BY: Rohn Romulo
YOU ever hear the one about the cop, the songbird, the psycho and the mafia princess? “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell,” “Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”) returns as Harley Quinn, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“10 Cloverfield Lane”) as Huntress; Jurnee Smollett-Bell (HBO’s “True Blood”) as Black Canary; Rosie Perez (“Fearless,” “Pitch Perfect 2”) as Renee Montoya; Chris Messina (“Argo,” TV’s “Sharp Objects”) as Victor Zsasz; and Ewan McGregor (“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep”) as Roman Sionis. Newcomer Ella Jay Basco also stars as Cassandra “Cass” Cain in her feature film debut.
Directed by Cathy Yan (“Dead Pigs”) from a script by Christina Hodson (“Bumblebee”), the film is based on characters from DC.
Margot Robbie, who reprises the role as well as produces the film, says, “The most exciting thing for an actor is to have choices with your character, and you can really do anything when you’re playing Harley Quinn. With some roles, you can react one or two ways; with Harley, it’s more like 20, and every one of them makes sense for the character. That is really liberating and creatively stimulating.”
For that reason, among others, even while she was still filming her first turn as the fan-favorite anti-heroine in “Suicide Squad,” she recalls, “I knew that I definitely wasn’t ready to stop playing her, that there was still so much yet to be discovered and explored on screen.”
That uncharted territory led Robbie to delve into options for Harley that included surrounding her with a girl gang, namely the popular DC team up Birds of Prey. “I wanted to see what Harley would be like without someone to take care of her. And it’s always been a part of my own life to have a group of girlfriends that do everything together. We’re a very mixed bag of personalities,” she smiles, “but everyone loves each other despite being pretty different. That’s what drew me to developing a story for Harley with the Birds of Prey, to find a group that’s unique, but who complement each other, especially in their fighting styles. Together, they make up all the pieces of the puzzle.”
For the origin story that would pair Harley Quinn with a new collection of characters, Robbie and screenwriter Christina Hodson drew inspiration from various comics, such as the New 52 series, when Harley is out on her own and no longer with The Joker. That circumstance appealed to them as a logical starting off point because, in order to be the lead in her own film, shouldn’t she also be the star of her own life? For Black Canary, they opted for Dinah Lance, daughter of the original, same-name Super Hero with the killer cry, but who still hesitates to hit that high note. They liked the version of police detective Renee Montoya who could be a little too tough and sometimes get in her own way, and felt that Huntress, with her tragic backstory, made for an ideal enigmatic loner averse to social interaction. All of whom made for the most unlikely grouping of wholly reluctant individuals, so who better to match with the infamous criminal girlfriend known for standing by her man…after her man has kicked her to the curb?
Producer Bryan Unkeless offers, “The story takes place in the mean streets of Gotham—not the Manhattan-inspired version, but the outer boroughs where the seedy underbelly thrives. It’s all about attitude, told through the lens of Harley Quinn and all that entails: her crass perspective, her impolite exuberance, and her madcap, acerbic, subversive energy that is always unpredictable. Put all of that together with this eclectic group of really powerful women who are pushed to their limits and have to form an alliance—albeit a loose one—not only to do what’s right, but just to survive the day.”
That’s right, it all takes place over about 24 hours. Just another day in the life of one Harley Quinn.
In Philippine cinemas and IMAX February 6, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is distributed in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures. Connect with #BirdsOfPrey and tag @wbphils