Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco and Jurnee Smollett-
Bell in a scene from the superhero movie, "Birds of Prey".
Picture: Supplied
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco and Jurnee Smollett- Bell in a scene from the superhero movie, "Birds of Prey". Picture: Supplied

Director Cathy Yan's wild ride making ‘Birds of Prey’

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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Cathy Yan is chuffed to have directed "Birds of Prey", a star-studded movie with Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Rosie Perez (Renee Montaya), Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary), Ewan McGregor (Roman Sionis) and Chris Messina (Victor Zsasz).

And this is child star Ella Jay Basco’s first feature film. She plays Cassandra Cain, the catalyst who brings all of them together.

Yan said: “It’s a story that is told entirely from Harley’s point of view. That means that it jumps around, but it all makes sense at the end because that’s how Harley’s brain works. The story is funny. It’s subversive.

“It’s a really wild ride about Harley coming to terms with who she is without The Joker and along the way she meets this kid, Cassandra Cain, and all these strong women – Black Canary, Huntress, Renee Montoya – who have their own, similar journeys to go on. And they ultimately come together to defend Cass from a villain, a mob boss named Roman Sionis.

“Margot’s really smart, really wonderful, extremely committed. She took the character and just ran with it so well that she is, I think, in many people’s minds Harley and Harley is Margot. For that reason and many others it was so interesting to see her further develop the character
and to work with her on that.

“As a producer, she really believed in me and was a strong proponent of my work. I think that we have similar taste in many ways. She’s such a hard worker, a thoughtful person and very fair and just lovely. It all starts from the top down and how accessible and lovely and relatable and nice she is really allowed for the whole shoot to feel that way, too.”

Smollett-Bell’s character is a singer and the actress belts out the songs herself. Music does run in the genes.She is also close to the enemy,
Roman, who refers to her as his “little bird”.

McGregor and Messina make for fantastic villains in the movie. 

Yan said: “They were just so great. I think it was fun for both of them to play bad guys. Chris was completely transformed – no more Chris Messina from "The Mindy Project" – and he really leaned into that. I mean, he really had to go and bleach his hair and that shade of platinum blond needs to be maintained about every other week. But he was more than happy to do it because I think that really helped him turn into Zsasz. And he was able to bring such depth and an uncomfortable type of menace to the character, and I like that he wasn’t the typical big, beefy, silent henchman.

“Chris and Ewan had a lot of fun together. In fact, I’m not sure Ewan would think of himself this way, but he’s hilarious and he improvised a
lot of funny lines in the movie..

“We also wanted to throw in a few surprises for audiences who are excited to see these characters in a new light and, except for Harley, in
a new format – after all, the "Birds of Prey" have never been in a feature film before, and that’s such an honour to be introducing them to
the cinematic universe.”

"Birds of Prey", a Harley Quinn DC Extended Universe superhero film, releases on the big screen today.

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