Rosie Perez
Kathy Hutchins /

In a surprise move, Rosie Perez has landed the role of Renee Montoya in ‘Birds of Prey’.  She joins Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress.  The female champions will defend a Gotham City that is not currently defended by Batman.  Their mission, reportedly, is to protect teenager Cassandra Cain from vicious crime boss Black Mask.  Warner Brothers was reportedly eyeing Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who stars as Disney’s ‘Andi Mack’ for the role of Cassandra, a character that has, in the comics, operated as Batgirl, while they were rumored to be courting Ewan McGregor or Sharlto Copley for Black Mask.

It was previously reported that Warner Brothers was eyeing ‘One Day at a Time’ star Justina Machado and ‘I Love Dick”s Roberta Colindrez for this role, so this is the first casting that counters that early buzz, as Smollett-Bell and Winstead were also reported to be under consideration at the same time.

Perez is a familiar face, having been nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the 1993 Peter Weir film ‘Fearless’.  She started her career as a choreographer in Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’ (she can be seen dancing during the opening credits) and ‘In Living Color’ (she choreographed the Fly Girls, including an unknown Jennifer Lopez).  She has also lent her voice to animated projects such as ‘Dora the Explorer’, ‘Go, Diego! Go!’, ‘The Road to El Dorado’, ‘The Cleveland Show’ and ‘Elena of Avalor’.  She most recently starred on the NBC musical drama ‘Rise’.

Renee Montoya, like Harley Quinn, was an original character created for ‘Batman: The Animated Series’.  And just like Harley, the character proved popular enough that DC Comics imported her to the comics.  A similar thing happened with Metropolis police detective Maggie Sawyer, introduced on ‘Superman: The Animated Series’.  For whatever reason, once Montoya and Sawyer were introduced in the comics, both were revealed to be lesbians.

Montoya quit the Gotham City police force, after becoming disgusted with the corruption she found within.  This ex-cop then teamed up with the conspiracy theorist The Question during the ’52’ series and after his death, she became the new Question.  She has also been romantically involved with Kate Kane, who later became Batwoman and developed a drinking problem.

Both Maggie (played by Floriana Lima) and Batwoman (Ruby Rose) are part of the TV “Arrowverse” on The CW.

How much of this will make it into the ‘Birds of Prey’ movie?  That remains to be seen.  It is believed that in the film, rather than being a traditional police detective, Montoya will be a forensics expert.

Cathy Yan is directing this film, with a script by Christina Hodson.

Perez will next be seen in political thriller ‘The Last Thing He Wanted’ opposite Anne Hatheway.

Source: The Wrap