There’s a dad bod behind that nice white mass.
Photograph: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Image

The Suicide Squad — or Activity Power X, if we’re being official — is a motley crew. Every member of the group, all of whom are supervillains doing government-sanctioned soiled work with the promise of a diminished jail sentence, is unhinged in their very own manner. Nonetheless, few are as odd as King Shark, a strolling, speaking nice white who could be a demigod and positively likes to eat individuals. In James Gunn’s new film, King Shark was voiced by Sylvester Stallone, however the Rocky star was just one half of the group that introduced this half-man, half-shark to life. Comic Steve Agee did the on-set movement seize for King Shark, forming what he calls a “shark version of Voltron together.”

Taking part in King Shark’s physique was new territory for Agee, who is probably finest identified for his function on The Sarah Silverman Program. “I’ve never had any experience doing motion capture,” Agee tells Vulture. “I’m not, like, Doug Jones or anything.” Gunn, who’s pals with Agee and beforehand solid him to play a Ravager in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, reached out to him anyway as a result of, as Agee places it, “I was tall and have a dad bod.” King Shark is about seven-feet tall, however the six-foot-six Agee has an improvisational nature that Gunn felt the opposite Suicide Squad actors may play off — all of the whereas remembering that their scene companion would finally be digitally changed by a large shark. For Agee, stepping into character concerned sweat, massive helmets, a sluggish Sylvester Stallone impression, and a few flattery.

Step 1: Don’t Sweat and Placed on the Helmet

Steve Agee (in his displacement go well with and helmet, again proper) and the remainder of the Suicide Squad.
Photograph: James Gunn/Instagram

Becoming a member of the ranks of A-list superhero actors like Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Idris Elba (Bloodsport), and Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag) was, Agee admits, a little bit intimidating. “I was just, like, really nervous and sweaty,” Agee says of his first desk learn. “I was like, there’s gotta be one dick in the group. But there wasn’t, to the point where, at one point, I was like, Am I the dick? There’s gotta be an asshole here somewhere! But there wasn’t.”

What Agee needed to do, post-table learn, to turn out to be King Shark doesn’t precisely evaluate to what Mark Ruffalo did to turn out to be the Hulk and even what Gunn’s brother Sean did as a stand-in for Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. “They’ve got these velvety suits with balls and numbers and squares and triangles and shapes stuck all over them. And their faces are mapped out with a camera mounted facing them. That’s really proper motion capture, ’cause they’re getting your facial expressions and using those for the visual effects,” Agee explains. “For King Shark, I mean, he’s got a shark’s face, so you’re not really gonna see my facial expressions in him.”

As a substitute, Agee wore a helmet with a body that roughly mapped out the place King Shark’s triangular head would seem, together with a padded foam displacement go well with to be sure that not one of the different actors or components of their surroundings received in the best way of the place King Shark’s digital physique would finally be. He estimates that the chest piece weighed in at about 40 kilos, resulting from a ending spray that weighed much more than the crew thought it will. (“They brought it to me, like, ‘We’re really sorry.’”)

Agee explains that King Shark scenes have been usually shot in two methods: one with him within the body, and one with out. Agee says that on the subject of the ultimate minimize, he’s positive the visual-effects group used the photographs with out him as a rule. That stated, he’s seen the film 3 times now, and he can nonetheless see his physicality within the completed King Shark.

Step 2: Lumber, Onerous

“Acting-wise, I mean, King shark is very basic,” Agee says. “He’s driven by hunger and a predatory nature.” So Agee took particular care to ensure his stride was additional lumbering, as a result of as massive as he was within the displacement go well with, the “real” King Shark was even larger. When the “real” King Shark rips a person in half onscreen, know that someplace in there, Agee is tearing aside a prop torso crammed with what he describes as “legitimate pig guts.”

“I’m sure it was something a lot less toxic and disgusting, but they had this torso — well, it was like a whole body, really — and it was kind of divided in half and they would kind of string it together once they put all the goop inside,” he continues. It was one in every of many situations when Gunn needed to make use of sensible results. “It was hooked to wires and I literally just had to hold my hands on it and kind of lift it up.”

Agee’s stand-in, stuntman Harlan Norris, subbed for the comic in most of the scenes involving water (“They were afraid I would drown or something”). There’s a second when the Squad unwittingly assaults a guerrilla camp, and King Shark picks up a person and lifts him proper into his mouth; Agee ran as much as the person, however Norris did the precise lifting (with assist from a wire rig) as a result of there have been issues that Agee would “drop a guy on my head and break my neck.”

“He would lift him up and kind of lower him down behind his head, like he was going down the shark’s throat,” Agee says of Norris’s people-eating talents. “It was really impressive to watch.”

Step 3: Do Your Finest Sylvester Stallone Impression

King Shark (heart) in his pure habitat.
Photograph: James Gunn/Instagram

Agee signed up for the function figuring out that he wouldn’t be voicing King Shark, however he nonetheless wanted to ship the character’s strains. Initially, he was utilizing a voice that was “darker and more intimidating,” however Gunn fairly instantly prompt one thing totally different. “He’s like, ‘I hear, like, a kind of slowed-down version of Stallone,’” Agee remembers. He says it was a lifeless giveaway that Stallone, who hadn’t formally joined the film but, would most likely be voicing King Shark.

“I just remember, for most of the shoot going, ‘They’re going to use Stallone. It’s going to be Stallone,” Agee says. “I almost wanted to say, ‘Why don’t you reach out to Stallone because that’s clearly who you’re going to use.’ So I was not surprised when they announced that it was Sly. It makes sense.”

Agee has nothing however reward for Stallone’s voice efficiency, and Stallone reciprocates that reward. Though the 2 met briefly on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, they by no means interacted for The Suicide Squad till the premiere final month. “I walked up to him and said, ‘Hey man, I feel like I should introduce myself. I’m the guy who played King Shark on set.’” Agee says. “And he was so awesome. He was like, ‘Wow, man, I can’t believe you had to do all that running around.’”

Step 4: Be Flattered

Within the wake of The Suicide Squad, there’s a small however vocal contingent of viewers who see one thing else in King Shark. One thing … hot. The character, whom Agee says he was not accustomed to previous to taking the function, has at all times been one thing of a joke in DC Comics. (He’s additionally a breakout character within the animated Harley Quinn collection, the place he’s voiced by Ron Funches.) Now there’s an ironic on-line appreciation of him, although, as is usually the case on the web, it’s arduous to inform simply how ironic it truly is.

“I love that. It’s flattering to me,” Agee says with fun, guessing that it’s merely the subsequent evolution of dad-bod tradition. “I guess there’s going to be a new, I don’t know, shark-bod kink or something like that, but I’m all for it.”

Agee couldn’t verify whether or not or not King Shark will seem within the upcoming HBO Max spinoff collection starring John Cena, however John Economos, the opposite character Agee performs in The Suicide Squad, can be within the present, as teased by the film’s post-credits sequence. So there’s hope for all of the King Shark followers (fins?) on the market but.


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