A Polka-Dot Man shared a picture with Abner Bubblegum, the Polka-Dot Cat, on Instagram. Now, superhero fans and cat lovers alike are loving the new dynamic duo.
Actor, writer, and comic book creator David Dastmalchian plays the unlikely hero, Polka-Dot Man (Abner Krill ), in The Suicide Squad. As part of his powers, Polka-Dot Man is covered with colorful discs resulting from a deadly virus. But more on that later – check out Abner Bubblegum, the Polka Dot Cat!
Dastmalchian, a cat lover, was in Panama filming his biggest scene when a stray cat approached him on the set. Before long, and thanks to some help from his “@thesuicidesquad family and some generous animal lovers in Panama,” the actor rescued Abner Bubblegum. Now, she lives with Polka-Dot Man and his family in the US.
“She has been a blessing to our family & was instrumental in helping us through the pandemic,” he wrote. “Please adopt, don’t shop, and spay/neuter your pets.”
Polka Dot Man and Polka Dot Cat
Later, Twitter user @gynoidprincess shared the images of the actor with Polka-Dot Cat. To date, the images received over 141.1K likes.
Polka Dot Cat’s Adopted Family
On the same day, Dastmalchian shared more about the cat, who he says adopted his family.
“Abner Bubblegum Polka-Dot Cat (aka the cat who adopted my family) thanks you all. #PolkaDotCat“
— David Dastmalchian (@Dastmalchian) August 13, 2021
In another tweet, the actor proclaimed his love for all cats, but especially Polk-Dot cats.
— David Dastmalchian (@Dastmalchian) August 12, 2021
Polka Dot Man and Polka Dot Cat Costumes by Famous Designer
Notably, Judianna Makovsky made Bubblegums’ superhero costume. Makovsky, an Oscar-nominated costume designer, created the actor’s colorful ensemble with cat-sized goggles. Previously she’s created designs for movies like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games.
Recently, for Dastmalchian’s birthday, Director James Gunn shared an image of Polka-Dot Man and his stunt double on Instagram. In the caption, he praised the actor’s performance and drew attention to the “complexities” of the uniform.
“Happy Birthday to my great friend, the Polka-Dot Man himself, @dastmalchian. I’m so pleased to see all the early critics gushing over his performance – a beautiful, sad outsider full of heart. Here he is on the set of #TheSuicideSquad with his stunt double @lonehart_stunts. For an extra treat zoom in on this photo to see the complexities of the Polka-Dot Man uniform designed by Judianna Makovsky.”
Next, we take a closer look at Polka-Dot Man, a lesser-known but fascinating character suddenly in a spotty spotlight.
Who is Polka Dot Man?
In the past, Polka-Dot Man has been ridiculed by DC Comics fans as a silly character who first appeared in the 60s Detective Comics. In the comics, he was one of the minor villains called “Mr. Polkadot” battling Batman and Robin.
However, the new film allowed Dastmalchian to add more depth and complexity to the role. Today, the film turns a tragic character into a unique story that fans can relate to and celebrate. Indeed, watching Polka-Dot man has been empowering for fans who suffer from skin disorders.
As a superhuman, Polka Dot man has a strange power, ejecting lethal polka-dot bombs. According to the backstory, as a child, Krill’s mother made him and his siblings the subjects of cruel experiments.
In his case, he carries the burden of an interdimensional virus that covers his body in painful glowing discs. Then, for the rest of his life, he has to shed polka-dot bombs each day to survive. When ejected, the polka dots can blow up whatever they touch to bits.
See Polka Dot Man’s long history from Key Issues:
Playing Polka Dot Man Was a Dream Come True
For the film, Dastmalchian worked with a familiar makeup artist to receive prosthetic polka dots. As a fan of classic Lon Chaney horror films, the actor realized a lifelong dream, sitting for makeup as Chaney, “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” did in the 30s. To created Polka-Dot Man, artists used latex, lights, and wires. Then, CGI added special effects for battle scenes.
“That is latex and wires and lights. I mean, my face really would light up and I looked like a walking Christmas tree version of The Elephant Man at points. It was insane, and it was so cool. And the first time that I did the makeup, and I went down to do my camera tests with James, I had tears in my eyes. I was so excited because it was my Lon Chaney moment. That was a lifelong dream,” Dastmalchian told Looper.
Empowering Those with Skin Disorders
Dastmalchian identified with Polka-Dot Man, having grown up with vitiligo which left dots on his skin.
He says he spent “years riddled with self-doubt, feeling lost” due to the autoimmune disorder. However, the director wasn’t aware of this when he cast the actor for the role.
“James did not know this about me when he cast me in his film, but I have a skin condition called vitiligo, which is an autoimmune disorder that erodes the pigment in my skin. And so I have polka dots,” Dastmalchian told CNET. “Growing up as a kid going to the pool, others would bully me and call me things like ‘polka dots,’ or ‘spots’ or ‘Dalmatian.’ It was powerful and cathartic for me to get to be Abner and be this guy who’s kind of humiliated and has this ridiculous getup.”
As Polka-Dot Man, Dastmalchian found a “powerful and cathartic” role, a central figure in the film. He says it has changed his life to be part of the film.
We’re happy to know that playing Polka Dot Man is a dream come true for David Dastmalchian. Certainly, it’s fantastic that the role has empowered the actor and is a hero for many fans. Now we want to see more. Even better, we want a feature film starring Abner Bubblegum the Polka-Dot Cat!