Director Cathy Yan on why Birds of Prey is rated R

Birds of Prey Set with cathy yan, margot robbie and rosie perez

Photo by Claudette Barius/DC Comics

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is coming to theaters early February, and it’s going to be filled with lots of action and R-rated goodness. Director Cathy Yan and the cast were able to chat some more about the film during the Harleywood event on Hollywood and Highland.

“She’s one of the dopest street fighters in the DC universe,” Jurnee Smollett-Bell tells Nerd Reactor about her character, Black Canary. “I trained for around five months total. We trained a few months before we started shooting. And then during the shooting, I worked out five days a week. I changed my diet just to become as strong as I could. But at 87Eleven, the stunt team really kicked our butts. They really wanted us to be able to do everything ourselves. And Kathy had very ambitious ways of shooting it like runners on a carousel.”

Birds of Prey is continuing the trend of Warner Bros. doing live-action R-rated DC films, with Joker being the first. Screenwriter Christina Hodson goes from Bumblebee, a coming-of-age story involving Transformers, to a darker DC film. She talks about how the R rating was more freeing.

“I went off,” Hodson tells Nerd Reactor about whether she had any reservations. “I just got to do whatever I wanted to do and not worry about the writing, which was really, really fun. And they were very supportive of it. I got to have some fun with the languages, as you can probably tell, but also with the action. We did some really fun stuff in the action that you can’t do in a PG-13 movie.”

Ella Jay Basco plays Cassandra Cain in the film, and she got to say a lot of curse words in the film.

“It was fun because I’m never allowed to do it anywhere else,” Basco said. “To pretend and to play with that was fun.”

“I mean, it stems from her character,” Yan added. “I think Cassandra Cain in our movie is this street kid who’s tough and out on her own and pickpocketing, so that’s kind of her tough exterior.

“So much of the movie is through Harley’s perspective,” Yan said. “Harley is so unabashed and cuckoo and she’s both this Manic Pixie Angel and a violent force of nature. To be able to encapsulate all sides of Harley, it just made sense.”

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) hits theaters on February 7, 2020.

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John Nguyen
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