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Fans were introduced to Margot Robbie’s version of fan favorite Harley Quinn in 2016’s Suicide Squad, but next year will see her breaking off her longstanding relationship with the Joker and striking out on her own. In the upcoming Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, she'll be teaming up with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and more to deal with the latest threat to Gotham.
During a press visit to the set, Robbie spoke to SYFY FANGRRLS about teaming up with a group of women this time around, where Harley Quinn is now, why there are Froot Loops in Harley's house, and more.
The room for interviews was designed as a recreation of Harley’s apartment, which was full of comfy couches, posters, and lots and lots of snacks. Robbie said that the Froot Loops were her favorite, living on them for the first three months she was out on her own, and she specifically asked to have them in Harley’s pad. According to Robbie, the snacks have a comic book precedent: “There is an image in the comics I read where she is sitting — I think she’s with Poison Ivy — anyway, there’s an image of her watching cartoons and eating cereal. There are a couple of images from the comics that have stuck with me. So I spoke to Christina [Hodson], like, 'Can we inject this moment [into the film]?'”
Good taste in snacks aside, who is Harley Quinn this time around? Where does she fall on the scale of good and bad in the film? In Robbie's mind, she’s an antihero. “I don’t think she’s evil, but I don’t think she’s good either. I think she’s a baddie with her own set of rules that she follows. Her moral compass points a very different way to someone else’s, but she does have [one]. She does have a feeling of what is right and wrong, but she places her priorities in a very different order to some other people.”
In Birds of Prey, Harley is getting a lot more screen time, so we can go deeper into who she is. “I think what’s different about this film is that you see Harley in her element,” Robbie told FANGRRLS. “What does her house look like? What does she wear when she gets to pick her own outfit? In Suicide Squad, there was a box there to choose from, and she wore her mission outfit. Now, what does she wear when she goes to get drunk at night? How does she deal with a hangover? Whatever it is, you get to see these other sides to Harley, personal sides.”
Before she was Harley, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, but Robbie believes that Harley isn’t the best at analyzing herself. “It’s easier to give people advice than to work it through for yourself," she said. "I think it’s a thing where she’s truly just a mess. She’s a total mess after the breakup. And despite her background and knowledge of the human condition, I think she’s just really struggling to figure it out for herself. You definitely see the different stages, post-breakup.”
One of the most recent tropes in a lot of superhero films is the Smurfette principle: one woman (or, in rare cases, two) in a group that otherwise consists of all men. We saw it in Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League — but in Birds of Prey fans will finally get to see an all-women group from different backgrounds, working together. Robbie said that she pitched the idea because she is “always surrounded by a group of women” in real life. “I thought you would get to see the best part of Harley’s personality in a group of girls. And then we kind of pieced together a group that does feel like a very eclectic mix of ages and backgrounds, even down to the fact that you’ve got a cop in the group, but then you have someone like Harley, who is a complete anarchist.”
The Gotham we see in Birds of Prey is on a slightly smaller scale than what audiences have glimpsed in previous films. Robbie explained that we’re looking at the outskirts of the city, comparing it to Brooklyn or Queens instead of Manhattan, and that everyone involved in this is fighting for their neighborhoods. It draws them together. As Robbie told us, “I think that’s what they have in common, whether they place priority in upholding the law the way Renee Montoya might, or Canary. Huntress is kind of an outsider coming back in. It’s home for them, and they’re fighting for their community in some way. In a very weird way.”
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn will be released on February 7, 2020.