Just hours after a shooting date was announced for DC's highly-anticipated Birds of Prey movie, reports have confirmed the shortlist of actresses being considered for several of the main roles. Beyond naming the potential stars, the list also establishes part of the team's line-up, and the precise cast of characters. The highly anticipated superhero movie will be directed by Cathy Yan, and feature a screenplay by Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson.
Birds of Prey focuses on an all-female team of heroes who operate out of Gotham City. The team's membership has varied widely over the years, with a rotating cast of DC Comics' greatest heroines having been recruited to join it at one time or another. The core line-up is made up of hacker Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle), martial artist Dinah Lance (Black Canary), and Helena Bertinelli, who took up the identity of The Huntress after surviving the mob hit that killed her family.
THR shared the shortlist of actresses up for the main roles. Black Canary and Huntress are now confirmed as being among the core team, along with Renee Montoya - a lesbian beat cop turned police detective in the GCPD, who (in the comics) later took up the identity of The Question.
The short list of actresses up for the role of Black Canary confirms earlier rumors that the producers were seeking a biracial actress for the part. Among the actresses up for Dinah Lance are Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Mrs. Murry in A Wrinkle In Time) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Nicole on True Blood). Hidden Figures star Janelle Monae is also said to be in the running for the part, but isn't confirmed as having read for the role. Interestingly, Mbatha-Raw previously passed on a possible role in Captain Marvel, so she may not sign on even if DC makes her an offer.
The list of actresses up for Huntress includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Margaret Qualley (Jill in The Leftovers) and Cristin Milioti (Nanette Cole in Black Mirror.) The Wrap reported that Sofia Boutella (Gazella in Kingsman) was also up for the role of Helena Bertinelli, but this claim was refuted by THR writer Borys Kit on his Twitter.
Justina Machado (One Day At A Time) and Roberta Colindrez (I Love Dick) are both said to have read for the role of Renee Montoya. Although no actresses were named in relation to the role, the casting report did confirm that the producers are looking for a 12-year-old Asian actress to play the role of Cassandra Cain, who, in the comics, took up the identity of Batgirl. Earlier rumors suggested that Andi Mack star Peyton Elizabeth Lee had been approached about the role. A full cast list for Birds of Prey is expected within the next two weeks, with shooting scheduled to start in Los Angeles in January.