Cathy Yan

Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan reveals how she pitched the movie and winged its sizzle reel

Contributed by
Oct 31, 2018

While it may not be the most beloved superhero cinematic universe in existence, the DCEU will be the first one to introduce an all-female team of comic book characters to expectant moviegoers. That would be the Birds of Prey, a collection of vigilantes (and villains), whose big screen debut is being overseen by director Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs).

As the second-ever female director to helm a comic book feature for Warner Bros. (Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins was the first), Yan went out of her way to wow the studio executives, using an unexpected pitch method, thus securing the Birds of Prey directing gig. 

“It came out of me,” she said during an interview with Deadline. “I have never done any of these things and I asked my agents for examples to get a better sense: I put together a pitch deck and also assembled a sizzle reel. But I would say it wasn’t like a lot of other sizzle reels which reference other films that remotely feel like your film. I find those to be rather pointless. But I created my own version that thematically and tonally conveyed what you would feel [in my movie].”

Birds of Prey (1999-2009) DC Comics

Credit: DC Comics

A number of casting choices have already been made for the movie. Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn (last seen in Suicide Squad) will be joined by Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), and Cassandra Cain (this part hasn't been cast yet).

The convergence of these characters really impressed Yan when she read the screenplay, convincing her that she really wanted to be the one to make the film, which she confirmed will be rated R, something that Robbie was really pushing for.

“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 relateable," 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.”

Birds of Prey is scheduled for theatrical release on Feb. 7, 2020


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