SPOILER WARNING: Do not read if you’ve not seen “The Suicide Squad,” currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
Storm Reid has only two scenes in DC’s R-rated action spectacle “The Suicide Squad,” from writer-director James Gunn, but the 18-year-old acting veteran (“A Wrinkle in Time,” “The Invisible Man,” HBO’s “Euphoria”) makes the most of them. As Tyla, the ne’er-do-well daughter of Idris Elba’s convicted assassin Robert “Bloodsport” DuBois, Reid repeatedly howls F-bombs at her father when she visits him in prison — something Reid makes clear she would never do in real life.
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What were you first told about this role?
Oh, wow. When my team first sent the role over, I think they said it was a DC project — big franchise movie. And then I had a conversation with Mr. James and they sent over the script, and then I finally realized that it was “The Suicide Squad.”
Did you know that you were going to be playing Idris Elba’s daughter?
I did not find that out until I had my meeting with Mr. James. I was super excited because I’m a big fan of Mr. Idris. We go at it in the film, so to have that love and comfortability on set with Mr. James and Mr. Idris, and then to be able to challenge my acting chops with him during the scene was fun.
Was there any sort of audition process? And if so, did that entail you screaming the F-word over and over again?
I did do one tape that I sent to Mr. James. I don’t particularly remember the sides, but I don’t think it was the scene that was in the movie, because I think I would remember screaming and cussing in an audition room.
So what was it like to actually do the scene, and curse out Idris Elba? I would have felt intimidated!
It is very intimidating, especially the way you put it, cursing out Idris Elba! It’s all part of the fun of acting, stepping into your character’s shoes and trying to embody a character, but also not neglect your raw emotion as a human being. They all made me feel comfortable. We had a day of going back and forth. Mr. James, he really made us go at it and had us do it a lot of different ways. I think the cut that made it into the movie is really darn good and I’m proud of it.
Have you had an opportunity to let loose like that before as an actor — or in real life, for that matter?
All of my characters have had their moments of breaking free and expressing themselves unabashedly. I did get to experience a lot of that in “Euphoria,” where everything is basically high stakes and very emotional — especially in Season 2. I mean, it wasn’t unfamiliar.
Now that you’re 18, has that broadened what your character can experience on “Euphoria”?
Absolutely. I think when we were filming the first season, Gia was, what, 15? Even though I am 18 now, I don’t think Gia is quite there. But I think she will be evolving as a character and as a human and hopefully get her own episode and we start to see a little bit more of her storyline.
Tyla, your character in “The Suicide Squad,” does not come from the comics. Was part of your deal the option to return for more movies?
That would be a dream to be able to come back if there were a sequel with Tyla and see how her character has grown and evolved and, probably, fits into the Suicide Squad. But I’m just grateful to have been a part of it. Maybe she’ll pop up in the next one if there is a next one, and I would not be opposed to that at all.
Has doing a superhero movie franchise like this been a career goal for you?
Absolutely. I can’t speak for all actors and actresses. But I think a lot of people who act would like to be a part of a superhero movie in some capacity. So it was a bucket list item that I’m able to check off, and hopefully I’ll be able to be a part of more superhero movies in a bigger capacity.
In another scene towards the end of the movie, Tyla is watching her father battle a giant starfish on TV. How was what you were supposed to be looking at described to you?
We shot that scene on my first day of filming. Mr. James basically said, “Look at this TV” — it was a blank TV set — “and just imagine you’ve seen your dad basically save the world and do good things, and think about the journey that he has to go on.” We only shot that scene in two takes. I remember it vividly, because it was very fast, but it was pretty fun.
You keep referring to James Gunn as Mr. James. Is that something that you’ve always done with your director?
Yeah, it’s not just director. Anybody that is my elder, I say, “Yes, ma’am, yes, sir” and “Mr.” and “Mrs.” I’m from the South — I’m from Atlanta — and my mom wouldn’t have it any other way. If I don’t address someone correctly, I’d get in trouble. [Laughs] My mom gets on me. It’s just a thing of habit. It’s not forced. It was how I was raised and something I will continue to do. My mom still calls her elders, “Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir.” She addresses them as they should be addressed. It’s just a respect thing.
Would you ever want to get into a superhero suit and actually be the one saving the day?
Yes, absolutely. What makes a superhero movie cool is the costumes and being able to be of service and save people — to operate from a space of like, “I’m a superhero, but I’m also flawed and I do make mistakes and I don’t say the right things sometimes, but I’m putting my life on the line for other people” — I think that’s just super duper cool.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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