SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information that could be considered SPOILERS for ‘Birds of Prey’ so proceed with caution!
With ‘Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)’ set to arrive in theaters in just two weeks, more details are starting to emerge, including a surprising possible revelation about the movie’s villains. Ewan McGregor plays the picture’s main antagonist, Roman Sionis, a.k.a. Black Mask. Chris Messina portrays his henchman, the serial killer Victor Zsasz. But there may be more to their relationship than killing folks. It sounds as though they may be lovers.
When Variety asked about this point-blank, McGregor stumbled to find the right words:
“It’s very complicated. Their relationship is very much based in… there’s a ‘want’ and a ‘need’ in there, for sure.”
“There’s like a real love of anarchy.”
McGregor then stated:
“More than likely, yes.”
You can watch the interview below:
Here is the SPOILER part. Reportedly, in the second act of ‘Birds of Prey’, Zsasz is killed by Harley Quinn and her companions. This sends Sionis off the deep end and he goes “full Black Mask” helmet and all, vowing to kill the Birds in retaliation.
Whether that happens in the movie or not remains to be seen. But it sounds as though whatever their connection, any romantic feelings will be kept as subtext.
But not everyone is intrigued by this ambiguous presentation. Openly gay actor and TV host Billy Eichner (‘The Lion King’) retweeted the interview with the caption:
“Honestly just say they’re straight. Please. Enough with this have it both ways nonsense. IMAGINE HOW TIRED WE ARE.”
Via Digital Spy, his followers agreed, writing “I agree. It is 2020 and we still can’t say if something is gay or not,” and “Totally agree. Screw the subtext crap.”
There have been attempts to present gay characters in big franchise movies. ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ featured a lesbian kiss that was edited out in some countries. Director Joe Russo played a gay character in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ who was essentially a throw-away extra. Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ will feature a gay lead character (most likely Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos), but that character will be married with children, essentially neutering him.
So while the major studios stumble through, trying to figure out how to make LGBTQ characters work in the blockbuster context, we’re stuck with this kind of ambiguity. Should they even try or just stick to making all their characters straight?