The recently released The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn, gave us many amazing super characters to root for, whether it was Idris Elba’s Bloodsport, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, Sylvestor Stalone as King Shark, John Cena as Peacemaker, and of course, David Dastmalchian as the Polka-Dot Man. And the reason, these characters have become so memorable and a favorite of viewers, whether one is a DC fan or not is because of how the actors themselves bonded to their respective roles to give a wholesome performance. And obviously, the best example of this is Dastmalchian who recently explained what aspect of the Polka-Dot Man he connected with the most.
In an interview with NME, David Dastmalchian shared that even though he is someone who has been a big fan of comic book characters for a long time when James Gunn offered him the part of Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad, he had never come across the character before. But the director put him at peace by revealing that when he wrote the character with Dastmalchian in mind. And when the actor read Gunn’s script, he discovered that he shared a crucial personal connection with the character.
“Your readers may laugh and say this actor is being a pretentious idiot for saying how deeply personal he could go with this character. But I would say [in response]: ‘No matter the genre or style of film that I’m working on – and yes, it may be a larger than life, bombastic, zany, crazy project – I always look at the work and find something I recognise’,” David Dastmalchian shared while explaining his approach in portraying Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad.
David Dastmalchian further added that he “instantly resonated” with Polka-Dot Man’s psyche. “The first was his struggle with morbid depression, which I have battled the majority of my life. I have been working actively on my mental wellbeing for the past 19 years, so thankfully I am now in a place where I can more readily access my baseline [for a performance]. In the past, I felt so plagued by my inner darkness, and by my feelings of shame, isolation and despair, that I attempted to take my life several times,” he shared.
David Dastmalchian understood Polka-Dot Man’s willingness to put himself in harm’s way as he is itching to just end years of suffering. The actor understands these suicidal tendencies and moments of looking for an escape “deeply.” The Dune star also connected with the inferiority complex his character feels because of the multicolored polka dots bursting out of him ever since his scientist mother experimented on him.
“Ironically, around the same time that I discovered comic books, which was in the third grade, these little spots started showing up on both of my knees, both of my elbows, and then around my mouth, eyes, knuckles, and throughout my body,” David Dastmalchian shared “And then I was told I have an autoimmune disorder called vitiligo in which my body destroys its own pigment. It means I’m incredibly vulnerable to the sun and I have these large white spots like a leopard all over my body.”
As a child, David Dastmalchian felt “disgust” and a “sense of inadequacy” for how he looked. He was even bullied for not being like the other kids his age. So, when he got the chance to play Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad, he used his own tragic experiences to bring the character to life.