birds of prey hair tie

It didn’t take long after the Birds of Prey had its world premiere for one of its scenes to already become the subject of conversation. But it wasn’t some tie-in to Batman or the Joker, or Harley Quinn wreaking some fantastic havoc. It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment during the film’s climactic fight scene when Harley Quinn tosses a hair tie to Black Canary, whose long tresses had gotten in her face. Why did this moment strike a chord with so many who hadn’t even seen the movie yet?

“It was like a cheeky nod to all these conversations I think women have all the time,” Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan said at a London junket.

What’s so special about a superhero tossing another superhero a hair tie? For one, it’s a small and intimate gesture you’d not often see in a big, bombastic superhero movie, much less in the middle of a fight scene. In superhero movies, female superheroes usually go through entire fights with perfectly wavy hair, with nary a hair out of place — something incredibly unrealistic, but not an issue that many male directors would consider. But this moment speaks to the specific female experience that only an all-female team behind the camera, which includes Yan and screenwriter Christina Hodson, would have thought of.

“These little things and the ideas [for them] just keep free flowing,” Yan said. “I mean, the hair tie idea came about once we already pretty much had the locked script. But as we continue to try to refine and make it better, Christina Hodson was the one who said, “You know what? Why do all the women have perfect hair?” You know, there’s always perfect hair, and they’re always down no matter what action movie it is. And that’s just ridiculous. And I was like, “I totally agree!” Like, I need to put my hair up just to I don’t know, sip a cup of coffee, you know, go to yoga. And so this idea that like, they don’t have perfect hair. And so we wanted to put that in the movie.”

“Who would have thought of that?” added producer Sue Kroll. “That’s something even on the day watching it being shot that you knew the people would remember. I also remember it was very important to Cathy, that moment.”

But the moment almost ended up completely different. Jurnee Smollett-Bell, whose Black Canary ends up receiving the hair tie from Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn, revealed that Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) was originally going to get the hair tie.

“Christina had written that and then when they decided [Huntress’] hair was just going [short] the way it was, I’m sure they were like that doesn’t make doesn’t make sense,” Smollett-Bell said.

“And also for Huntress, she wears her back because she’s ready to fight at all times. We were like it doesn’t quite feel natural for her,” Winstead added.

But the hair tie ended up with the right person, Smollett-Bell said. “With Canary, she’s an artist, you know, and so she’s got long hair and she’s not really bothered in that sense, but and she’s also not in the world. I am a vigilante but she hasn’t chosen that yet. And so it just felt organic and it was fun.”

Birds of Prey hits theaters on February 7, 2020.

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