Superhero movies and TV series have become the “Law & Order” franchise of today: A place where every actor on the vast spectrum of recognizability will almost certainly end up at one point or another. And despite admitting to not being a comics person before her role on HBO Max’s “Peacemaker,” Danielle Brooks recognized that paradigm shift, and started looking for roles that she might be right for if the comic was ever adapted, according to a new interview with Variety.
“I used to have a list. I started doing research before getting this part of, like, if I were to ever be asked which [comic book] characters I could play, who do I actually look like?” Brooks said. “There are a few that look like me, actually, but when they’re reflected on TV or film, they change them completely. Their look does not reflect what you see in the comics. I’ve always tried to manifest doing an action project, because I do feel like a big part of my driving force in this industry is changing the narrative of what leading ladies look like and what plus-size women are capable of doing.”
Brooks and writer-director James Gunn are aiming to do just that with her role as Leota Adebayoon, who’s part of the black ops team reluctantly working with John Cena’s violent nationalist title character in Gunn’s streaming spinoff from his “The Suicide Squad” film. According to Brooks, Gunn wrote the role specifically for her after becoming a fan during her time on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black.”
During their initial meeting, Brooks made it clear that she’d never seen anyone like her in any of the superhero adaptations. “It was really exciting for James to say, ‘I like you the way you are. I don’t want you to get all this training and try to lose 100 pounds,'” she said. “He didn’t try to make me fit into his world. He said, ‘You already fit.’ I really appreciated that.”
Also joining Cena and Brooks in the series are Freddie Stroma as Vigilante, Jennifer Holland as Harcourt, Steve Agee as Economos, Chukwudi Iwuji as Murn, and Robert Patrick as Auggie Smith.
“Peacemaker” debuts its first three episodes January 13 on HBO Max.