Jurnee Smollett-Bell Chugged Energy Drinks To Get Through An ‘Inhumane’ Birds Of Prey Action Scene

Black Canary, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, looks down in a still from Birds of Prey

This story discusses minor plot details from Birds of Prey. If you want to go into the movie unspoiled, we’d recommend you don’t read this until after you’ve seen it.

Filming an action sequence is probably never easy. But from the sounds of it, the Birds of Prey cast faced some pretty unique challenges during one intense fight scene. That led to what Jurnee Smollett-Bell jokingly called an "inhumane" shoot -- and the grueling days on set left her no choice but to chug energy drinks.

One of Bird of Prey’s most notable scenes features all of the film’s central characters coming together for the first time to battle their foes in a funhouse. In an exclusive interview with CinemaBlend's Sean O'Connell, Birds of Prey cast members Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell opened up about the perils of filming that intense moment. And Jurnee Smollett-Bell got real about what life was like on set:

Well, that sequence was very inhumane. We’re not gonna tell you a lie. It wasn’t pretty. We were in pain.

The actress, who plays Black Canary in the film, told CinemaBlend that her grueling days on the Birds of Prey set were even enough to change her mind about energy drinks:

In between takes, I was definitely downing some high ball energy drinks… I never drank energy drinks prior to this, and I was the person that was like, 'Don’t do it, Jocqui,' my younger brother. Man. That scene made me a believer.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s co-stars, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosie Perez, were quick to back up her claims about becoming a temporary caffeine junkie. The actresses, who play Huntress and Renee Montoya, also confirmed that the funhouse sequence was particularly difficult to shoot. Mary Elizabeth Winstead explained that they spent months training and learning choreography for their Birds of Prey fight sequences, but that the film’s sets weren’t built until much later. That meant the actresses had to get used to performing their stunts on set pieces, like a rotating carousel -- and that proved to be a huge challenge. Take a look at what they had to say below:

Their commitment to getting scenes like that just right was crucial in making Birds of Prey work. And the actresses weren’t the only ones focused on nailing all the details. The film’s director, Cathy Yan, revealed that she recruited the experts behind John Wick’s incredible action sequences to help her ensure that Birds of Prey was as thrilling as possible. All the hard work was not for nothing, if its Rotten Tomatoes scores are any indication. Critics have praised the film’s fight scenes as “inventive” and “phenomenal,” and noted the overall energy as a highlight. So if nothing else, Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s newfound love of energy drinks paid off.

Birds of Prey is playing in theaters everywhere.

Katherine Webb