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Exclusive – The Suicide Squad star teases “bold, beautiful and brutal” James Gunn movie

David Dastmalchian plays Polka-Dot man in the DC movie – but for his new animated project, Batman: The Long Halloween, he’s bringing a different supervillain to life.

David Dastmalchian as Polka Dot Man
Warner Bros
Published: Thursday, 17th June 2021 at 4:20 pm

David Dastmalchian has become a master of the superhero genre, jumping between Marvel’s Ant-Man franchise (where he plays one of Paul Rudd’s ex-con sidekicks) and his upcoming main role in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Plus there's a new animated role in Batman: The Long Halloween to look forward to.

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Throw in the fact he made his film debut in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight back in 2008 and surely he’s set for Comic-Con appearances for life. Assuming, of course, he wouldn’t rather go as a punter.

“I’m a geek and a fan myself, someone who has spent my life shopping in comic shops, collecting toys and collectibles, and going to Comic-Con as a fan, not as a guest,” Dastmalchian tells RadioTimes.com in an exclusive chat.

“I feel like the fans are my fellow brother- and sisterhood. My wife and I have explored comic shops everywhere from Italy to Scotland, Sweden, basically everywhere we go we’re always going to find the nearest comic shop. It’s such a wonderful community to be a part of."

Dastmalchian admits he was always intrigued with the darker characters from an early age. “When I was a kid I’d say The Joker was my favourite character. I loved The Batman but I was more interested in The Joker. That’s where it’s come from and maybe people realise that deep down I’m a super-villain in waiting!”

Of course it is indeed his next super-villain role that fans are desperate to see. Dastmalchian’s upcoming performance in The Suicide Squad (the sequel/reboot of 2016's Suicide Squad directed by James Gunn) stands out in the trailers thanks to Polka-Dot Man’s unusual dot-based powers and apparently downbeat personality. So what should we expect from the film and his character?

“It’s bold, beautiful and brutal,” he tells us.

“I’ve been very lucky in the DC Universe, being able to bring to life characters that I love. They are, to all intents and purposes, 'others' who are on the outside looking in. They’ve been ostracised from society for one reason or another - sometimes because of their own misdeeds and actions, but often because the world is a cruel and unfair place to many.

“I believe that sometimes individuals who strike back against the world, whether they’re on one side of the coin or the other, are a bit misunderstood. There’s definitely a sorrow that comes from that experience and different characters express it differently. It’ll be interesting for audiences to see how Abner in The Suicide Squad expresses that feeling of being an outsider.”

And what about his future in his other big superhero franchise, continuing with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania? Well, Dastmalchian is keeping schtum, even as production begins with Paul Rudd in London this week.

“That information is under wraps,” he tells RadioTimes.com. “We’re keeping everyone waiting and guessing. There are certain things that are best left unsaid, but time will tell, won’t it?”

Happily, he was more eager to talk about his third (yes, third) ongoing superhero project, The Long Halloween, an animated adaptation of the classic Batman comic of the same name. He stars alongside the the likes of Jensen Ackles, Jack Quaid, Josh Duhamel and Katee Sackhoff.

In this version of DC comic universe, he plays a date-themed villain called Calendar Man. Despite that less-than-spectacular name he’s still a pretty deadly threat, even when helping Batman track down the deadly Holiday Killer.

“Julian Day, who is the Calendar Man, is an individual whose brain works in a very unique manner,” Dastmalchian tells us. “He understands time, the passage of time and the value of beginnings, middles and endings more than most people.

“His brain works the way a calendar does; there’s something very significant about the beginning of things and something very vital about the death and ending of things, like ripping a page off a calendar one day at a time.”

He adds: “He has an insight into the Holiday Killer that no-one else in Gotham City could possibly scratch the surface of. The Caped Crusader seeks out his insights into the case and it’s so fantastically fun to be having the upper hand - an advantage of information - over someone as, dare I say it, self-righteous as The Batman. It’s such fun getting to toy with the Bat a bit!”

And even for a man with quite so many super-powered roles under his belt, this voice performance is unusually special, tying back to Dastmalchian’s first screen – and superhero movie – role in a way that even a screenwriter might think was a little too neat.

David Dastmalchian as Kurt in Ant-Man and the Wasp (Marvel, HF)

“Fans always want to know what it was like being in The Dark Knight and I love answering that question because it was my first film, the first time I’d ever been on a film set and it was the beginning of what has been an incredible journey into Hollywood,” Dastmalchian tells RadioTimes.com.

“Going full circle, I know The Dark Knight had a lot of inspiration pulled from the pages of The Long Halloween. Although they’re quite different stories, there is a spiritual connectivity between them.

“For me as a lifelong lover of comics and comic culture in film and cinema, I went from doing Shakespeare at a wonderful theatre in Chicago then all of a sudden I’m stood on set next to The Joker himself directed by one of the greatest directors of all time - it was mind-blowing.”

Clearly, David Dastmalchian is a man who’s not done with superhero stories just yet - which is brilliant news for all of us.

As told to Simon Button.

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Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1 will be available to buy on DVD, Blu-ray™ & Blu-ray™ Steelbook on 21st June, and on Digital on 22nd June. To find out what's on telly tonight, check out our TV Guide.

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