Can you believe it? Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is actually happening. After Warner Bros. played a game of hide and seek with us in terms of its movie slate, no one really believed the film would actually enter production until it did. Things seem to be moving fast as filming is already underway and we've received our first teaser of the actors in costume. We wouldn't bank on seeing an official trailer for a few months (maybe it'll debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego later this year?), so let's be grateful for all we've received so far.
Judging by how everything's happening with the production, Warner Bros. seems to have the film all mapped out and knows exactly what it wants. No one wants to have another scenario where we'll be demanding Cathy Yan's director's cut a few months after the release of this movie, right? That doesn't mean that things will stay the same from here until it's out in theaters, but it seems to be drama-free as of right now. As we prepare ourselves for the February 7, 2020 release of Birds of Prey, let's take a look at everything we know about this movie to date.
20 (EXPECTED) RATED SO KIDS DON'T GET TO SEE IT
After the success of Deadpool and Logan, it's evident that studios are no longer afraid of the dreaded R rating. In fact, they've now identified which characters and properties might be better suited for mature audiences. Judging by Birds of Prey's teaser trailer, especially the colorful language on Cassandra Cain's cast, there's a strong chance that this film might be rated strictly.
While director Cathy Yan has mentioned that the movie will consist of dark humor and be geared towards adults, these details can always change in production. Only once the final cut is approved for release will we know what the actual rating is.
19 BATGIRL WAS REPORTEDLY IN THE EARLIER DRAFTS
For a ton of fans, it makes no sense that we're getting a Birds of Prey film without Batgirl in it. Especially since Barbara Gordon was pivotal to the formation of the team. Sadly, Babs got the short end of the casting stick here as Harley Quinn replaced her in the line-up.
According to various sources, Batgirl was in earlier drafts of the script. The choice to remove her came when it was decided that she'd be introduced in her own solo movie. Right now, no one knows if that project will ever come fruition, but if it does, fans will likely forgive DC and Warner Bros. for leaving her out of this movie.
18 MARGOT ROBBIE PUSHED FOR A FEMALE DIRECTOR
With Hollywood embarking on a major drive to address gender inequality in the industry, it makes complete sense that an all-female team-up film would be written and directed by women. After all, the only time you'll see any change is if you actually apply it rather than simply discuss it.
Turns out that we have Harley Quinn actress Margot Robbie to thank for Cathy Yan being chosen as the director of Birds of Prey. As a producer on the film, Robbie was heavily involved in the project right from the start. She reportedly pushed Warner Bros. for a female director and got her heart's desire.
17 ONE SCRIPT FEATURED THE PENGUIN AS THE VILLAIN
After Justice League's less-than-stellar return at the box office, Warner Bros. took a step back and reevaluated its forthcoming slate. Many things were pushed around and scripts were revisited, as the studio aimed to ensure the next batch of films wouldn't suffer the same issues as the ones before.
Birds of Prey wasn't immune to this, either, as a reported earlier version of the script featured the Penguin. Obviously, the studio went back and forth about this, and decided to settle on Black Mask as the villain of the piece. Interestingly, Black Mask was once penciled in as the rogue for David Ayer's Gotham City Sirens.
16 BLAKE LIVELY WAS CONSIDERED FOR BLACK CANARY
As soon as the news broke that Birds of Prey was entering production, everyone and their mother had a say about who should play who in the film. Fans and entertainment reporters had their dream picks, but Warner Bros. also had its own top-secret list of potential candidates.
One of the names regularly thrown around for the role of Dinah Lance/Black Canary was Blake Lively. Of course, she is no stranger to DC Films, having portrayed Carol Ferris in 2011's Green Lantern alongside her future husband Ryan Reynolds. Rather than go for the obvious choice, though, Warner Bros. selected Jurnee Smollett-Bell as its Black Canary.
15 LADY GAGA WAS REPORTEDLY OFFERED A ROLE
Lady Gaga has been a superstar in the music world for a decade now. She's established herself as one of the top musicians in the world, and is now spreading her wings into acting. After her critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated performance in A Star Is Born, every studio wants her.
Unsurprisingly, Warner Bros. offered her a gig in Birds of Prey. According to reports, the studio stans Gaga so much that it allowed her to pick if she'd want to be Black Canary or the Huntress in the film. Unfortunately, it looks like Gaga isn't a massive comic book fan as she turned down the opportunity.
14 SAM ROCKWELL PASSED ON PLAYING BLACK MASK
Ask yourself this question: Would you not want Sam Rockwell in your movie? For years, we've known he was one of the best in the biz, but it took the mainstream a bit longer to figure it out. Now, with an Oscar under his belt and a whole stack of memorable performances, the world knows that Rockwell is the real deal.
In the least surprising news of the year, Warner Bros. wanted him for a DC project. He was offered the part of Black Mask, but he ended up turning it down. Maybe it's because all of the music would've made him break out into a dance like he did on Charlie's Angels.
13 LADY SHIVA WILL REPORTEDLY APPEAR
File this one under the rumor column but with an 80% chance of actually happening. If Birds of Prey is about to introduce Cassandra Cain, it's only logical that we meet her parents as well. Unless Warner Bros. drastically changes Cassandra's canon, her mother will be recognizable to most comic book fans.
Of course, we're talking about Lady Shiva, the dreaded fighter and top-tier member of the League of Assassins. We've seen her appear in the comic books, as well as numerous animated adaptations, and she's one of the most fearsome Batman foes around. It would only make sense that we see where Cassandra got her moves from in this movie.
12 FIRST ASIAN FEMALE DIRECTOR FOR A SUPERHERO FILM
Birds of Prey will feature many firsts, including the first Asian woman to direct a superhero movie. As we all know by now, the director chosen by Warner Bros. was Cathy Yan, with the announcement made official in April 2018. Yan didn't get anything on a silver platter, though, and had to pitch for the gig.
Speaking about what drew her to the project at U.S.-China Entertainment Summit (via Polygon), she said, "I could not put the script down, it had so much dark humor to it which a lot of my work does, and there are themes of female empowerment which are so strong and relatable."
11 CHRIS MESSINA IS THE THIRD LIVE-ACTION VICTOR ZSASZ
You know, for a B-list Batman villain, Victor Zsasz has made quite a number of appearances over the years. Considering his whole shtick of crossing off his victims on his body, it isn't hard to see why he'd make an ideal ancillary rogue. He'll make another live-action appearance in Birds of Prey, as portrayed by Chris Messina.
This will mark the third live-action appearance of Zsasz. His first appearance arrived in 2005's Batman Begins, where he was played by Tim Booth. More recently, Anthony Carrigan has turned Zsasz into a fan-favorite character on Gotham, with his quirky and offbeat approach towards the character. So, let's see what Messina brings to the party next year.
10 HARLEY AND THE JOKER ARE NO MORE
After the murmurs of so many productions in the pipeline, it appears as if Warner Bros. is taking the foot off the gas and letting things happen more organically now. So, that proposed Harley Quinn & Joker movie from a while back? It looks as it's off the table at present.
Furthermore, the synopsis for Birds of Prey indicates that Mr. J and the Clown Princess are no more. Whether this develops into another story arc down the line, or this is Warner Bros.' way of separating the two for good, we don't know. Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see how they address the end of their relationship.
9 PRODUCED UNDER THE WORKING TITLE OF FOX FORCE FIVE
Quentin Tarantino fans love to spot references to his work in other mediums. Considering he's one of the most well-known and celebrated directors of our time, it's no surprise that other creatives will pay tribute to him in various and clever ways. Well, Birds of Prey winked at Pulp Fiction with its working title.
Produced under the name of Fox Force Five, Birds of Prey tried to evade the noses of scoopers who wanted to pick up some extra information about the film. As it turns out, the power of the internet is stronger than a clever Pulp Fiction reference and everything about the production is making its way online.
8 ALEXANDRA DADDARIO WAS RUMORED FOR THE HUNTRESS
When the line-up for Birds of Prey was announced, everyone knew that Margot Robbie would reprise her role as Harley Quinn, but what about Black Canary and the Huntress? In terms of the Canary, there was a lot of internet chatter about who'd play the part, but the Huntress seemed like a harder role to cast.
One of the names mentioned was Alexandra Daddario. Many fans thought she would be a perfect fit since she has Italian heritage like Helena Bertinelli and is becoming an in-demand actress. Well, it seems like we were all wrong as Mary Elizabeth Winstead swooped in and took the part.
7 EWAN MCGREGOR AND MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD ARE A REAL-LIFE COUPLE
In Hollywood, it isn't unusual for cast members to date each other on set. However, studios are apprehensive about casting a current couple in a film, since there's always the risk that things could go pear-shaped and become tabloid fodder if they break up. It's a valid concern since most relationships don't last in the movie industry.
In the case of Ewan McGregor (Black Mask) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress), they've been together since meeting on the set of Fargo in 2017. The two of them seem to be going steady, so it looks unlikely that there will be any turbulence on set. Now watch karma invalidate this statement tomorrow.
6 CHRISTINA HODSON ALSO WROTE THE SCRIPT FOR BUMBLEBEE
One of the biggest criticisms of Suicide Squad was that the script was particularly weak. Now, we can debate all day about whose fault it was, but the reality is, the crux of the tale was incredibly bland to begin with. In order to avoid repeating any issues of the past, Warner Bros. hired Christina Hodson to pen Birds of Prey.
Hodson's name might not be recognizable to the average fan, but she's become a rising star in Hollywood. She's had three scripts on Hollywood's infamous Black List, and she penned the critically acclaimed Bumblebee as well. Reportedly, she's also busy working on the Batgirl script.
5 CATHY YAN HAD ONLY DIRECTED ONE FEATURE FILM BEFORE THIS
Not only is Birds of Prey a major film for Warner Bros., but it's also huge for director Cathy Yan as it'll be her sophomore film release. Of course, her previous movie, Dead Pigs, didn't have the budget that this film has.
Chatting how she got the gig at U.S.-China Entertainment Summit (via Polygon), Yan said, "I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was relatively painless and straightforward. I immediately loved the script and it felt like something I could really do, and it felt very much like my own voice." Yan added how she pitched her idea to the studio and she got the job.
4 SMALLER BUDGET THAN OTHER DC FILMS
After the ludicrous amount of money spent on Justice League, you can't blame Warner Bros. for being apprehensive about dropping too much dough on DC Films. Of course, these features will still have higher budgets than the average movie, but not everything needs to be a $200 million investment.
While promoting Terminal, Margot Robbie chatted about Birds of Prey with Flickering Myth. She mentioned how the film will be different to other DC projects and it'll have a smaller budget in comparison. It's a smart move on Warner Bros.' part as this means the film doesn't need to reach over a billion dollars to be deemed a financial success.
3 DAVID AYER HAS GIVEN HIS BACKING TO THE FILM
Many people feel as if David Ayer's Gotham City Sirens made way for Birds of Prey, and that he'd harbor a grudge because of it. That could be the furthest thing from the truth. Gotham City Sirens could still happen (with Ayer involved), but we'd bet that it's dependent on how Birds of Prey does with fans and at the box office.
Ayer showed his classiness on Twitter by replying to a fan who asked if he experienced a "proud dad moment" when he saw the new picture of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. He responded in the affirmative and added a hug emoticon. See? The only people causing drama about these films are the fans.
2 STARTED FILMING IN JANUARY 2019
Ever since Walter Hamada took steer of the DC Films ship, there's been one distinctive change: action. No longer are projects being announced years before release, then lying dormant until the flies lay maggots in the yellowed pages of unread scripts. It feels as if things are more decisive and planned.
Think about it this way: Birds of Prey was only officially announced in April 2018. By January 2019, production kicked off. No time is being wasted and there are strict deadlines to be adhered to. For fans, this is fantastic as there's a shorter time between when the films are announced and released by Warner Bros.
1 PAUL DINI LOVES THE WACKY TITLE
Paul Dini is the co-creator of Harley Quinn along with Bruce Timm. Naturally, he'll share a bond with the character since she's his creation. Even though he isn't heavily involved with the character nowadays, he still loves to discuss what's happening in Harley's world.
When the title Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) was released, Dini took to his Facebook page to share his thoughts on it. "I love the new movie title because I often have Harley scribble nonsense and wacky [thoughts] all over things, like her therapist's pad, or my introduction to the Sirens book. So this subtitle reads as classic Quinnsanity to me," he said.