The DC live-action universe has been on a steadily roll lately, producing a slew of critically acclaimed blockbusters following the disappointment performance of Justice League. The most recent release was Cathy Yan's Birds of Prey, which introduced a slew of femme fatales to team up with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. The R-rated DC blockbuster had a ton of thrilling action sequences, so how much did the cast train in order to take flight as the Birds of Prey?
The action in Birds of Prey is dizzying, and is sometimes shockingly violent. The movie's rating allowed director Cathy Yan to hold nothing back during fight sequences, enlisting help of 87eleven Action Design, a company founded by John Wick director Chad Stahelski. Each Bird of Prey was given her own unique fighting style, and it turns out that they trained for quite some time to pull it off. Shahaub Roudbari was one of the professionals helping to shape the movie's action, and recently spoke to the cast's hours logged. As he put it,
The work ethic of the actresses was mind blowing. They were training for two to three hours a day a few days a week. Of course, we have our stunt doubles for some extraordinary moments, but another big part of the doubles' job is to get the actors up to speed. That's what makes the John Wick movies and Atomic Blonde stand out is that the actors do a lot of the action themselves.
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (as it was rebranded) has a ton of action sequences that represent the film's strongest points-- especially that final funhouse fight against Black Mask's goons. The success of these fights is at least partly the cast did so much stunt work, which adds a sense of realism and stakes. And that's exactly what the stunt team appreciated from Birds of Prey's starring cast.
Shahaub Roudbari's comments come from his recent conversation with Business Insider, which did a deep dive into the action and stunt work in Birds of Prey. The action for the DC blockbuster was approached methodically, especially when it came to the titular team of femme fatales. Women would fight differently than male heroes, with each of the Birds of Prey having a distinctly different set of skills in combat.
The work Birds of Prey's cast and crew did for the action sequences really shone in the movie's final epic battle. Each of the Birds pitched in during the sequence, which went viral for moments like the passion of a hair tie. While Harley skated around and knocked out enemies, Huntress dispatched them in deadly ways. Meanwhile, Black Canary and Renee Montoya used their experience with street fighting to stay alive and protect Cassandra Cain.
Birds of Prey may have stumbled at the box office, but it continues to make money and was critically successful. And Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn will once again return to theaters in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, although she's apart of a much larger ensemble. We'll just have to see of the Birds of Prey and other denizens of Gotham City pop back up in a sequel or crossover movie.
Birds of Prey is still in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.