“Birds of Prey,” featuring Margot Robbie’s return as the DC Comics antiheroine Harley Quinn, is only just hitting theaters — but director Cathy Yan is already thinking about a possible follow-up.
“I would love to see Poison Ivy and I would certainly love to see the relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy,” Yan told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven. That’d be perfect, given that Harley Quinn currently headlines her own animated show on the DC Universe streaming app featuring Poison Ivy — who does not show up in “Birds of Prey” — as her best friend and partner in crime.
Or will we first see a sequel to “Birds of Prey,” which follows Robbie’s Quinn as Joker’s ex-girlfriend who joins forces with other badass women to challenge a clutch of villains led by Ewan McGregor’s Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask? “I don’t know — I think people aren’t ready to let go of Harley Quinn quite yet and you know, Margot I don’t think is ready to let go of Harley Quinn yet either, so… hopefully.”
Yan said she was immediately on board when she read Christina Hodson’s script, especially after audiences “had fallen in love with Harley” in 2016’s “Suicide Squad.” “I remember reading it and being like, ‘We really doing this? They’re going to do this?'” Yan said.
“It just had such humor and such a spirit to it,” Yan said, who also embraced that Robbie would take center stage. “It was really nice to feel like this is gonna be her movie — this is gonna be an opportunity to explore the character more, to find more depth with her, hopefully to show vulnerable sides of her so that was all like really exciting to me. And I think it had me at the fantasy dance sequence.”
And more vulnerable Harley is. In “Birds of Prey,” we follow Harley post-break up from The Joker, which leaves her trying to make a name for herself in Gotham. But, as it turns out, Harley has made many enemies, and there are a lot of people who want to see her dead. The film also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Caine.
“I loved it when all of them came together,” Yan said. “It’s just fun to see the the chemistry between all of them and there’s plenty of improv as well and I always love that. There’s improv throughout all the scenes — that’s just the way that I like to work, giving the actors a little bit more freedom to ad lib.”
Yan, whose only previous feature was 2018’s Zazie Beetz-led indie “Dead Pigs,” recognized the challenge of getting the film’s hyper-violent action scenes just right. For reference, she looked at the “John Wick” films, “The Raid” movies and the work of Jackie Chan. The “Birds of Prey” team actually worked with action design company 87eleven, founded by “Deadpool 2” director David Leitch and Chad Strahelski, to perfect the stunts.
“I was just looking at all the different ways that we could shoot action and what the action could be and I really wanted to showcase the physicality of the women and I really wanted to make it feel practical,” Yan said, explaining why she avoided CG where she could. “Generally, I like things to be very practical and less effects-heavy if we can get away with it and so that was the impetus for the type of action… What I really wanted to showcase was these women actually kicking ass in a real way.”
The actresses trained for “months and months” ahead of production, Yan said, and were in “tip-top shape” while doing the majority of their own stunts.
“Birds of Prey” hits theaters on Friday.
Watch the full interview above.