birds of prey poster

Even as superhero movies became more and more prominent and popular, the idea of an R-rated superhero flick seemed impossible. These were movies marketed to the widest possible audience, after all. But little by little, R-rated comic book adaptations have been trickling in. Deadpool was a smash-hit, followed by Logan, which earned itself an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. And this year, Joker defied all expectations and raked in a billion dollars. Now, Birds of Prey, a semi-sequel to Suicide Squad, might follow suit. While no Birds of Prey rating has been awarded to the film yet, the production didn’t censor itself. And according to star Margot Robbie, that was liberating.

While visiting the set of Birds of Prey, our own Peter Sciretta noticed some very adult language being tossed around by the actors during filming. While nothing is finalized yet, it certainly seems like an R-rating is in the cards for the upcoming DC movie. While talking with Margot Robbie, who plays Harley Quinn in the film, the question of a potential R-rating came up, and how it felt to let Harley go wild.

“I did feel like I had to censor myself a lot, obviously to suit a PG rating,” Robbie said, referring to her work on Suicide Squad. “And a lot of the characters that exist in the DC world, to be honest, are quite dark. And a lot of them, Huntress for example, have serious childhood trauma, have serious mental illnesses like Harley. But I felt like sometimes you can’t really go as deep with those things if you have to censor yourself. And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be liberating if we didn’t have to worry about that?’ and really go for it, and then later in the edit kind of find where the tone of movie lies.”

Robbie’s comment about finding the right tone for the movie in the edit implies that the door is still open to a potential PG-13 movie. The film could always be trimmed to ensure that tamer rating, or DC could go all-out and let the R-rating stand. For now – especially in the wake of the success of Joker – it’s safe to assume that Birds of Prey will have an R-rating.

Back in 2018, Robbie stated that she pitched the film to WB with an R-rating in mind. “I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends,'” Robbie said. “Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film. She’s got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang. I wasn’t seeing enough girl gangs on screen, especially in the action space. So that was always a big part of it.”

Birds of Prey opens February 7, 2020.

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