Daniela Melchior Is the Heart of the New ‘Suicide Squad’ Movie


Daniela Melchior is the heart and soul of the new Suicide Squad movie, now in theaters and on HBO Max. The Portuguese newcomer plays Cleo Cazo, a.k.a. Ratcatcher 2, one of the super villains tasked by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) to complete a mission that will save Americans. Cleo is the daughter of the original Ratcatcher, and their superpower is exactly what you think: They can summon rats. Thousands of them. Whenever they want. And they have those rats do whatever’s necessary to get the job done. 

It’s not the most glamorous superpower, but it’s important. The Ratcatcher needs to earn the trust of her rats, which requires empathy, warmth, and kindness—things not exactly abundant in the other Suicide Squad members. Cleo infuses that warmth not just into her rodents but every character in this movie—and as a result, there’s calm within the chaos. Because of her, The Suicide Squad has an actual emotional center. It’s not just violence and gore and loud action sequences, though rest assured there’s plenty of that. The Ratcatcher humanizes these super villains in a way that makes you love them—and root for them. 

Because of this, I’m rooting for Melchior, both on screen and off. Below, get to know the 24-year-old, who only had eight credits on her IMDb page before The Suicide Squad

How did this movie come to you?

Daniela Melchior:  I was working in Portugal when a manager found me. We started submitting self-tapes from Portugal, and The Suicide Squad was my fourth self-tape in my life, ever. I submitted it, but I wasn’t feeling confident at all with that tape. But I guess they liked it. They called my manager to fly me to Atlanta to do a second audition in person, a screen test, and a chemistry test with rats. 

I went there and did my audition. [Producer] Peter Safran and [Writer-director] James Gunn and I had a meeting the day before the audition. I didn’t know what should I wear. Should I wear my glasses, makeup, no makeup? I didn’t know anything at all because the industry in America is totally different than Europe. So James told me before that meeting, they looked at each other—James Gunn and Peter Safran—and said, “No. She’s a no.” But the next day I did my audition, and James looked at Peter and said, “Tell me I’m not desperate that she’s the one, right?” And he was like, “Yeah, she’s the one.” 

 I didn’t know I was booking the role at that time. Some days later, James calls me. I didn’t answer because I didn’t hear it. I sent him a message saying, “Who’s this?” And he was like, “James Gunn, calling back.” He called me saying I got the role. I started shaking and crying. 

How did you celebrate? 

I went out to have dinner with my manager and his wife. I was alone in L.A. I didn’t know anyone at all!

This franchise is so huge. Have you thought about the ways your life will change after this comes out? 

Every time I think about it, I get anxious because I really love to be left alone, to feel relaxed, and just living my life. I’m a little bit scared about it, because whenever I’m not working, I can stop and relax. For example, if I fly to Thailand, I’m not recognized there. I can go to America, and I’m not recognized. It gets me a little bit nervous because, yeah, I guess I’ll belong to everyone from that point.

Daniela Melchior in The Suicide Squad.

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Were you a Suicide Squad or DC Comics fan before this movie came into your life?


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