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SYFY WIRE Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey introduces DCEU films’ first gay character: It’s ‘really fantastic,’ says star Rosie Perez

By Heather Mason

The DCEU will soon grow even larger with the release of Birds of Prey next week, which will add not one but four new badass women to the film canon. One of those women is Renee Montoya (played by the iconic Rosie Perez), a hard-nosed cop who is determined to rid the city of Gotham of its seedy underbelly. Montoya is canonically gay in the comics, and there has been speculation as to whether the movie would address this in any way. Birds of Prey does, in fact, mark Perez's place as the first openly gay character in the DCEU film canon.

At the London press junket for the film, SYFY FANGRRLS spoke with Perez about how the film honors the comics' portrayal of Montoya's sexuality.

"Oh, I thought it was wonderful. It was a wonderful opportunity," Perez said. "You know, if there’s a sequel, I hope that is explored even further in the right, respectful way. And so it was fantastic. It was really, really fantastic."

Perez also noted how the film's honest and open depiction of Montoya as a fully realized character reflects a changing world.

"You know, there’s so many elements of this project that is showing how the world is changing, has changed, and needs to move forward," she explained. "And I love the fact that, you know, she’s just, she has an ex-girlfriend, it’s not a big deal. I think that’s important as well."

Birds of Prey follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) post-Suicide Squad as she deals with her breakup with the J-Man (aka the Joker). In the film, she teams up with Montoya; Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell); Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead); and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) as they all seek emancipation from their own circumstances while taking down bad guys Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) and Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina).

Not only does the film predominantly star women, but Birds of Prey is also led by a female creative team, with director Cathy Yan and writer Christina Hodson. These women join the ranks of Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins in paving the way for a new chapter of the DCEU, which has struggled to find its footing in this age of comic-book adaptations.

Next up will be the much-anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 this summer, followed by a new iteration of Batman and Robbie's return as Harley Quinn in the next Suicide Squad film. And who knows, maybe one day we'll get that Birds of Prey sequel Rosie Perez is hoping for. 

Birds of Prey flies into theaters Feb 7.