With a new girl gang by her side and a host of colorful, much more comfortable costumes, Harley Quinn is ready to take Gotham by storm. But she and fellow female vigilantes Black Canary Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Huntress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Renee Montoya Rosie Perez, and Cassandra Cain Ella Jay Basco first must face one of the city’s most formidable crime lords, Black MaskEwan McGregor.
The trailer opens upon the cityscape, with Harley Quinn confidently strutting down the street with her new sidekick Cassandra Cain. But as the purple neon lights in the foreground seem to suggest, the specter of the Joker still follows her.
We’re introduced to our first members of the Birds of Prey, a team that in the comics traditionally consisted of all-female superheroes like Black Canary, Oracle, and Huntress. While Oracle née Batgirl won’t be showing up in this film, we get our first glimpse at one of the original members, Smollett-Bell’s Black Canary, singing at a nightclub with some illuminating decor it’s the eyes. Look at the eyes.
We get an introduction to a woman in prayer at a small church. At first I thought this was Renee Montoya Perez, but as she has straight hair and appears in a later shot, perhaps not.
“You know what a harlequin is?” Harley cynically rambles to Black Canary while they commiserate at a bar. “A harlequin’s role is to serve. It’s nothing without a master. And no one gives two shits who we are beyond that.” It appears that Black Canary is a dissatisfied hired grunt for…someone.
Harley Quinn is cutting ties with her past — literally. Harley chops off the pink and blue-tipped hair that was a major part in her “harlequin” costume in favor of a shorter cut. And it’s a fun play off of women who cut their hair after a break-up.
Yes, Harley and the Joker are officially broken up, Harley says. And she’s looking for a fresh start. Harley doesn’t seem to have any love left for the psychotic clown, making a dagger-throwing target out of him on her bedroom wall. Though it looks like she didn’t bother to draw his “DAMAGED” tattoo.
We get a silhouette introduction to Renee Montoya, who is investigating a mysterious fire. The Gotham Police Department detective is not traditionally a member of the Birds of Prey either, though she is a recent Gotham staple who is most frequently associated with Batwoman. But what is the building that caught fire? Could it be Arkham Asylum? Harley’s old prison? Harley’s very cute apartment?
We get our first glimpse at Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask watching Black Canary perform, with a strange rack focus on a martini glass full of olives.
Looks like the investigation into the fire did not go well, as Renee Montoya is seen packing up her desk and leaving her job at Gotham PD. Perhaps she uncovered a city-wide cover-up and evidence of corruption — which would make sense considering Black Mask is an infamous crime lord.
Our first shot of Huntress Winstead comes with her trusty crossbow, which she seems to be wielding at Harley, or at least at someone just past Harley.
Harley looks ready to party, not fight. But who is she reluctantly fighting in the alleyway where Huntress can be seen sitting on her motorcycle in the background? One of the Black Mask’s henchmen, probably.
If we were wondering why Black Mask was such a sinister foe, this shot confirms it. He has kidnapped and strung up several women, including what looks to be the woman who was praying at the church. Perhaps that woman has a connection to one of the Birds of Prey, starting the heroes on the mission to take down the Black Mask.
The Black Mask consults with his henchman Victor Zsasz a bleach-blonde Chris Messina, who in the comics is a deranged serial killer who carves a tally mark on his skin for each victim he claims. He’s appeared once before in a cameo in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but this is our first proper introduction to the Batman rogue. They’re talking seriously in front of a very fashionable woman who Black Mask refers to as a “queen.” “She bribes me,” he growls to Zsasz.
Harley and her hyena! In Batman the Animated Series and her comic book appearances, Harley has two loyal hyenas named Bud and Lou after Abbott and Costello, but mostly referred to by Harley as her “babies.” But in Birds of Prey, it seems like Harley can only afford one hyena, hough she spoils it with a bedazzled pink collar and a Twizzler.
I’m going to call this shirt Harley’s plot shirt. Because a whole lot of plot seems to be happening in the shots where Harley is wearing this shirt, which is amusingly branded with her own name. Dripping wet and guarding a scared Cassandra Cain Basco in some nameless storage room, she petulantly asks the goons in front of her who they are, before they begin shooting at her. Cassandra in the comics is an assassin who becomes Batgirl. Her character seems to be the most changed from her comic book counterpart, and just seems like an ordinary girl caught up in Harley’s problems.
Harley’s lost her cool branded shirt, but her pink sports bra is still as recognizable as ever. She’s been captured by Black Mask and his minions, who have her holed up at his nightclub, with the creepy eye-and-hands decor looking down at the scene.
Harley Quinn is the wild card that can't be beat right now. The just-released trailer for Birds of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Miss Harley Quinn is blowing up online and the DC Comics character will be the unofficial queen of New York Comic Con this week with an immersive Harley Quinn pop-up art gallery, a spotlight “Harley Quinn in Comics” panel on Saturday, and a special preview screening of the upcoming Harley Quinnanimated TV series starring Kaley Cuoco on Sunday.
There's a major barrage of new Harley toys, merch, comics, and graphic novels, too, all dedicated to a character that DC describes as”delightfully demented.” Not bad for a character who was actually imported from television Harley, wearing a jester outfit, was introduced as a female henchman of the Joker in a 1992 episode of Batman:The Animated Series.
What the secret of the character's appeal? To answer that question Deadline caught up with Stjepan Sejic, the writer-artist behind the DC Black Label series Harleen, which chronicles the transformation of Dr. Harleen Quinzel, criminal psychiatrist, into Harley Quinn, criminal psychotic. The first issue of Harleenjust hit store shelves last week and an excerpt appears below.
DEADLINE: Harley Quinn seems different than the other top female DC Comics properties. Is it the hard wiring of the character? Or is it a matter ofvintage? Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Black Canary, were all introduced prior to 1962, threedecades before Harley.
STJEPAN SEJIC:Of all of them she always felt the most real. What i mean by that is, Harleen Frances Quinzel is a cautionary tale. She is a mirrored archetype showing a dark and often more realistic side to an old romance movie and novel staple, the beauty and the beast.While many only think of the old fairytale when the concept is brought up, it is in fact an entire section of romance that plays on the same idea. A shy female protagonist falls in love with a dangerous man, and through her love and patience, he regains his humanity.Unfortunately in reality this isn't always the end result.Sometimes the person you love so much will never change. The effort is one-sided, and your love keeps you trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship.You take away the clown makeup, the outfits, and Harleen could be someone you know. A friend you keep telling, “Just leave, they're not good for you.”The answer they provide is often the same: “You don't know them the way I do.”
DEADLINE: What's thebiggest challenge posed by handling a Harley Quinn project?
SEJIC: That depends on the kind of story you're doing.A slapstick kind of take will strain your ability to do visual gag type of humor.An action focused take will challenge your ability to still keep her interesting as a character.For me personally, I am writing a story of a villain. I never forget that. I am not here to make you relate to her, to make you identify with her. If a character is written well enough, people will do that on their own. My priority is to keep you invested.And keeping people invested is a fine balancing act for any writer.
DEADLINE: The character's backstory is so intertwined with the Joker that she could have remained in the limited roles of story accessory. Can you talk a bit about that relationship and how it shapes Harley's path?
SEJIC:So to avoid spoilers I'm going to answer this in a bit of an indirect way.I've said it before, I see Harleen in the same way I see Michael Corleone in The Godfather. In the beginning of it all, he wants no business with his family business. It is , however his love for his family that pulls him in and we see him change into a ruthless mobster.Harleen is also someone who is dragged into hell by the chains of her own love. But once she is there, just like Michael Corleone, she makes her own place in it all.Point is, this is a story about her primarily. It is a story of a smart woman making bad decisions out of love, and in the end dealing with the consequences of it all.
DEADLINE: As Harley's popularity has grown there have been different tugs on the character and her portrayal. How evil and violent she should be, for example, are balanced against the character's bubbly charisma and comedic tone. What have your experience been like on that front?
SEJIC: it truly was a balancing act. Harleen is not a funny person nor is she trying to be. In fact humor in this series first arc is primarily going to be a situational thing. She won't be telling jokes, but funny things will happen to her as life slapsticks her through the first story arc. This allows me to focus on the serious matter at hand while every now and then giving the audience a break from the intense stuff that unfolds before them.As for how evil she should be, there is an arc to it all. Her first kill is to protect him. Her second kill is to protect herself. Her third kill however... it's to impress him.Believe me, it only gets worse, before it gets better. Still, i have a few decks of cards up my sleeve to make this an interesting journey.
DEADLINE: Cosplay has been such a big factor in Harley Quinn's special aura and stature among fans. Is there any downside to that?
SEJIC: Harley is a visually striking character and has had several iconic looks, and cosplayers have done them all by now. Her look is rich in recognizable color coding and recognizable details that enable cosplayers to produce their own variants of her outfit while still being recognizable as Harley. Personally, I'm a massive fan of the original, but since Harleen is a sort of a life story, I'll pretty much end up using them all.
DEADLINE: Margot Robbie has played Harley Quinn on the big screen and is returning to the role with Birds of Prey movie with as many as four more on the way, if you count animated projects. She also popped up on the Fox series Gothamearlier this year and will be getting her own animated series on the DC Universe subscription streaming service. What is it about the character that makes her such an in-demand property?
SEJIC: Different aspects appeal to different people for different reasons. I think that, in a nutshell, as a character she is very genre-adaptable. She can be comedic, and she can do action. She can be cruel and relatable, manic and heartbreaking. She can be a pie-in-the-face clown or a smart psychiatrist trapped in her own mind where she can recognize her own psychosis and yet, like an addict, is unable to stop herself.Point is she is one of those characters that lends herself well to creative interpretation and was done in a great way from the beginning by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm.
Warner Bros Animation
DEADLINE: As the team behind Batman: The Animated Series , Dini and Timm fashioned Harley Quinn with a TV cartoon heritage and that has stayed with her in most of her other iterations — the brassy tone, the comedic timing, the slapstick elements, playfulness etc. That makes her unique I'd say...
SEJIC: Her animated origins provided every subsequent writer and artist with more than just inspiration. They provided us with this sense of being a full formed character. A person. It really is the very fact that from the get go she had an actual voice, and even an accent. It's kinda like, I can't write Joker without hearing either Mark Hamill or Heath Ledger speaking. Some performances capture the very soul of the character and create an inspirational impact to all of us who follow in these footsteps of creative giants.
An excerpt from Harleen issue No. 1, now on sale from DCComics. Written and illustrated by Stjepan Sejic
The first full-length Birds of Prey trailer has finally arrived. It gives us a ton of colorful looks at Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Jurnee Smollett-Bell's Black Canary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Huntress, but we also get a proper look at Ewan McGregor as the villain Black Mask. Though, as has been pointed out by many people on social media, McGregor's version of Black Mask is, rather noticeably, missing his signature mask. Whether or not he winds up with it in the actual movie remains to be seen, but this initial look has drawn mixed reactions.
In the trailer, we see Ewan McGregor dressed up in various suits doing gangster things, like torturing several people hung upside down in a warehouse, which is on-brand for the Gotham City crime lord. But McGregor's portrayal isn't that of a hardened, grizzly criminal. There have been rumors, not yet confirmed by Warner Bros. or director Cathy Yan, that this version of the character will be gay, which would undoubtedly influence the portrayal. Twitter user Spooky Face Rob distilled it down like this in his reaction.
"Looks very fun! A few things I'd have liked Black Mask IN a Black Mask, Canary's cry but I'm optimistic so far!"
The general tone, when taking a look around social media, seems to be cautious optimism about Birds of Prey overall. There are quite a few people who are less familiar with the source material that seem a bit confused by the whole thing. It's also worth noting that all of the main characters seem to be diverting quite a bit from their more classic looks from the pages of DC Comics. A Twitter user and fan simply going by the name Kim had an optimistic view of the situation.
Related: Birds of Prey Teaser Trailer Arrives Unleashing a Mallet-Swinging Harley Quinn
"The fact that I live in the time and universe where my favorite actor, Ewan McGregor, is playing my favorite comic villain, Black Mask, in a feature film... It brings tears to my eyes."
For those who may not be familiar, Black Mask was created by Doug Moench and Tom Mandrake and made his first appearance in DC Comics back in August 1985 in the pages of Batman #386. Black Mask, generally speaking, is portrayed as a sadistic crime kingpin. The man under the mask is Roman Sionis, who murdered his wealthy parents so that he could take control of the family business. His parents cared far more about their social status than they did him, which contributed to the whole thing. He dons a mask and heads up a gang called the False Face Society.
With that in mind, it's easy to see why the lack of an actual black mask is disappointing for some. But this is just a trailer. Who knows what's in store during this movie's full runtime? Birds of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn arrives in theaters on February 7, 2020, from Warner Bros.
Looks very fun! A few things I'd have liked Black Mask IN a Black Mask, Canary's cry but I'm optimistic so far! #BirdsOfPreyhttps://t.co/YaEduLvVIy
— Spooky Face Rob @StupidFaceRob October 1, 2019
The fact that I live in the time and universe where my favorite actor, Ewan McGregor, is playing my favorite comic villain, Black Mask, in a feature film...It brings tears to my eyes.
— Kim @HarleyPan October 1, 2019
Black Mask foreshadowing pic.twitter.com/9yAGxUOH0q
— Walt @UberKryptonian October 1, 2019
God damnit DC. You got me. I didn't want you to get me, but you got me. #BirdsOfPrey I still want Black Mask to WEAR A BLACK MASK.
— Collin The Gamer @TheBatzFiend October 1, 2019
I'm excited for Black Mask tho, hopefully he actually you know wears a Black Mask...
— Beware the Batman @Batman_Beware October 1, 2019
#BirdsOfPrey looks good, but I feel like they should have called it ‘The Harley Quinn movie & some Birds of Prey I’m 100% in, I’m a DC guy, I just hope they don’t short change the other characters. And I really freaking hope Black Mask has a full skull mask.#BirdsOfPreyMovie
— Lee Howard @LeeHowardArtist October 1, 2019
Soooooo Black Mask doesn't wear the mask even once in the trailer y'all https://t.co/N6m4Jjduef
— Rocchi @KeyboardsHateMe October 1, 2019
Seriously, WTF is this shit? Why are they marketing this souly on Harley Quinn? Isn’t this a team movie? Also Black Mask looks like such a lame ass villain. Never watching this, looks worse than Suicide Squad ever was. #BirdsOfPreypic.twitter.com/SxfRdjtg0X
— Bag Man @bag_bombastic October 1, 2019
Black Mask is gonna be one hell of a villain, that’s for sure. #BirdsOfPreypic.twitter.com/natFN6xmPj
— Birds of Prey movie updates. @bopupdates October 1, 2019
Remember when only a week ago ppl were doubting how intimidating Black Mask would be over a poster? The dude on the far left looks decapitated pic.twitter.com/tEl9ZNN8GH
— Alex @worldsofdceu October 1, 2019
EWAN MCGREGOR AS BLACK MASK IN THE NEW BOP TRAILER AHHH pic.twitter.com/QgHweuoImY
Good luck Gotham City, it looks like you're going to need it. In the just-released Warner Bros trailer for Birds of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn,Margot Robbie returns to Bruce Wayne's hometown as Harley Quinn, the volatile vixen of vivacity who made the leap from the pages of DC Comics to Hollywood's big screen in Suicide Squad 2016. That $175 million PG-13 film piled up $747 million in worldwide box office due in large part to Robbie's bawdy, wild-child performance — the new film will try pushing even further into edgy material with a R-rating.
The “emancipation” in the eccentric and elongated title is a nod to Harley's relationship status after parting ways with her bad-boy boyfriend, the Joker as played with pervy menace by Jared Leto in Suicide Squad. But being single isn't the same as being alone, especially when you've got friends like the Birds of Prey. That's the name for the “girl gang” that teams Harley withthe Huntress Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Black Canary Jurnee Smollet-Bell.
The trio will clash with Ewan McGregor as the mysterious and ruthless crime boss called the Black Mask. The cast also includes Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, and Chris Messina as Victor Zsaz.Now in post-production, Birds of Preywas directed by Cathy Yan and due in theaters on Feb. 7.
The trailer's release is part of a huge week for Gotham City characters. This past Sunday night, Pennyworth starring Jack Bannon as Batman's future butler closed out its first season on Epix. This Thursday, the highly anticipated Jokerhits theaters and is widely considered a major Oscar contender. Next Sunday, the new R-rated Harley Quinn television series starring Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theorywill get a special preview at New York Comic Con. That same night, Batwoman premieres on The CW. This year also marks the 80th anniversary of Batman.
'Joker' Atom Tickets Presales Besting 'Venom' & 'It Chapter Two'; Batman Villain Pic Still Eyeing October-Record $80M-Plus Debut
The DC universe is about to get another injection of some much-needed girl power when Cathy Yan’s candy-colored “Birds of Prey” hits theaters next February. Featuring Margot Robbie returning as Harley Quinn, the film’s unwieldy subtitle — “The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Miss Harley Quinn,” naturally — makes it clear that this all-new comic book adventure is about the former Dr. Quinzel busting loose of her, well, unique shackles read: the Joker. She won’t be alone, either.
Joining Robbie in the film are Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary. The movie follows the aforementioned comic book characters as they team up to save Cassandra Cain Ella Jay Basco from the villainous Black Mask Ewan McGregor, who appears to be having a hell of a time breaking bad in the film’s first official trailer. Chris Messina also stars as Mr. Zsasz and Ali Wong is reportedly on deck in an undisclosed role.
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In September, the studio released a first look at the film that was only available in theaters, a teaser that focused on two key elements: Harley being “so over clowns” and the eponymous Birds of Prey striking out on their own action adventure to rid Gotham of the kind of trash only they can take out. The film’s first full-length trailer finds more fun in those exact elements, with Harley cutting off her iconic pigtails and announcing that she and the Joker are over before digging into her plan to retrofit the city into her iconic image. But, rest assured, she’s not the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation, and she’s about to land a brand-new gang of baddies doing good to help along the way.
With this directing gig, Yan becomes the first Asian woman to oversee any Hollywood superhero epic. Last year, Robbie explained to IndieWire why she wanted Yan to direct the film. “Well, it's a female girl gang film,” Robbie said at the time. “Historically, female filmmakers aren't given the same opportunities, and we all need to be making conscious efforts to even out those statistics. But beyond that, there was going to be so many integral female characters in this story, in the Harley Quinn one, the girl gang film, that I wanted a truly female point of view and perspective on telling that story.”
Warner Bros. will release “Birds of Prey” in theaters on February 7, 2020. Check out the first trailer for the film below.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – yes, that’s the real title – gives Margot Robbie another shot at playing Harley Quinn, and hopefully, things will turn out better this time. Robbie leads a cast that includes Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Ella Jay Basco in this female-driven superhero team-up flick. Watch the Birds of Prey trailer below.
Birds of Prey Trailer
Margot Robbie has firmly established herself as a talented actor. And in theory, she could be a great Harley Quinn. I say in theory, and could because I feel Robbie hasn’t been given a fair opportunity to show what she’s got. Robbie’s first outing as Harley was in the absolutely abysmal Suicide Squad, and try as she might, she had next to nothing to work with. A performer’s talents will only get them so far. If the character they’re playing is poorly written, it’s very hard to rise above the material.
Thankfully, Robbie is going to have another chance. Two chances, actually, since she’s reprising the character for James Gunn’s Suicide Squad sequel. First, though, she’ll appear in Cathy Yan‘s Birds of Prey. The film teams Robbie with Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Here’s the synopsis:
Since the events of Suicide Squad, Batman has disappeared, leaving Gotham City unprotected from crime, and Harley Quinn has left the Joker. When Cassandra Cain, a young girl, comes across a diamond belonging to crime lord Black Mask, Harley joins forces with Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to help protect her.
Ewan McGregor is playing Black Mask, while Chris Messina takes on the role of serial killer Victor Zsasz. The script comes from Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson, and it was the script that particularly drew in director Cathy Yan. “I could not put the script down, it had so much dark humor to it, which a lot of my work does, and there are themes of female empowerment which are so strong and relatable,” Yan said. “So I went in [to the pitch meeting] with, not with confidence, but at least a sense that I belonged in the room, that somehow magically in terms of timing and luck that this opportunity was open to me and I was definitely going to make the best of it.”
“I’m excited to see Harley stand on her own and be her own thing,” Hodson said. “She is the character, in all of my writing, that I’ve most enjoyed. I’m excited to bring her into the world a second time. She’s so full of contradictions, she’s so intelligent, but also so crazy. She’s just the most fun to write. You never know what you’re gonna get when you sit down.”