According to a new report, Chad Stahelski is helping director Cathy Yan craft some new actions scenes that will be part of the Birds of Prey reshoots. Stahleksi's work will go uncredited, however, his company 87 Eleven has been working on the production since the very beginning, so this is just a way for him to take a more active role in ramping up the action as the DC Comics adaptation works its way through the post-production process. And, as action goes in the modern age, it doesn't get much better than Stahelski, which bodes well for this project, at least visually.
Chad Stahelski co-directed the first John Wick with David Leitch Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw, and flew solo on both sequels. Each subsequent entry in the Keanu Reeves-led assassin series has been more successful than the last, with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum proving to be one of the biggest non-Disney hits of the year. Much of that has to do with Stahelski's expert eye for action. Even for those who may not like the John Wick series, it's hard to deny that Stahelski is a master at his craft.
Related: Birds of Prey Has Lowest Budget of All DCEU Movies Thus Far
As for what we know about Birds of Prey, it will see Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad. She'll be leading a team that also consists of Huntress Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Black Canary Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who are tasked with protecting a young girl named Cassandra Cain Ella Jay Basco in Gotham City, which will reportedly be lacking Batman's presence. Ewan McGregor is on board to play the main villain, Black Mask. The cast also includes Rosie Perez as Gotham City PD officer Renee Montoya. The script was penned by Christina Hodson Bumblebee.
Reshoots have become something of a dirty word, as many have taken to mean trouble is brewing. That's not quite the case. Studios often budget money and time on these larger productions for reshoots to help ensure the best possible final product is delivered. It doesn't always pan out. Yet, in other cases, like with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or World War Z, they can totally save a movie. Point being, these reshoots shouldn't be any cause for concern. Reports were flying around that Warner Bros. was a bit conflicted following a test screening of Birds of Prey. Perhaps that will be addressed in the additional photography. Birds of Prey is set to hit theaters on February 7, 2020. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.
ionsgate cruised past Wall Street estimates for the fiscal first quarter, on strong subscriber growth at Starz and improved film results paced by the blockbuster returns of the third John Wick installment.
On an adjusted, diluted basis, the company’s loss of two cents exceeded analysts’ consensus forecasts for four cents. Adjusted operating income of $67.3 million beat the forecast for $63.6 million.
The beat on total revenue was smaller, but significant, with the quarter’s $963.6 million beating consensus of $962.6 million.
Domestically, Starz gained 400,000 streaming subscribers to reach 4.4 million. Globally and across all platforms, Starz is now at 26.5 million subscribers after adding 2.6 million compared with the year-ago period.
The strategy at Starz, which Lionsgate acquired in 2016 for $4.4 billion, is a central feature of the Lionsgate story. The company has said it plans to invest heavily in the rollout of Starz streaming globally, targeting 20 million subscribers in five years.
At the same time, talks were held recently with CBS over a potential acquisition of the premium brand. Both companies could be asked about it during their respective conference calls with analysts. CBS reported strong second quarter results at the same time as CBS.
For Lionsgate, the quarterly performance should keep some of the bears at bay for the time being. The company’s stock has been battered recently as it has managed through a period of uncertainty and a turnaround at the film division under Joe Drake.
The independent company, which has pulled off several acquisitions of its own, has also been mentioned frequently as a potential takeover target.
em>The Continental, Starz’ TV series spin-off of Keanu Reeves feature franchise John Wick, is unlikely to air until at least late 2021.
When asked whether the TV remake, which will focus on the inner workings of the exclusive Continental Hotel which serves as a refuge for assassins, would launch before the fourth film debuts in May 2021, Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch admitted that it was unlikely.
“My sense is that where we are today the movie date has been set but we're still in early development on the series so [it will air] most likely after,” he said at the summer TCA press tour.
The series, which was picked up by the Lionsgate-backed broadcaster in January 2018, comes from Lionsgate TV and is being written by Chris Collins who serves as showrunner. Other members of the team behind the film franchise that executive produce include Thunder Road Pictures' Basil Iwanyk, Chad Stahelski, John Wick franchise screenwriter Derek Kolstad, along with Collins and David Leitch. Stahelski will direct the premiere episode.
Hirsch also revealed that the series would explore the origin story of the hotel. Last year, it emerged that Keanu Reeves would likely appear on screen in the series, in addition to joining as an exec producer.
However, Hirsch would not go into as to how much screen time Reeves would get in the adaptation. “That's a really good question that I'm not going to answer. No answer is as good a tease you're going to get,” he said. “It's a great franchise, we're exciting about bringing that show to the network.”
Margot Robbie is reprising her comic book role of Harley Quinn in Warner Bros.’ 2020 tentpole “Birds of Prey,” which she tells MTV News will share the anarchic, subversive spirit of Quentin Tarantino films like “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.” However, that’s not the only connection between “Birds of Prey” and Robbie’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” director. The movie, directed by “Dead Pigs” filmmaker Cathy Yan, was made under the working title “Fox Force Five,” a direct reference to one of the most legendary scenes in Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”
The scene in question is the conversation Vincent Vega John Travolta and Mia Wallace Uma Thurman while sharing milkshakes before they compete in the dance competition. Mia tells Vincent about a television pilot she shot called “Fox Force Five” that never made it to air, a career milestone she calls her “fifteen minutes” of fame. The show centered around an all-female team of secret agents, each with her own identity and skill set. Mia’s character was “the deadliest woman in the world with a knife,” while the other agents included a Japanese kung fu master, a demolition expert, and a French girl whose “specialty was sex.”
Robbie, a lifelong Tarantino fan, immediately saw the connection between “Fox Force Five” and her tentpole “Birds of Prey,” in which her Harley Quinn forms a makeshift all-female superhero group with Black Canary Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Huntress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Renee Montoya Rosie Perez to protect a young girl against the evil Black Mask Ewan McGregor.
The “five prominent women” in “Birds of Prey” lined up perfectly with “Fox Force Five,” Robbie told MTV News. The actress asked Tarantino if he would be okay with her using his “Pulp Fiction” name for her film’s working title, to which he gave his blessing. “He thought it was really funny,” Robbie added.
Robbie has been a Tarantino fan long before she was an actress. As the Oscar nominee told IndieWire before filming “Hollywood,” “Beyond anything, I've just always wanted to see him work. And I want to see how he runs a set, and how he directs people, and what the vibe is onset, and what's in the script, and then what happens on the day. I'm just fascinated by all of it, fascinated. So it's going to be a crazy experience to witness it firsthand. It's something I've always dreamed of doing.”
Robbie’s “Birds of Prey” is set for release from Warner Bros. on February 7, 2020. The actress can be seen as Sharon Tate in Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” starting July 26.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is all set to swoop into a theater near you in February 2020. While out talking about her role as Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, Robbie confirmed that Birds of Prey definitely has the spirit of a Tarantino movie.
Margot Robbie reveals this about her upcoming Birds of Prey movie for DC, where she will reprise her role as Harley Quinn.
"I mean, yes. The [Tarantino] spirit's definitely there."
And this makes sense considering that the working title of Birds of Prey was Fox Force Five, which is a reference to Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. I'll allow Margot Robbie to explain.
"In Pulp Fiction, when Uma and John Travolta are having their $5 milkshake, she's explaining the pilot that she - which I think, in real life, Uma had done. I think that dialogue was based on the fact that she'd done a pilot like that. And then he turned it into dialogue, and then she talks about Fox Force Five. And it's like a whole scene. But in our movie, there's five prominent women. And like, we always throw a reference to like, Tarantino moments that we pray to like inject into the film. So it felt fitting. And then, I also asked Quentin, I was like 'Would you mind if we used the working title Fox Force Five?' And he thought it was really funny."
For those out there that might not know, Birds of Prey begins after the events of David Ayer's Suicide Squad. Batman has disappeared, leaving Gotham City unprotected from crime, and Harley Quinn has broken up with the Joker. The plot kicks in when a young girl by the name of Cassandra Cain finds herself a diamond that belongs to the crime lord known as Black Mask. Black Mask then hunts the girl, and it's up to Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya to join forces and help protect her.
Margot Robbie stars in Birds of Prey as Harley Quinn, along with Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Chris Messina joins the film as well as the villainous serial killer Victor Zsasz along with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Doctor Sleep star Ewan McGregor as the movie's main villain, Roman Sionis AKA Black Mask. Other confirmed cast members include Charlene Amoia, Talon Reid, Steven Williams, Derek Wilson, Dana Lee, François Chau, Matthew Willig, Robert Catrini, and Ali Wong.
Related: Birds of Prey Logo Revealed as Margot Robbie Wraps Shooting
Cathy Yan directs Birds of Prey from a screenplay written by Christina Hodson based on the comic by Jordan B. Gorfinkel and Chuck Dixon. On top of starring in this film, Margot Robbie also serves as the movie's producer along with Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkeless. Matthew Libatique handles the movie's cinematography. DC Films, LuckyChap Entertainment, Kroll & Co. Entertainment and Clubhouse Pictures are the powers that be behind the scenes of Birds of Prey which Warner Bros. Pictures will unleash into a theater near you on February 7, 2020. Meanwhile, this story comes to us from MTV News.
We are days away from Marvel taking the coveted dais of Hall H to give us news on what we hope is Phase 4 of their wildly expansive — and box office record-breaking — Marvel Cinematic Universe. Arguably one of the most anticipated announcements is who would be playing the lead in Shang-Chi, which will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and written by Dave Callaham both of Asian heritage. It would be the first Asian-fronted superhero film from a major U.S. studio.
Marvel’s “The Eternals” Marvel
In addition to Shang-Chi, the comic book movie powerhouse has tapped The Rider‘s Chloe Zhao to direct The Eternals and Kumail Nanjiani is circling a role in that film. Over at DC, the Harley Quinn spinoff Birds of Prey will be helmed by Cathy Yan, with Ella Jay Basco starring as Cassandra Cain. DC may not be in San Diego for Comic-Con this year, but with Marvel in the room, Asians and non-Asians alike will be drooling for Shang-Chi news.
One could say this surge of Asian representation in film — specifically the comic book movie genre — could be due to the wild demand for it. That is part of it, but then again, this is a business and it’s all about the dollar signs. When Crazy Rich Asians was released last year — the first major studio film fronted by an Asian American cast since 1993’s Joy Luck Club — it made bank. Not only did the Warner Bros pic reach audiences beyond the Asian American community, but it also raked in $238.5 million at the worldwide box office. It also became the highest-grossing romantic comedy in 10 years.
Even this past weekend, we saw Lulu Wang’s A24 dramedy The Farewell starring Awkwafina making waves at the box office. And with Gold House’s #GoldOpen force galvanizing the community to support Asian American film, Hollywood finally realized there is an Asian audience and one that will spend money to see themselves represented on screen — and the universal story will also bring other non-Asians into the fold, further padding box office numbers.
Cathy Yan, director of the forthcoming “Birds of Prey” Shutterstock
This should come as no surprise considering that according to an MPAA report from 2017, Asian Americans were the second-highest group in attendance at theaters, going to the movies on average 4.3 times in the year, right behind the Latinx community which reported the highest annual attendance per capita, going to the movies on an average of 4.5 times a year Latinx representation in film is a whole other topic which we will save for another time. With superhero films taking over every theater around the world, the Asian American community is finally ready for their piece of the comic book movie pie.
“Half of the highest-grossing films of all time right now are superhero movies,” said Preeti Chhibber, author of Spider-Man: Far From Home: Peter and Ned’s Ultimate Travel Journal, a book linked to the recent movie. “What that means is these are accessed by a huge number of people in the population, they shape popular thought, and they impact who is seen as powerful or important enough to be included.”
She continued, “Of course, Asians deserve to be represented on screen in something that has become a cultural behemoth. By excluding Asians from the narrative, the implication is that Asians aren’t a part of that space - and not only does the Asian community pick up on this, but so does the non-Asian community. It’s like having Riz Ahmed in a Star Wars movie, as a South Asian viewer, all of a sudden we exist in this space that had previously written us out. It’s validating.”
Bruce Lee in “Green Hornet” Shutterstock
Keith Chow, one of the originators of Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology along with Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, and Jerry Ma, created the website “Nerds of Color” to fuel his comic fandom. “We grew up idolizing Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and the rest but never saw ourselves in those stories,” he said of seeing Asians represented in film. “Moreover, there’s nothing more American than the superhero myth. So seeing and Asian American celebrated as a superhero is part of the process of subverting certain ‘perpetual foreigner’ stereotypes.”
It’s not to say that Asians and Asian Americans have been totally absent from the superhero TV and film space; we can go back as far as Bruce Lee as Kato in the Green Hornet TV series. But more recently, we have seen Ming Na Wen and Chloe Bennet in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is part of the MCU, as well as Ryan Potter in the DC Universe series Titans. And despite its problems, Netflix’s Iron Fist put the spotlight on Jessica Henwick and Lewis Tan in significant roles .
Kelly Hu as Lady Deathstrike in “X2: X-Men United” 20th Century Fox/Marvel/Shutterstock
On the film side, we’ve gotten a taste of some of our favorite Asian characters from the vast roster of Marvel characters. Most recently there’s Benedict Wong as Wong in Doctor Strange as well as Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff from Guardians of the Galaxy. In X2: X-Men United, we saw Kelly Hu in the silent but deadly role of Lady Deathstrike, Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake in Venom ,and Rila Fukushima as Yukio in The Wolverine — but you may have forgotten that there were so much more.
“I loved Tadanobu Asano as Hogun the Grim in the Thor movies,” said Jamie Noguchi, cartoonist and illustrator. No explanation for why he’s Asian. He just is. And he’s awesome.”
Riz Ahmed in “Venom” Sony
Noguchi continues, “Then we had Kenneth Choi’s portrayal as Jim Morita, one of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger. We rarely see Japanese Americans in any World War II movies and the 442nd is all but forgotten. So to have Jim Morita battling alongside Captain America made me kind of tear up when I saw him. I felt it was a nice tribute to the Japanese Americans who served in World War II.”
And representation is just as important behind the camera as it is in front of it. “I think it's just as important to see Asian talent in key creative roles behind the scenes — again, it's hard to know something's possible if you never see it,” said Sarah Kuhn, author of the Heroine Complex series of novels and the upcoming Cassandra Cain Batgirl graphic novel for DC. “It's important for kids of color to know that not only can they be superheroes, but they can be storytellers. Chloe Zhao directing The Eternals, Cathy Yan and Christina Hodson doing Birds of Prey — all of these kickass women telling these stories get me so excited about the future of superhero movies, and they're going to inspire so many Asian women creatives to tell their own stories and maybe write their own vision of superheroes.”
Kenneth Choi with Chris Evans and the cast of “Captain America: The First Avenger” Shutterstock
Even though there have been many Asian American characters in comic book TV series and films, they haven’t been the lead - they have been part of an ensemble, a sidekick or regulated to the background. Marvel hasn’t officially announced anything about Shang-Chi, but it is certainly one of the titles at Comic-Con everyone is keeping their eyes on — so its a big deal. Once Kevin Feige takes the stage Saturday, the audience will be waiting for him to utter those words and there will certainly be a wild ovation.
But of all the Asian characters in the Marvel canon, why is Shang-Chi as the Asian entry into the MCU the best choice?
Jen Bartel, an illustrator and comic artist who is best known for work with Marvel, Disney, and as the co-creator and artist of Image Comics’ Blackbird points out: “Kung fu films have resonated with a wide range of audiences for many decades now — a character like Shang-Chi, who specializes in martial arts, specifically kung fu, could potentially bring some of that mainstream appeal while simultaneously reclaiming that piece of our culture for Asian audiences.”
Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing in “Iron Fist” Netflix
In the comics, Shang-Chi is the son of a China-based globalist who raised and educated his progeny in his reclusive China compound, closed off to the outside world. The son is trained in the martial arts and developed unsurpassed skills. He is eventually introduced to the outside world to do his father's bidding, and then has to come to grips with the fact his revered father might not be the humanitarian he has claimed to be.
Chhibber says that the forthcoming Shang-Chi adaptation is a classic superhero created and written by non-Asians, and that the movie “is an incredible way to take ownership of a character with a complicated history.”
“There are few legacy superhero characters who are Asian, so the pickings are slim,” said Chow. “Part of what fueled the #AAIronFist campaign a few years ago was an effort to insert and Asian face inside a story that had always centered a white hero, even though all of the trappings of his story are Asian. A lot like Doctor Strange, actually. At least with Shang-Chi, they have to cast an Asian actor in the role! That said, there are way more Asian American superheroes now than there were in the ’70s when Shang-Chi was created. Ms. Marvel and Amadeus Cho are top-tier heroes in the Marvel Universe. DC has upped the profiles of Katana and Cassandra Cain.”
Lana Condor as Jubilee in “X-Men: Apocalypse” Fox
However, Noguchi has some reservations about the character to lead the first Asian superhero pic. “Shang-Chi is basically every ’70s stereotype about Asians all wrapped up in one big Bruce Lee Lightman of Kung Fu personification,” he said. “I don’t know that I can look at the character from an objective point of view so I’m not entirely sure he is an appropriate entry. I feel like Jubilee, Amadeus Cho, or Nico Minoru are characters that aren’t dripping in Asian stereotypes and wouldn’t need some mystical Asian background to justify their existence in a movie.”
His concerns are valid considering the current Hollywood landscape, where audiences are looking for authenticity and will be quick to check any and all mistakes. Apprehensions about the portrayal of Shang-Chi are definitely top of mind for many as characters can fall into stereotypical tropes and not get the shine they deserve.
Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru in “Marvel’s Runaways” Hulu
“I think every Asian person worries about being viewed as a caricature, and because there are so few positive representations of Asian heroes specifically, there is a heavy burden for Shang-Chi to be that for all of us,” adds Bartel. “Unfortunately, it's simply not possible to do that with just one single character as Asians and Asian-Americans are not a monolith, so my hope is that he is allowed to be flawed in the same ways that non-Asian characters are often afforded in media.”
Chow points out characters of color created by white men have the tendency to become walking stereotypes. “That was true for Shang-Chi, who was Marvel’s attempt to ride the kung fu cinema wave the way they used Luke Cage to parrot Blaxploitation — I mean, his father is Fu Manchu for chrissakes.”
“However, when you give creators of different backgrounds the opportunities to write these stories, you’re able to move beyond the surface,” Chow continues. “Like what Greg Pak is currently doing with the character in the comics. That’s why I don’t have any apprehension for the upcoming movie. Marvel Studios is smart to hire Asian Americans to write and direct the movie, which allows us to reclaim and recontextualize a lot of the Orientalism inherent to the character.
“My big fear is that we’ll get some ancient Orientalist mumbo jumbo mixed in with some modern triad gangster trash to justify Shang Chi’s big-screen debut,” said Noguchi. “The weird thing is that there’s a part of me that would absolutely love it if they leaned into the stereotypes and turned this into a modern version of a Shaw Brothers movie, like an MCU version of Five Deadly Venoms — sh*t now I kinda need to see that!”
When Crazy Rich Asians was released, many were calling it the Black Panther for Asians. Not because Crazy Rich Asians is a superhero movie, but because of the cultural impact it had on the Asian community like Black Panther had empowered the black community. Now that Shang-Chi is on the horizon, there is an actual Asian superhero waiting in the wings — but will it have the same affect and bring a “Wakanda Forever”-esque cultural movement that will resonate?
“It’s hard to say,” said Chow. “It will really depend on what the final product ultimately looks like, but I think it’s ultimately unnecessary to make the comparison. I know Crazy Rich Asians was touted as the ‘Asian Black Panther’ and fairly or unfairly, the idea is that we just need more. Black Panther caught lightning in a bottle. Now it’s just about spreading that energy around to everyone.”
Shang-Chi Marvel Comics
Adds Chhibber: “I hesitate to compare the two experiences because I think Black Panther doesn’t necessarily need to be invoked when we’re talking about Asian representation. What Black Panther did for the black community is incredible and should always be celebrated in that context, but what we in the Asian community need to do is take ownership of ourselves and do the work within our own group.”
“T’Challa has always been a symbol of power,” adds Noguchi. “He’s the king of one of the most powerful nation’s in the Marvel Universe and I feel like he was embraced by the black nerd community from the very beginning.” He goes on to say that it is way too early to be putting so much on Shang-Chi. “If it’s as culturally impactful as Black Panther… that would be amazing. But honestly, I’d settle for an entertaining movie that doesn’t force the actor to do pigeon English. I’m trying my best to keep an open mind and am looking forward to what they can come up with.”
Whether it is Shang-Chi or Birds of Prey, Asian American representation is on the horizon with superhero movies and it will fuel the craving for even more of its kind and across other genres. There are Asian-led features in development including New Line’s Singles Day from Lillian Yu and Alan Yang’s drama Tigertail starring John Cho. Still, these Asian-led comic book movie pics are a big deal.
For Shang-Chi, Chow points out whoever is cast in the lead “will automatically become a movie star the way Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt shot straight to the A-list, despite not having the pre-Marvel résumé.”
“I hope that this opens us up to a wide world of bringing marginalized people to the screen,” said Chhibber. “We have characters like Kamala Khan or Pravitr Prabhakar dear Sony, please include Pravitr in the next Spider-Verse movie, thank you who are ready to go! All steps forward in the fight for representation are beneficial, and so hopefully this opens the door to a more inclusive notion of Asian representation.”
“My hope is always that any representation just leads to more — more variety, more characters, and a wide range of stories being told and AAPI identities being explored,” said Kuhn. “When you take those first steps, there's always so much pressure to be all things to all people — I felt that way when my Heroine Complex series debuted, that it somehow had to be everything for all Asian American women everywhere, especially those of us who love superheroes, because I know what it's like to desperately need representation, to feel like you've been waiting your whole life for it.”
She continued, “There's also that pressure to be phenomenally successful or risk closing the door you've just managed to crack open — I felt like there was that nervousness around Crazy Rich Asians — that idea that it absolutely had to be a super megahit otherwise we wouldn't get to star in movies again for who knows how long. Those are impossible stakes for a single story, a single character — so the more we have, the better. My dream is that someday we have so many awesome lead characters and so many different stories, everyone has their favorite, their character or story they relate to on the deepest level. And that also means not everything has to be a gargantuan megahit or all things to all people — that's a lot of pressure to put on a single piece of entertainment.”