After decades of appearing in various cartoons and video games, Harley Quinn is finally heading to the big screen in 2016’s Suicide Squad. Although this isn’t her first live-action appearance (she was an antagonist in the short-lived 2002 series Birds of Prey), the movie will be her most high=profile appearance yet, introducing her to moviegoers not familiar with her history at DC. Although it’s still unclear what exactly this version of her will be like, there are several things that are likely to be brought over for her theatrical debut - like her white-skinned, harlequin-like appearance, and her unhealthy relationship with "Mistah J". Chief among Harley’s defining qualities, though, is her infamous Brooklyn accent, but will we actually get to hear it during the film? The actress playing her seems to think so.
Margot Robbie recently sat down with SuperHeroHype, and revealed during the interview that while the voice is one of the many details of Suicide Squad that haven’t been ironed out yet, she will likely turn to the character’s history for inspiration. Said Robbie:
"None of those things have been set in stone at this point, but according to the comics, she’s from New York and I think Brooklyn, so there may be a slight… I couldn’t imagine it would be as strong as the Wolf of Wall Street accent. The lingo will be the difference between that and the other character I played in Wolf but I don’t know yet. We haven’t spoken about it."
Robbie was able to master the Brooklyn accent playing Jordan Belfort’s second wife Naomi Lapaglia in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, and it's pretty key given that the voice is such an important part of Harley Quinn's history as a character. Unlike most DC Comics characters, Harley didn’t debut in the pages of a comic book; she first appeared in 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series voiced by Arleen Sorkin. It because of Harley’s positive reception on TV and extreme popularity that she was introduced into the main DC continuity. Along with her original jester costume, Harley’s Brooklyn accent was one of her defining traits, and it has been carried over into other representations.
As Dr. Harleen Quinzel - who was a psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum before she fell in love with the Joker - Harley Quinn's accent was more subdued, but once she was turned psycho, her voice became much more pronounced and high-pitched. One wonders if we’ll get a flashback during Suicide Squad showing how the cinematic Harley fell under The Joker’s spell, allowing Robbie to switch from Harley’s original voice to her nutcase voice. You’d be hard-pressed to find a comic book fan who doesn’t hear that distinct melody in her speech while reading about her misadventures in comics.
All answers will be revealed when David Ayer's Suicide Squad arrives in theaters on August 5, 2016.