While the marketing for ‘Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)’ has focused almost exclusively on Margot Robbie and her character Harley Quinn, this is a team-up film and is bringing several iconic DC Comics characters to the big screen for the first time– The Huntress, Gotham City police officer Renee Montoya, Cassandra Cain (who was Batgirl for a while), and Black Canary. Of these, Black Canary is the longest-running, having debuted in 1947’s ‘Flash Comics’ #86. A version of this character has been part of the legendary Justice Society and Justice League of America, and while she is often paired with Green Arrow, she holds the distinction, like Wonder Woman, of being “her own woman,” not a feminized version of a male character, like Supergirl, Batgirl, etc.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell is bringing Black Canary, a.k.a. Dinah Lance, to life in ‘Birds of Prey’ and she assures that her depiction is faithful to the comics, although the film finds her at a low point. In an interview with DC Universe’s ‘DC Daily’, she stated:
“She’s the Dinah Lance that we know and love from the comics, you know? This ferocious street fighter. When we meet Dinah in the film, though, she’s a singer in Roman’s Black Mask club, and she’s kind of disenfranchised and disconnected from the world. She doesn’t really want to have anything to do with crime fighting or being a good-doer, which is so against her nature because we know Dinah to be all heart. So it’s really about her accepting her gift and accepting her power and that’s what was so fascinating for me is to explore this woman who has such strength, but exploring someone who doesn’t want to own her power.”
RELATED: Set Photos Reveal Jurnee Smollett-Bell In Her Black Canary Costume From ‘Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn)’
‘Birds of Prey’ doesn’t just represent “Girl Power” on the screen. The film was written by Christina Hodson, and directed by Cathy Yan. Last year, Hodson discussed bringing characters to the big screen that may be unfamiliar to mainstream audiences:
“It’s always fun introducing audiences to a new character. It’s great doing a deep dive into all the different characters, doing my research on the characters collectively bit also individually and getting to know them a bit more, and then feeling free to go off-leash a little bit and do something new and different and bring them to screen in a way that felt right alongside Harley.”
Hodson previously penned the ‘Transformers’ spin-off ‘Bumblebee’ which featured a female protagonist, Charlie played by Hailee Steinfeld. And in what should be a vote of confidence, she has also been tapped by Warner Brothers to write the screenplays for ‘Batgirl’ and ‘The Flash’, so they must have been mighty impressed with her work on ‘Birds of Prey’.
If you want to see all of Smollett-Bell’s interview, click below:
‘Birds of Prey’ also stars Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Ewan McGregor as Black Mask, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress. It opens on February 7, 2020.