Ewan Mcgregor Calls Birds Of Prey A ‘Feminist Film’

Ewan McGregor as Black Mask

The DC live-action universe has hit its stride with the last few releases. Warner Bros.' shared universe may have stumbled at the start with movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but the last three releases have been critical and box office successes. Todd Phillips' Joker is making tons of money at theaters, but it set outside of the greater DCEU. Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey will pick things back up, introducing plenty of Gotham City favorites in the process. Ewan McGregor is playing the villainous Black Mask, and recently raved about the film's script, and described it as a 'feminist film'.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will bring Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn back to theaters, and give her some real friends. Director Cathy Yan filled the highly anticipated movie with beloved femme fatales from the page. Victor Zsasz and Black Mask are the exceptions to this female-focused blockbuster, with the latter played by Ewan McGregor. McGregor recently spoke to Birds of Prey's script and message, saying:

What interested me with Birds of Prey is that it's a feminist film. It is very finely written. There is in the script a real look on misogyny, and I think we need that. We need to be more aware of how we behave with the opposite sex. We need to be taught to change. Misogynists in movies are often extreme: they rape, they beat women ... and it is legitimate to represent people like that, because they exist and they are obviously the worst. But in the Birds of Prey dialogues, there is always a hint of everyday misogyny, of those things you say as a man you do not even realize, mansplaining ... and it's in the script in a very subtle way. I found that brilliant.

Is it February yet? Ewan McGregor has had a long successful career in film, accruing generations of fans who appreciate his work. So such high praise carries weight, especially going so far as to cal the script "brilliant." Birds of Prey has been teased to be something wholly unique to the superhero genre, and it seems the movie's villain echoes this passionate feelings.

Ewan McGregor's comments to Premiere will likely be music to the ears of DC fans, as well as moviegoers who are advocating for inclusion and representation in the media. DC fans first and foremost want a good film, after a bevy of disappointments previously hit theaters. But Aquaman and Shazam! both resonated with audiences, bringing hope and life into the DC Extended Universe. And while Joker isn't set within the DCEU, Warner Bros. is still behind the controversial Oscar hopeful.

Related: Birds Of Prey’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead Teases The Director’s Unique Vision

Over the past few years, there's been a conscious effort for movies to become more inclusive, featuring diverse stories and characters. While the MCU focused on stories about white men for the first two phases, its since become a more diverse place when it comes to race and sex. The DCEU has had a shorter tenure in theaters, but made history with Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman.

Birds of Prey will not only feature a cast of actresses who make up the titular team, but it was also written and directed by women. This influence seems to be sewed into the fabric of the movie, at least according to Ewan McGregor. The first trailer recently teased at the feminist angle of the film, as Harley laments about how the purpose of a harlequin is simply to serve. The movie looks like a quirky and wild ride in theaters, and it should be interesting to see what information arrives ahead of its debut in theaters.

Black Mask looking angry

It should be interesting to see exactly how the feminist issues are presented in Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Cathy Yan will have to put real-world issues into the otherwise over the top blockbuster romp. So while there may be metahuman powers and the occasional Marilyn Monroe-inspired musical number, but the movie still has a specific message to tell. At least, according to Ewan McGregor's comments. Since he's the main villain of the highly anticipated movie, he would know.

The trailer for Birds of Prey is voiced over by Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, who reveals that her character's motivation is at least partly inspired by a breakup with Jared Leto's Joker. Harley's relationship with Mr. J. an unhealthy one, with the femme fatale typically suffering some abuse by her partner's hands. This search for emancipation will find her teaming up with other Gotham women, who seem similarly taken advantage of, and in need of companionship.

Unfortunately, the movie's first trailer didn't have all that much footage of the other titular Birds of Prey, instead focusing on Harley's psychotic perspective. Jurnee Smollett-Bell recently revealed that Black Canary is working as a singer in Black Mask's club, rather than solving crime and using her signature metahuman abilities. But we'll see her transform into the epic street fighter we know and love from the comics.

I'm eager to see how Huntress factors into the story, and how the character is being adapted for live-action. Not much about the character has been revealed thus far, but she looks thoroughly badass rocking her signature crossbow. Huntress is typically a member of the Bat-family, but it's currently unclear if she's got a connection to Ben Affleck's iteration of the character.

Rosie Perez's Renee Montoya will bring the Gotham City Police Department into the story. The Birds of Prey trailer makes her look like she's struggling with the job a bit. She's going to kick some ass with brass knuckles, and somehow get involved with vigilantes of the city. Hey, it worked for Commissioner Gordon. Additionally, there's Ella Jay Basco's Cassandra Cain, a young girl who is destined to become Batgirl in the comics.

Our questions will be answered when Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will be released February 7th, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.