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Following the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and method of serialized storytelling, quite a few studios have tried to create shared universes of their own. Chief among them is Warner Bros' live-action world, which ended up being conceptualized after the success of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel in 2013. DC has since announced countless projects, with a handful that seem to be actively developing.
One of the blockbusters Warner Bros. seems to be actively pursuing is the upcoming Birds of Prey movie. Based off of the DC female team of the same name, the upcoming project is looking as if it will be another starring vehicle for Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, after she stole the show as part of the ensemble cast in David Ayer's Suicide Squad. While much of the project is still a mystery (including its title), it looks like the DC universe is going to break new ground with the film, as it'll reportedly be getting an R-rating.
This news is a potential game changer for DC and more specifically Warner Bros., as the studio still seems to be struggling with finding its niche within the superhero genre. There are a ton of comic book blockbusters being produced at any given time, with superhero fatigue looming above each potential project. The most ambitious and original movies are resonating with audiences, and now it seems like the DC film universe wants to get in on the R-rated fun that has proven so successful for movies like Deadpool and Logan.
Reports of Birds of Prey's R-rating come to us from the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit in LA, courtesy of Deadline. Director Cathy Yan will be helming the female-focused movie for DC, and opened up at the event about the project's development. It was during this presentation that Yan confirmed Birds of Prey was going to be rated R, breaking new ground for the still young film universe.
The idea of Birds of Prey being rated R is going to be exciting for some hardcore comic fans, who are used to seeing all sort of violence and excitement on the page. The movie is going to focus on villains as well as the heroes, so the rating will hopefully allow the femme fatales to go full tilt in regards to their violence and villainy. Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn is already a fully-formed character; however, this new rating may allow The Joker's partner and sidekick to become a deadlier version of the character introduced in Suicide Squad.
Since Birds of Prey is still accruing its cast and production team, it's unclear exactly which characters will be included in Cathy Yan's upcoming superhero debut. Plenty of rumors have swirled around about the inclusion of Catwoman and Poison Ivy, with actresses campaigning to be included in the project. The latter seems like a great choice for the project, as Harley and Ivy's friendship in both the comic books and Batman: The Animated Series have become a fan favorite plot point. Unfortunately, only the film's heroes have been announced.
10 Cloverfield Lane actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead is set to play Helena Bertinelli / Huntress, who is a vigilante from Gotham City. A member of the Bat-family, Huntress has a dark childhood full of trauma, and uses methods that are deadlier than Batman usually allows. She'll be joined by Jurnee Smollett-Bell (True Blood) as Black Canary, and Do The Right Thing actress and The View host Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya.
While appearing at the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit, Cathy Yan also opened up about how she ended up getting involved in the Birds of Prey movie. She was apparently enthralled with the first draft of the script, and knew this was the right project to make her superheroic debut. As Yan told it,
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 relatable. So I went in 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.
Well, this is overall really exciting. With so little information currently available for Birds of Prey, DC fans and moviegoers alike are eager for any information and glimpses into the upcoming project. And considering the DCEU's many peaks and valleys, everyone is hoping that the shared universe has seen the last of its missteps with Justice League. Fingers crossed.
Since superhero movies have become so commonplace, it's fascinating to watch filmmakers attempt to do something unique and original with the iconic source material. Fox took a huge risk with Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, as many assumed the film's R-rating would exclude younger moviegoers, and therefore negatively affect the box office. But quite the opposite happened, with Fox repeating the same level of success with the recent sequel Deadpool 2.
The X-Men franchise continued to explore new ground with James Mangold's Logan. Hugh Jackman's final performance as Wolverine was surprisingly personal and muted-- a far cry from the massive action movies like X-Men: Apocalypse. R-ratings allow for more types of storytelling, action, and dialogue-- and now it seems that DC will try to get in on the action with Birds of Prey.