'His role is very small, but he gets the most important line of the movie.'
Minor-ish spoilers below for The Suicide Squad.
Taika Waititi's name was part of the original cast announcement for James Gunn's semi-sequel, semi-reboot, totally-its-own-thing take on The Suicide Squad. But when the director eventually unveiled who was playing who in the movie, Waititi's role went conspicuously undisclosed.
At the time, we predicted perhaps Waititi would voice King Shark (though that was revealed to be none other than Sly Stallone). When the first trailer dropped, we momentarily wondered if he was lending his Kiwi accent to the extraterrestrial, mind-controlling starfish overload Starro. A subsequent trailer exposed his role for eagle-eyed fans, but now that the movie is out, we all know:
Taika Waititi is Ratcatcher. The Suicide Squad's Task Force X enlists Ratcatcher II (played by Daniela Melchior), who is the daughter of the original Ratcatcher and harnessed the power to control rodents from him. Waititi's Ratcatcher only appears briefly in flashback -- having died tragically of a drug overdose -- but his relationship with his Ratcatcher successor provides the movie's beating heart. It turns out, Waititi almost played a different role.
"This is just teasing people, so I shouldn't even say it. But I'm going to," Gunn told ET's Ash Crossan. "I wrote one of the roles of one of The Suicide Squad members for Taika, and Taika wanted to do it."
At the time, Waititi was also attached to direct a live-action adaptation of Akira at Warner Bros. "He wrote me, 'I think I'm about to start on Akira. It looks like it's happening, so I don't think I can do the movie,'" Gunn said. "And I'm like, oh, shoot! So, I went and recast that role."
We know that Peacemaker was similarly recast when Dave Bautista opted for another project, making way for John Cena's scene-stealing and HBO Max original series-inspiring performance. Gunn was remiss to reveal which role was written for Waititi, so get to guessing. Our best bet? Javelin, the role eventually played by Flula Borg. (And thank God for that.)
"At that point, Akira didn't happen, and Taika wrote me and said, 'Is that role still available? I have time,'" Gunn shared. "I said, 'Well, I don't have that, but I do have this other role.' But at least let's turn you into a superhero. So, he came in and really, for me, just knocked that out of the park. I mean, his role is very small, but he gets the most important line of the movie."
The Suicide Squad is now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.