Margot Robbie Pushed for a Female Director on the Harley Quinn Spin-Off—And Got One
Margot Robbies persistence has paid off. According to Deadline, filmmaker Cathy Yan will helm the upcoming Suicide Squad spin-off Birds of Prey, which revolves primarily around the villainous Harley Quinn. Yan, whose feature film debut Dead Pigs picked up an award at Sundance this year, beat out numerous contenders for the plum job. Per Deadline, Robbie “held firm to her desire for this film to be directed by a woman,” and Yans presentation for the D.C. film sealed the deal.
Yan will be the third female filmmaker to enter the souped-up Warner Bros. superhero era, joining Patty Jenkins, who helmed Wonder Woman last year, and Ava DuVernay, who will direct the upcoming New Gods. Yan will also be the first Asian woman to helm a D.C. superhero film. Birds of Prey, for that matter, will be just the second D.C. film to center on a female character after Wonder Woman. The studios standalone Batgirl movie, which was originally going to be written, directed, and produced by Joss Whedon before he sheepishly exited the project, is still in the works. The Birds of Prey team also includes screenwriter Christina Hodson (of the Transformers spin-off Bumblebee), who has also been tapped to pick up the Batgirl movie, Deadline reports.
Birds of Prey is based on the comic series of the same name, and will see Quinn join forces with characters like Black Canary, Batgirl (i.e. Barbara Gordon) and Huntress. Its also not to be confused with the carousel of other Suicide Squad spin-offs that are reportedly in the works, including: a Suicide Squad sequel, a Gotham City Sirens adaptation, the twofer Harley Quinn Vs The Joker, and the various other Joker-themed projects still up in the air.
This is an exciting career step for Yan, a rare female director to break into Hollywoods tradition of giving blockbusters to filmmakers with just a well-received indie or two to their name (think Colin Trevorrow or Jon Watts). The former Wall Street Journal reporter broke into the film world with a few shorts, Deadline notes, later making a splash with Dead Pigs at Sundance earlier this year, which picked up the special jury prize for ensemble acting. Birds of Prey does not yet have a set release date.
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Yohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.