Birds of Prey Producer Interview

Earlier this year, I visited the set of Birds of Prey, which promises to be a very different kind of DC Comic Book movie. The film is a spin-off adventure for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but it also sees the formation of a new, all-female team of superheroes, along with an edgy, irreverent tone.

During our visit, I was able to speak to producers Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkeless, who screened some early footage for us before diving into the film’s unique energy, what director Cathy Yan brings to the project, and why Batgirl didn’t make the cut.

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Birds of Prey Movie Pitch

Birds of Prey was pitched as an “R-rated girl gang film” led by Harley Quinn, which is still an accurate description of the upcoming comic book movie. In Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan and written by Christina HodsonMargot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn teams up with several other crime-fighting women to take down Black Mask, a crime lord who controls Gotham City.

But there’s more to Birds of Prey than simply empowered girl gangs. With women in front of the screen and behind the screen, Birds of Prey takes on a deeper approach to female-led stories, including the most prominent issue today: the Me Too movement. In an interview with /Film’s Peter Sciretta during a visit to the set of Birds of Prey, Cathy Yan reveals how her pitch evolved to become a Me Too superhero movie.

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Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad Differences

Suicide Squad was by no means a box office failure, but it’s safe to assume no one considers it much of a success. Reviews were scathing, and the general consensus seems to be that it’s the worst of DC’s recent movies. Now here comes Birds of Prey, a film that brings back Suicide Squad‘s Harley Quinn, as played by Margot Robbie, but seems to be standing on its own two feet.

During /Film’s visit to the Birds of Prey set, director Cathy Yan spoke about the Birds of Prey and Suicide Squad differences, and how the upcoming movie forges its own path while not completely discounting the events of Suicide Squad.

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On March 12, 2019, I visited the set of Birds of Prey on the Warner Bros Studio Lot in Los Angeles. While on set, a group of journalists had the opportunity to sit down with Harley Quinn herself, Margot Robbie, to talk about the making of this new DC movie. She’s not only the star of the film, but a producer, and we talked about everything from the comic book inspirations, the evolution of Harley Quinn, the choice of characters, and much more.

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Ever since her inception, Harley Quinn has been tied to a man, at some point or another. In her debut in Batman: The Animated Series, she was introduced as the Joker’s henchman and lover, and despite the character’s wild popularity, she’s never really been able to escape that label.

But in Birds of PreyMargot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn finally gets to step out from under the shadow of her “Mistah J.” Newly single and ready to mingle, Harley doesn’t attach herself to a new man, but finds a group of similarly empowered crime-fighting women to build herself a girl gang. And although Harley takes the spotlight in Birds of Prey — which is clear in the subtitle itself, And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn — that girl gang is the core of the the upcoming Warner Bros. comic book movie.

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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.

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Warner Bros. and DC’s upcoming Birds of Prey is an ensemble piece with Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn serving as the center of attention. But it’s important to remember that Harley is a little deranged, and since this movie is being told from her perspective, it’s probably not wise to take everything you see as the gospel truth.

During a visit to the set of Birds of Prey, /Film’s Peter Sciretta and a group of other journalists spoke with director Cathy Yan and producer Sue Kroll about Harley as an unreliable narrator, the narrative and aesthetic influences on the movie, and more.
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Many people have not seen the 2018 film Dead Pigs (it only grossed $4,000 at the box office), but Warner Bros. and Margo Robbie did. And that’s all that matters. With Birds of Prey, director Cathy Yan is getting her chance to show the world what she’s made of.

In March, I visited the set at Warner Bros. studios and was lucky to chat with her about the new film. What follows is a transcript of the roundtable Q&A, conducted with other assembled journalists. Yan talks about Harley Quinn as an unreliable narrator, the films that influenced this movie (which might surprise you), the casting of the major players, and her big pitch that won over the producers and the studio.

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countdown trailer

A demon is giving the group of us thumbs up. Underneath the prosthetics, the very tall man is all smiles, hamming it up for us set visitors and his fellow co-workers. It must be uncomfortable as hell underneath all that makeup, but actor Dirk Rogers isn’t displaying any hints of annoyance. He was fooling around, asking what’s up and making wildly comical gestures.

It was just another day at the office on the horror movie Countdown, a movie about an app that lets you know the time you’ll kick the bucket. Yes, it sounds reminiscent of a fictional movie in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and a more apt comparison, the fantastic Brand New Testament, but neither of those movies had a gnarly demon with horns, did they?

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new Frozen 2 details

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney Animation in Burbank to take an early look at some footage from Frozen II, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2013 mega-hit. Returning directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and their team spent the last four years making this film, which is only the fourth sequel in Disney Animation history (not counting direct-to-video movies). Read on to discover what we learned about the film’s story, its new characters, the changes to Arendelle since the original movie, and much, much more. Read More »