Margot Robbie, Harley Quinn

Cathy Yan is Warner Bros.' choice to direct a Harley Quinn-driven film inspired by Birds of Prey

Contributed by
Apr 17, 2018

The next DC Comics-inspired film to star Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is on the way, and it could be directed by 2018 Sundance Film Festival breakout director Cathy Yan.

Deadline reports that Yan, a successful former reporter for The Wall Street Journal who transitioned into directing short films and made her feature-film directorial debut earlier this year with Dead Pigs (which won a Sundance World Cinema award in January), is Warner Bros.' and DC Entertainment's choice for the project, a "girl gang movie" inspired by the DC Comics series Birds of Prey. Yan was competing with several more prominent male directors for the job, but impressed DC with an "exceptional" presentation of her take on the project. That, plus Robbie's supposed insistence that she wanted to work with a female director on the film, led Warner Bros. to tap Yan. 

If the deal is finalized, Yan will become the first female Asian director to helm a superhero film, and will join Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins as only the second woman to direct a DC Films feature. Marvel Studios, after almost landing Jenkins for the film that would become Thor: The Dark World, will release Captain Marvel — co-directed by Anna Boden, the first woman to have a directing credit on a Marvel Cinematic Universe film — next March. 

Created in the mid-'90s, the DC Comics team known as the Birds of Prey began as a team-up between Barbara Gordon (then operating as Oracle, now operating as Batgirl) and Dinah Laurel Lance (Black Canary), and eventually grew to include heroes and antiheroes like Huntress, Catwoman, Katana, and Harley Quinn (though often as an ally of the team rather than a full-fledged member).

Mirroring the makeup of the comics team, the production on the still-untitled film features women in many of the most prominent creative positions. In addition to starring in the film, Robbie will also produce it alongside her I, Tonya producing partner Bryan Unkeless and Kroll & Co. Entertainment's Sue Kroll. Yan will direct the film from a script by Christina Hodson, who wrote the upcoming Transformers spin-off Bumblebee and was also recently tapped to write a new Batgirl script for DC.

Production on the Birds of Prey film could begin as early as the end of year, which means it's likely the next Harley Quinn-related release we'll see from DC. Other films starring or co-starring the character — including Gotham City Sirens, Harley Quinn vs. The Joker, and the Suicide Squad sequel from director David Ayer — remain in development. So, in addition to the news that DC Films is adding to its roster of female talent with Yan, we can also rest assured that the studio is still very, very excited about its ongoing collaboration with Margot Robbie.