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As the DCEU's second female-led movie, Birds of Prey finds Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) breaking up with the Joker (it's unclear at this time whether Jared Leto is returning as the Clown Prince of Crime) and striking out on her own by forming a group of like-minded and independent women who don't need no men. This idea of shattering patriarchal mores and putting the narrative emphasis on strong, butt-kicking women was what convinced Ewan McGregor to board the project as Gotham City's most feared and maniacal crime lord, Black Mask.
“What interested me with Birds of Prey is that it’s a feminist movie," the Doctor Sleep actor told the French publication Première. The actor then went on to note that the film is "very subtly written" with "a real focus on misogyny."
"And I believe that we need this," he added, explaining that we must be more cognizant of the opposite sex’s behavior. "We need to be taught on how to change."
Black Mask factors into the story when he sets his sights on young Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who comes into possession of a valuable diamond belonging to the dangerous gangster. To protect Cain, Harley enlists the help of Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). While McGregor didn't reveal how his character treats women in the film, he did explain how BoP goes for a more finespun approach when compared to the "extreme" depictions of physical and sexual assault seen in other cinema.
He noted that in the film's dialogue, there is "always a hint of everyday misogyny, all those things we say as males without realizing it, to mansplaining." The approach was "subtle," he explained, adding: "I found it brilliant."
Thanks to the name of its eponymous team, the flick can indulge in some really vibrant imagery that recalls the splashy plumage of certain birds. Fans got an up-close look at some of the onscreen costumes when the outfits were put on display at New York Comic Con last week. Members of the cast, including Robbie and Basco, even showed up over the weekend for a surprise signing event.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) flies into theaters everywhere Feb. 7, 2020. Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) directed the movie based on a script by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee).