Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why The Thinker From The Suicide Squad Looks So Familiar

"The Suicide Squad" doesn't exactly have a shortage of unlovable characters. There's a giant kaiju starfish with mind control powers, two separate and equally unlovable fascist political regimes, and John Cena and his uncompromising willingness to do whatever it takes to preserve liberty no matter what he has to eat a beachfull of to get it done.

Towards the top of the list of the film's most difficult people is the Thinker, the super scientist with a penchant for scalp modification and a love of body horror human experimentation. Some folks might recognize the mad filling out the Thinker's spectacular tracksuit by his familiar ability to curse with the cadence of a rageful poet. Others might have noticed that his sci-fi condescension has the practiced tone of someone that's shouted at a companion from across a TARDIS console.

The Thinker, AKA Gaius Grieves, is played in the film by Peter Capaldi. If you don't know the name, you should. If you do know the name, get ready to know it even more.

Peter Capaldi started out in Living Apart Together

With a film and television career stretching back just shy of forty years and over 120 credits on his IMDb page, there's plenty of ground to cover when it comes to Peter Capaldi's work. With that in mind, there's no better place to start than at the top of the list.

1982 saw Capaldi make his on-screen debut with the premiere of "Living Apart Together," a television romcom by Scottish writer/director Charles Gormley. The film tells the story of a rock star, played by singer BA Robertson, whose wife Evie (Barbara Kellerman) leaves him unexpectedly. Even more unexpected is the revelation that Evie has shacked up with some new guy named Joe, played by Capaldi. Drama up and ensues.

Almost four full decades after "Living Apart Together" was released, it's mostly remembered as the flick that gave Capaldi his start, and as a mind-bending reminder that the actor was, at one point — and this is true — in his 20s.

Capaldi made his mark with The Thick Of It

Before about 2013, Capaldi's best-known work was arguably on the British sitcom "The Thick Of It." If you've ever wanted to see the foul-mouthed intensity of a furious Hollywood producer condensed into a wiry six-foot log of Scottish rage, you've found your pot of not-safe-for-work gold and the end of the infectiously offensive rainbow.

"The Thick Of It" saw Capaldi playing Malcolm Tucker, the "enforcer" and director of communications at 10 Downing Street. As a point of reference, Capaldi would eventually go on to portray a perpetrator of untold intergalactic war crimes (more on that in a minute) and this was still the most terrifying part he ever played. Across four series and a TV movie, Malcolm Tucker wove obscenities into masterful tapestries of workplace terror. For his work on the series and its spinoff film, Capaldi was nominated for dozens of awards, and took home a pair of BAFTAs, among others. Or, as Malcolm Tucker would put it, "(there's literally no quote from this character that we can repeat here.)"

The Doctor Who party never stopped for Peter Capaldi

Most actors in the UK go their whole lives and only get one, maybe two offers for roles on "Doctor Who," as guaranteed by the British constitution. Peter Capaldi somehow managed to leave his competitors in the dust.

The big get was playing the Doctor, the preferred Time Lord of TARDIS enthusiasts the world over. Capaldi — or, more accurately, Capaldi's severe eyebrows — made a cameo appearance in the show's 50th anniversary special in 2013 before debuting properly the following year. This new iteration of the Doctor, who lasted for a now-customary three seasons before regenerating into Jodie Whitaker, couldn't help but notice that he looked familiar to himself, owing to the fact that Capaldi had also played a citizen of Pompeii during the David Tennant years.

And that's not all. Between his stint as a Roman and his tenure in the phone box, Capaldi also appeared in the "Doctor Who" spinoff series "Torchwood" during its five-episode 2009 special "Children of Earth."