‘Peacemaker’: Jennifer Holland on Harcourt’s Conflict With Adebayo & Trusting Herself

Jennifer Holland as Harcourt in Peacemaker
Spoiler Alert
Courtesy of HBO Max

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the first three episodes of Peacemaker, “A Whole New Whirled,” “Best Friend, For Never,” and “Better Goff Dead.”]

Trust is essential on a team like the one in Peacemaker; however, it becomes pretty clear in the first three episodes of James Gunn’s HBO Max series that there’s not a lot of it to go around.

In addition to John Cena’s titular character, Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) has assembled Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), Economos (Steve Agee), and newbie Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) to combat Butterflies — which turn out to be people who have something that looks like a butterfly inside their heads, as Peacemaker and Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) see at the end of Episode 3. It’s also in that episode that Harcourt opens up just a bit to Peacemaker — sharing the story of how she got her first gun at age 12 and came to work for Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) — and comes into conflict with Adebayo (who’s really Waller’s daughter!). The newest person to all this, Adebayo just can’t bring herself to shoot a Butterfly’s security guard.

Here, Holland talks Harcourt’s trust issues, how much fun it was to film the opening credits dance, and more.

Dancing through the opening credits must have been so much fun.

Jennifer Holland: It was. Charissa Barton, who choreographed that whole thing, just took James’ idea of a sort of surreal, very robotic dance with everyone very serious and emotionless. She took all of his notes about what he wanted it to be and created this amazing thing. We worked with Charissa on days that we weren’t filming. We would go and rehearse with her and she was so much fun to work with and she was just so down to have fun. She was just very patient with us as we were learning everything. One of the coolest things about the dance sequence, in my opinion, is that we were all in the room together. They didn’t just shoot us separately and paste us into the frame. We were all there live dancing together at the same time, which was just this communal experience that was really, really fun, and we’re gonna have memories from that forever.

In Episode 3, when Adebayo can’t shoot that guy, Harcourt steps in. And that comes after she shared the information about her past with Peacemaker — getting her first gun, ending up working for Waller. So we understand why she is the way she is. But how much do moves like the one she felt she had to make weigh on her?

I think they don’t weigh on her a whole lot because that’s why she has such a hard exterior. She put up that tough, hard exterior to be able to do what she does for a living and to be able to do it without it breaking her, if that makes sense. So I think that she is frustrated with Adebayo, that she was unable to do the job because at this point, Harcourt doesn’t think that she can trust Adebayo. She doesn’t think that Adebayo’s in the right place. She thinks she is putting herself at risk and putting everyone else at risk in the process, because she does not think that Adebayo is cut out for the line of work.

I think a lot of how tough she is with Adebayo comes from her feeling that she’s just in the wrong place. She should not be there. It’s too dangerous for someone like her. She seems too wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. And she doesn’t have enough of a harsh exterior to be able to make it in the world that we’re in. So I think that Harcourt’s really frustrated that Adebayo couldn’t take care of business. I think it concerns her for the future of her working for the agency. She still doesn’t know where Adebayo came from or why she’s a part of this team and she doesn’t know if she can trust Adebayo.

I think there are times when it hits her and it’s really difficult for her what she does. I think you see in Episode 3, when Vigilante is shooting the kids in the Goff residence, it affect her because even Harcourt, who’s so cold and tough, she doesn’t wanna watch kids get shot. So I think it does affect her, but she’s able to push it away pretty quickly.

Danielle Brooks, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji in Peacemaker

Courtesy of HBO Max

How might Harcourt feel when she finds out that Adebayo is Waller’s daughter?

I don’t think that’s gonna go over very well, if she finds out that Adebayo is Waller’s daughter. I think it’s gonna exacerbate anything that Harcourt’s already feeling about not being able to trust Adebayo because Harcourt doesn’t trust Waller. She thinks that Waller has her own agenda. She knows that Waller always has someone on the inside, which was Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad movie. And so I think that just also the lie, the act of that being withheld, makes it seem like there’s something to hide. So if Harcourt finds out about it, I can’t imagine that she’s going to take that lightly.

What would it take for Harcourt to trust Peacemaker?

That’s a really good question. What would it take Harcourt to trust anyone really? I think that’s the big question because the only person that she thinks she can trust is herself. If you rely on other people, you’re going to be let down, that’s sort of her motto. And so she believes that she’d be better off if she was just working alone. I think the question is, will Harcourt ever find a way to trust anyone else other than herself and let anyone else in?

It’s an interesting show in that I think Harcourt really dislikes Peacemaker. She has sort of a disdain for him because of what he did to Rick Flag [Joel Kinnaman]. But my question has always been for my own character, would Harcourt have done the same thing in the same circumstances? Because Harcourt is a company man, she does her job. Her job is, the mission is paramount, and she doesn’t let emotions affect her too much. She tries to just keep her head down and do the job. And so if Harcourt was faced with that same task of protecting the mission at all costs, would she have done the same thing to Rick Flag or not? And so does Harcourt despise Peacemaker because of how much she sees herself in him and she doesn’t like herself too much? Those are really my questions about her.

Peacemaker, Thursdays, HBO Max