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Davis says she tapped into 'Viola at 8' to play 'brutal' role in 'Suicide Squad'

By Karen Butler
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Davis says she tapped into 'Viola at 8' to play 'brutal' role in 'Suicide Squad'
"Suicide Squad" actress Viola Davis is seen here after winning the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor in a Drama Series for "How to Get Away with Murder" in Los Angeles on January 30, 2016. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Viola Davis says she looked back at who she was as a child to play a high-ranking, government official who assembles a group of supervillains to save the world from a powerful, supernatural foe in Suicide Squad.

Asked at a New York press conference this week about how she got into the mindset of the iconic, comic-book character Amanda Waller, Davis told reporters her co-star Joel Kinnaman gifted her with a copy of Confessions of a Sociopath, which she said she read "extensively" and found to be a tremendous resource.

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"One of the things I found out is a lot of CEOs of companies are sociopaths. People who have no guilt. If they cry, they are only crying because they feel like they are losing control," she explained. "And, also, I tapped into Viola at 8 because I can't tap into Viola at 51. At 8, I could beat somebody's [expletive]. I could beat somebody's [expletive]. I was just always angry because people were always teasing me. I was bullied. I remember that was the first story I told [writer-director] David [Ayer] when I met him. He was like, 'Viola, just tell me about your childhood.' I said, 'Well, David, I remember when I was 8 years old, I kicked a lot of [expletive].' So, there was a part of me that had to tap into that because with women, with me, I'm always apologizing. I am shy. I'm always retreating. I never tap into my power and Amanda Waller is not that. She is unapologetically brutal. ... With this group, I couldn't retreat."

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"Pretty much every day that me and Viola had together on set, David would call on her to come and stand behind the camera and then she would stand behind the camera and she would just yell mean things at me," Kinnaman, who plays her underling Rick Flag, revealed. "She'd be like: 'Hey, Joel! Joel! Flag! You little [expletive]! You punk-[expletive] [expletive]!' I'd just say: 'OK, good morning. Good morning!' So, that was my experience."

Co-starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie and Jared Leto, Suicide Squad is in theaters now.

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