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This image provided by Warner Bros. Pictures shows David Dastmalchian, from left, John Cena, Idris Elba and Daniela Melchior in a scene from "The Suicide Squad." Image Credit: AP

A huge part of why a film like ‘The Suicide Squad’ — out now in UAE cinemas — works is owed to its cast members and how they humanise these anti-heroes. And at the heart of James Gunn’s film is the story of Polka-Dot Man, played by David Dastmalchian.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dastmalchian talked about his ‘The Suicide Squad’ journey and how it began months earlier with a text in February 2019. He was in Scotland premiering his indie feature ‘All Creatures Here Below’. Around midnight in his hotel room, his phone vibrated.

“I got a text from James that said, ‘I want you to be a part of The Suicide Squad.’ My life changed in that instant,” says Dastmalchian, who had been friends with Gunn for years.

Gunn sent him the script, and the actor stayed up until 4am reading it — shocked not only that Polka-Dot Man was a central figure in the film, but stunned by how much the role resonated with him. After finishing the script, Dastmalchian grabbed his phone and recorded a raw, emotional voice message for Gunn.

“I’m just really honoured that I get to play this character. He is me,” Dastmalchian, voice choking with emotion, says in the message, according to THR. “You don’t even know how much my dumb skin conditions haunted me as a kid and how much I felt there was something wrong with me. And how bad I wanted to kill myself … 18 years ago, when I got the closest I ever came to taking my own life. And now I love my life. And I’m so grateful that I have Eve and the kids and I’ve got my friends and you.”

Dastmalchian reportedly suffers from vitiligo, an autoimmune disorder that causes loss of pigment, and spent much of his younger years struggling with self-esteem issues.