As a fan of DC I have to admit I was underwhelmed at the prospect of a BIRDS OF PREY movie. For some reason the concept just didn’t appeal to me. Then I saw the first trailer and the paradigm completely changed. While we won’t know how the final result shakes out for another two months, the previews certainly indicate a bonkers, delectable, mayhem filled feast for the eyes. Everyone from Margot Robbie to Ewan McGregor just looks like they are having an absolute blast.
In spite of how much fun the cast may be having, the one person who takes BIRDS OF PREY very seriously is director Cathy Yan (DEAD PIGS). Yan won the prestigious World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and is a noted cinefile. Joblo’s own Kalyn Corrigan got the opportunity to visit the BIRDS OF PREY set earlier this year and was able to chat with both Yan and star Margot Robbie. Cathy Yan offered some interesting insights into the influences on BIRDS OF PREY’s narrative as well citing some pretty significant names including Luc Besson, Quentin Tarantino, and the great Akira Kurosawa:
“The way that I sort of talked about the structure of the film is a bit like ‘Pulp Fiction’ meets ‘Rashomon.’ So it’s an unconventional structure. For me, there’s a lot of my favorite filmmakers that have influences on this film, so like Tarantino, obviously. ‘The Professional’ for sure, especially the relationship between Harley and Cass. We actually have a few like, oh I guess I would say, like odes to certain films in the movie. Watch out for that.”
Since RASHOMON includes the perspective (sometimes reliable, sometimes not) of multiple characters on the same incident, I’d hazard a guess that the same will hold true here. We’ll probably get the perspective of not just Harley Quinn, Huntress, and Black Canary but also Black Mask as well. Additionally, if it’s a non-narrative structure like PULP FICTION, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the film starts out in the middle.
The BIRDS OF PREY trailer also indicated a distinctly different looking Gotham City from what we saw in BATMAN V SUPERMAN, SUICIDE SQUAD, and JUSTICE LEAGUE. Yan confirmed this as well stating she was heavily influenced by the 70s Mod style and cited Stanley Kubrick‘s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE as an inspiration. Cathy Yan‘s goal was to bring a stylish but grounded look to the film stating, “We really tried to make this film look like nothing that you’ve seen from a superhero movie before. And really ground it in a reality and in some of the films that I’ve loved through the years.”
I have to say these are pretty significant films and directors that Yan is referencing. While I respect the fact that greats like Kubrick and Kurosawa led the way for Yan’s vision, I sincerely hope BIRDS OF PREY doesn’t ape those self-same people. It would be a shame if audiences come out of the movie thinking it’s a sloppy Frankenstein mix of PULP FICTION and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. However, I’m supremely confident in Cathy Yan‘s talent and I have the sneaking suspicion she’s about to deliver something truly special.
BIRDS OF PREY AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN starring Margot Robbie, Chris Messina, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Jumee Smollett-Bell, Ali Wong, and Ewan McGregor flies its way into theaters February 7, 2020.