If Margot Robbie has her way, the upcoming Birds of Prey film could be the first R-rated entry in the DC Extended Universe.
After Suicide Squad premiered in 2016, it became clear that Robbie's Harley Quinn was not only one of the standouts of that film, but also a character with lots of potential on the DC Films slate going forward. Robbie saw the potential too, so much so that she was already pitching Harley spinoff ideas when Suicide Squad was filming back in 2015, and while everything from David Ayer's Gotham City Sirens film to a Harley/Joker team-up movie has been reported, Robbie's focus was apparently always on getting Harley together with a gang of DC Comics women in an R-rated action movie.
In an interview with Collider to promote her new film Terminal, Robbie explained her thought process behind pitching the Birds of Prey-inspired film, noting both a desire for more "girl gang" movies and a desire to give Harley something more than a standalone film.
“I pitched the idea of an R-rated girl gang film including Harley, because I was like, ‘Harley needs friends.’ Harley loves interacting with people, so don’t ever make her do a standalone film," Robbie said. "She’s got to be with other people, it should be a girl gang. I wasn’t seeing enough girl gangs on screen, especially in the action space. So that was always a big part of it."
Dead Pigs director Cathy Yan, who Robbie describes as "the best director" for the job, signed on to direct the film last month from a script by Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson. Many Harley fans, already excited about Robbie's future with the character, were enthusiastic about an all-female comic book teamup movie that was also driven by women in the key creative positions. Speaking to Moviefone about the project, Robbie said that while other films starring or co-starring Harley may have been developing alongside Birds of Prey, this project was her dream, and she kept returning to it until the studio was "all in."
"I pitched it to [Hodson] actually," Robbie said. "I said, 'I want to make a girl gang, R-rated film that Harley is a part of.' And we started working on it from there. Meanwhile, over the course of the next few years, the studio was exploring other Harley Quinn spin-offs. But I was not a part of those versions, I was always focused on this one with Christina."
Superhero films, of course, tend to stick to PG-13 ratings to maximize marketability, but the R-rated comic book movie market is booming right now. It's always been there in some form, but thanks to massive hits like Deadpool and Logan it's become clear that studios can make full-on blockbusters in that arena. Those are films that aren't just successful for an R-rated comic book movie. They're just plain successful, and with Deadpool 2 less than two weeks away from what's set to be a massive release, it makes sense that studios other than Fox would be adding R-rated films to their shared superhero universes. It's not clear at this point if Birds of Prey will definitely end up with an R rating, but Robbie's certainly pulling for it.
The Birds of Prey film could reportedly enter production later this year, making it both the next likely Harley Quinn film and possibly the first R-rated DCEU release. Are you a fan of Robbie's approach? Let us know in the comments.