The Suicide Squad is my favorite movie of the year so far. James Gunn’s tribute to the pulpy demented works of John Ostrander’s DC run in the ’80s is bloody, bold, and brilliantly surreal. And none of it would be possible if it wasn’t for a stolen Style Watch!
For those who need a quick recap, the only reason Idris Elba’s Bloodsport joins the squad and accepts the mission at Corto Maltese in the first place is because his daughter Tyla, played by the lovable and amazing Storm Reid, gets arrested for stealing a Style Watch. Without this, Bloodsport would never join the squad. Ratcatcher 2 would be dead. Corto Maltese would be destroyed and overtaken by a giant evil starfish alien. And who knows what other world-ending implications would happen in the aftermath of Starro the Conquerer’s rule. The point of it all is to say that the secret, central character, and the catalyst for the entire movie’s events is the spectacular Storm Reid!
Recently, The Nerds of Color was incredibly lucky to get a few minutes with Reid to discuss her role in the movie, some of the movie’s heavier themes, her interest in becoming an X-Man for the MCU, and her gorgeous look at the movie’s premiere. Here’s what she had to say about everything:
Storm, thank you so much for doing this. I wanted to let you know it’s an honor to interview you. This is my favorite movie of the year, and I’m not just saying that. I love this movie. You are awesome in this movie, and I loved seeing you in this because you’re such a talented actress. Thank you so much!
REID: Thank you for those kind sentiments! Thank you!
The first question I have is this: If I was criticized for stealing a Style Watch, what would be the best argument I could give to justify why I stole it?
[laughing] That’s a hilarious question! You can use Tyla’s argument. You can watch TV on it, AND it does other things too. Technology is so expansive these days that I’m sure the Style Watch that you would steal or anybody else stole and Tyla stole does some pretty cool things. Even though I don’t condone stealing! But if it came down to it, if it’s cool, then maybe we can talk about it!
And it’s fine as long as you have a lookout right? No just kidding! For people reading or listening to this: Do not steal!
Yes! Please don’t steal!
If I may bring down the mood a little bit, we are living in a time where we’re still dealing with issues like police brutality against folks of color or minorities. And I think the movie, in my opinion, touches upon that. Would you say the film has some commentary about how figures of powers tend to see others that don’t have power as expendable?
Yeah, absolutely! That’s why I think I love this movie so much. Because I strive to be a part of projects that are, yes entertaining, and fun, and captivating, but also have a message. And it doesn’t have to be preachy. But I think as creatives we have the opportunity to say things. And when we don’t we’re doing ourselves and audiences a disservice. So I think there were a few places in our movie where James made the dialogue and the scene very intentional. Even though it’s a super fun superhero movie, he wanted to say something! So when, and there were so many scenes, but when they overtook the government. Or when they go into the forrest/village, and they destroyed everything, and there were people fighting for what they believe in and fighting for their lives, and [Alice Braga’s Sol Soria] says, “Americans always just coming in with their guns blazing,” I think he did really take his time to make sure that he got his point across. And that he related to everybody in the world and what they’re going through. So I’m proud of him for that, and proud of a project that entertains, but also says a lot.
I definitely agree with you on that, and those are some of the messages I got from the movie as well, which I absolutely loved. But another one of the themes I really loved was the overt motif about fathers and daughters — particularly with Bloodsport’s arc — which you are a primary part of. Did your relationship with your own father have an influence on how you approached the role of Tyla?
That’s a funny question. I think you can always pull from your different experiences in your life to help create a character or have a character be more well rounded. I wouldn’t say the particular experiences with my father. But I think we all go through things with family, friends, and relationships where we can relate to characters. And that’s where I pulled from. But I think I mostly just tried to step into my character’s shoes, whether I’ve been in their experience or not. And really try to become them and tell their stories, because that’s what’s most important.
Fantastic! And it’s a lovely scene between you and Idris. It’s funny, but it also gets efficiently to the point of that relationship, and how things can eventually evolve. Especially after Bloodsport’s experiences in Corto Maltese. It sets up everything. Jumping on the other side of the “comic book fence,” your name is Storm. And rumors are that Marvel Studios is going to be rebooting X-Men in a few years. Would you ever want to join the MCU camp? And would you ever be interested in playing Storm? Because that would be serendipitous.
I think so! If that opportunity ever came across my plate, I’d be ecstatic and elated! And I think that would be history-making! Storm plays Storm! But those are big, big shoes to fill. Ms. Halle Berry did an amazing job. But if Marvel was to reimagine it, and wanted me to be part of it, I don’t think I would hesitate in saying yes at all!
Oh Storm! You could fill those shoes. I’m going to campaign for that actually! “Storm for Storm!”
Two more questions if I may. One, if you were asked to join Task Force X, what would you want your superpower to be?
Oh man! That’s hard! That is a loaded question! Oh my gosh! Because when people ask you things like this, of course you would like — you can say things like fly or be invisible. Things like that. But you would want your superpower to be enough for you to have to survive and save people. So I don’t know! Can you give me some suggestions? I need the superpower to be cool! And not just like a normal superpower if that makes sense.
Sure! Radar sense like Daredevil would be cool in Corto Maltese. Invisibility would be a good power.
Invisibility is a good one!
Mind-reading, but not like The Thinker or Starro. But genuinely sensing and empathy! I don’t know. There’s so many cool ones out there. You could just be Tyla and have like really cool aim like Bloodsport has!
I’m going to think about this question all day. I think what people get wrong about superheroes is that superheroes, especially this day in age, especially like how we saw in The Suicide Squad, are normal humans that have feelings, that have flaws, that make mistakes. That are just normal people that happen to have these incredible powers that are sometimes useful and sometimes not. So if I were to have superpowers in any universe or in any movie, I would want it to be rational. And I would want my character to be grounded, but she could also do cool things.
Best response ever, honestly! If I can ask one last question. We gotta talk about how amazing you looked at the premiere last week. Not only did you look gorgeous, but your hair-game was ON POINT! How long did it take you to put together the braid?
It was something we had been thinking about for a while. And my outfit was something we had planned. But my mom was like “you should do like a really cool long braid or ponytail.” And actually the day of, Nai’vasha Johnson, who is like the hair expert, did my hair that day. And I think like, no exaggeration, it only took her, like an hour to slick my hair back and braid that really really long braid. She’s super talented and I don’t think the look would have been complete without her gracing my hair… It was super fun. Such a fun look. And I wanted to come to the premiere just being free and unapologetically myself, and capturing the essence of what a Black girl is and Black girl magic. And I think we did just that with the whole Prada outfit, the hair, the make up, everything. It just really came together perfectly.
Well it looked phenomenal. And I want to say thank you so much for your time!
Of course! Thank you!
Being able to interview anyone from The Suicide Squad is a huge highlight for me. And you are more than just “anyone,” you are the person — the catalyst — for this movie to happen. And you did an amazing job in it so thank you so much!
Aww. Thank you! Thank you, thank you!
All in all, Reid was incredibly gracious, sweet, and intelligent! And we were incredibly happy and lucky to have this time with her!
The Suicide Squad is now on HBO Max and in theaters! Go see this movie if you haven’t yet! It is absolutely amazing!