The only thing more massive than the hype surrounding James Gunn’s upcoming DC Extended Universe (DCEU) effort The Suicide Squad is the film’s cast. The soft-reboot sees favorites from the 2016 movie return, including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and Oscar-winner Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.
And that’s not even to mention the newcomers like Idris Elba, who will be playing Bloodsport, and John Cena, who plays Peacemaker. With the release of the new trailer, we’re getting a look at the cast in action. And we’re also learning that said cast includes at least one cameo from a film industry titan.
Late in the trailer, there are a few flashes of a sequence that takes place in some kind of nightclub. The scenes go by quite quickly, but if you pause right after a shot of a hand cheers-ing with red cups, you’ll see a clip of people dancing.
In the back of the dancefloor, there’s an older man leaning his chin on the shoulder of his partner. In a trailer already loaded with details, a quick shot of a background actor likely didn’t catch your eye. However, those who are familiar with indie horror movies and the history of Gunn’s career might recognize the man.
Yes, he’s not just some extra. The man is actually Lloyd Kaufman, a prolific director, and producer who also co-founded the legendary schlock studio Troma Entertainment. And his cameo in The Suicide Squad is far from the first time he and Gunn have collaborated.
Gunn and Kaufman have a long history of collaboration
Gunn arguably got his big break with his directorial debut, the 2006 horror-comedy Slither. The Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks starring movie about a grotesque alien parasite that invades a small town is, in many ways, a send-up of classic creature-feature B-movies. But before Slither wormed its way into the hearts of audiences, Gunn worked as a scriptwriter for Troma Entertainment.
Gunn’s early resume includes writing credits on Troma productions like the meta-horror movie Terror Firmer and the infamously grotesque Shakespeare adaptation Tromeo and Juliet, which Gunn co-wrote with Kaufman. In turn, Kaufman has had cameos in several of Gunn’s post-Troma films, including 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Around the time of that film’s release, Vice interviewed Kaufman and asked about his history with Gunn. The industry vet said, “James Gunn was involved with Troma before…Originally he was a novelist, but he needed a paid job as well, so he became my assistant. I was working on Tromeo & Juliet for about five years…and I couldn’t really get a good script that I believed in, so I said, ‘Here’s $100—go and write a script and come back in three days.'”
According to Kaufman, Gunn produced a compelling script and the rest is history. Kaufman continued by saying, “He’s put me in all these movies so far and now he’s the number one guy at the box office! Like that Titanic guy, you know? ‘I’m the king of the world!’ Only James would never say that cause he’s such a nice guy.”
It’s heartwarming to see that Gunn is carrying on that tradition with Kaufman’s cameo in The Suicide Squad.