastmalchian are Sylvester Stallone as the voice of King Shark, John Cena as Peacemaker, Idris Elba taking over for Will Smith as Bloodsport, Pete Davidson as Blackguard, and Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2.
We were lucky enough to spend a few minutes with Dastmalchian to discuss his role in the film and we also bonded over our love for collecting pop culture items.
Dewey Singleton: If I were you and was playing a character in a comic book film, I’d make sure to own every toy or likeness of my character.
David Dastmalchian: (laughs) At this moment, I own all three versions of Polka-Dot Man, am I missing one?
DS: I guess you can tell a collector when you hear one.
DD: (Laughs) Let’s just say that you are the first person to ask me about this.
DS: Well, since you asked, I just read that Suicide Squad might have a line of action figures too.
DD: Oh, I’m going to have to ask about those.
DS: What do you like to collect? I am a Funko guy myself.
DD: Personally, I like collecting a variety of items but they are mainly horror-based. My collection has essentially taken over many areas of my house. What’s cool is that my children are now getting into these types of “retro toys”
DD: Do you remember M.U.S.C.L.E?
DS: Of course.
DD: I had a whole collection of them at my parent’s home that was in mint condition when I went away to school, when I came home from school, my mom had thrown them out.
DS: That is worst!
DD: (Laughs) I totally agree!
DS: What’s your most expensive piece?
DD: Probably my Remco Haunted House set. I dropped more money on that than I’d care to say (laughs). However, I certainly enjoy everything that I’ve collected to date. It’s not about the value but the connection that I have to it.
DS: Take me through how James Gunn approached you about this part. Did you have to be persuaded to take it?
DD: James told me that he wanted me to portray the character, Abner Krill. I was sent the script. I read it and I laughed, cried, and gasped at different points. It was such a blessing for James to feel that I could take on this challenge. Getting to work with this dream cast under Gunn’s guidance was an amazing moment for me. No one in the history of superhero films has portrayed a more pathetic figure. (lol).
DS: I’m not sure he is the most pathetic (laughs).
DD: Well, he is one that is battling depression, apathy, and this general feeling of dread. There’s a real human element to this character that was a joy to explore. James helped me bring out the best in him. Any praise or kudos about my performance in the film is due in large part to how James created such a wonderful environment for us to thrive in. Best experience I’ve ever had on a film.
DS: Was there a lot of improv in the film or did you improvise any of the scenes you were in?
DD: Well, not really.
DS: I guess that’s a sign of a fantastic script.
DD: Sure, I mean we did a small amount, of improvised moments but for the most part we all stuck to what was on the page. In my case, the script seemed so true to who Abner was that the need to improvise was minimal at best.
DS: What’s your favorite line in the film?
DD: I’m a superhero is my favorite by far. It represents the first time that Abner realizes that he does have value and worth. It’s too bad that Starro had other plans. (laughs)
DS: It was my favorite as well.
DD: It was a great moment. We all wonder what our purpose is. I know that I’ve asked that question of myself more often than I care to admit. There’s a huge responsibility playing a character like this which has so many facets to its personality. This character is dealing with depression, fear, and anxiety which are three things I’ve battled my entire life.
DS: Was there ever a moment in the film where you turned to James and said, can we tone down the practical effects?
DD: (Laughs) No, those were my favorite parts of the film. Especially the one with Harley in the lab while the water was gushing towards us. Being in those moments really helped put into focus the enormous size of this project and the responsibility I felt to give my best every take.
DS: Wow, better you than me (laughs). It seemed like those moments after Starro’s tank breaks were torture.
DD: (Laughs) No, I felt very fortunate to be part of this tremendous project and fantastic ensemble.
DS: Well, this has been amazing and I felt that your performance was by far my favorite in Suicide Squad, but I’d like to end by asking if you had any advice for fans going into the opening weekend?
DD: Buy a ticket for Suicide Squad on the biggest screen possible. Get popcorn and a drink too. Oh, and make sure you get vaccinated as well so we can all do this safely or Polka-Dot man will get you (laughs).
The Suicide Squad is currently in theaters and on HBO Max.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/™ & © DC Comics