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With production for WB/DC’s Suicide Squad set to ramp up on April 13 in Canada, there’s still one major question mark looming over the project:

Who will play Rick Flag?

At one point, Tom Hardy was set to play the part. But then something happened and the star bolted. In a chat with USA Today, Smith seemingly confirms our exclusive report on Hardy’s reasoning. Heading into the holiday break, he was onboard. Then writer-director David Ayer turned in the screenplay, Hardy saw it, and decided he’d rather do something else. Smith dances around it a little bit, but states that Ayer “turned the screenplay in before Christmas. What happens is Hollywood shuts down. But he was still working and he wanted to (start shooting) April 13th. So it takes a couple weeks to gear back up at the top of the year and people have taken (other) movies. He’s moving really quickly.” 

Our inside source told us that Smith’s role (Deadshot) was amped up in the screenplay, while Hardy’s Flag became less of a focal point. There were also elements of the character that received a somewhat drastic change from what the initial pitch was. Margot Robbie, who will play Harley Quinn, downplays that the part may not be as appealing anymore- despite not being able to nail down a replacement for Hardy in the weeks since his departure. “This happens all the time,” tells USA Today, speaking alongside Smith as they promote their new film Focus. “People act like, ‘Oh my god, the movie must be ending!’ It’s just the deal with movies,” Robbie states. The Aussie actress also adds that “a lot of the characters haven’t been portrayed before so it’s a pretty big undertaking. And it’s a big undertaking for the people who are going to play the characters who have been played, like the Joker (to be played by Jared Leto). It’s big shoes to fill.

We’ve got to get it right,” says Smith. One would think that the pressure is mounting a bit, with the shooting date rapidly approaching. Jake Gyllenhaal was in talks as a possible Hardy replacement, but is now considered a no-go as well. Robbie, who made her feature film debut in 2013, continues to downplay that there’s as issue. “It’s almost impossible to get a movie all together when there are two main cast members, let alone an ensemble cast with everyone’s schedules. It’s crazy if it works out,” says the Wolf of Wall Street star. 

Speaking of things working out, both Robbie and Smith say that they’ve begun their intense Suicide Squad exercise regiments. “Oh god yes. I started before Christmas. No carbs on Christmas! It was terrible.” Robbie, on the other hand is eating plenty as she attempts to bulk up a bit, focusing on building strength. “I’m not strong, though. To do your own stunts you have to be so strong,” she says. 

As a total side note: I know squat about Suicide Squad. But in putting together this story, I see that people keep referring to the character as “Rick Flagg,” yet the only official spelling I have found is “Rick Flag.” What’s up with that? Feel free to school me in the comments below.

While you’re at it, throw in who you would cast as FlagGgG and why you think it’s been so hard to nail down an actor.

SOURCE: USA Today