Birds of Prey cast on fight choreography: ‘Nothing was easy’

Birds of Prey Jurnee Smollett-Bell Mary Elizabeth Winstead Rosie Perez

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is now in theaters, and so far it has earned $4 million from Thursday evening preview. The film features the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and joining her are Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Nerd Reactor chatted with the cast about the tough training, favorite characters, and more.

Nerd Reactor: You get to kick ass and you do kick ass. What was the training like?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Great. Tough. Hard.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: Brutal but awesome. It’s necessary. When you’re playing characters as ferocious as these characters, you gotta throw your body into it. We all committed 100% and it was thrilling to be able to walk away from the project feeling like, “Yeah I felt incredibly strong afterward.”

Nerd Reactor: Were there any stunts that went kind of, “Oh, no, I injured myself,” or you’re like, “I got out of this pretty easily.”

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: Oh, nothing was easy.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: It was a real athletic experience. We’re all in physical therapy. We’re all in massages. We were all in Epsom salt baths.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: On set!

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Ice packs constantly. So it was all about maintenance, trying to keep your injuries from being so bad so that you can just keep going.

Nerd Reactor: At what point did you look at the film and felt like a badass in the film?

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: We didn’t really see it.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I got to see a playback of the slide bit. I got to see that, which was really cool, because that was an exhilarating thing to get to do and run behind the monitor and go like, “Oh my god, it worked.”

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: Yeah, actually. Yeah, they would show us playback sometimes. Yeah, I saw the playback of the kick of the door to the dude’s head. We were trying to get the camera lined up right. I did see that that was cool.

Nerd Reactor: Who’s your favorite character the movie?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I, in watching the movie, really fell in love with Black Canary because she is sort of the moral compass. Well, both she and Renee are the moral compass of the movie. But I was sort of drawn to Black Canary, the character of her and her reluctance to be a hero and sort of how she’s got this power inside of her that she’s afraid of. And I think that a lot of us can relate to that, sort of hiding our shine in a way because we’re afraid of who we really are. And I think that was an inspiring thing to get to see on screen.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: I’ll send you the check.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: [laughs]

Rosie Perez: I will concur when I watched it. You know, I love Harley Quinn. Lovable psychopath. So that’s without question, but I really loved what Jurnee did, and I was very, very moved.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell: I love you ladies. For me, honestly, this whole experience was just unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced. And I think being able to work alongside these women – as you can tell, it’s a lovefest – we’re all going to get married after, right? [laughs] The opportunity to tell this story of all these different complex women, there’s something in each of these women that I look to and I’m so blown away by. I’m blown away when I see the scene of Huntress coming down the freakin’ slide and Renee, the way she played her. She’s so fierce and she’s so unapologetic. For me, I love that the story encompasses so many different kinds of women who are flawed and struggling and seeking emancipation and failing at it and making really bad choices and just sucking at life, you know? And so there are different things that I love about all of them. I’m incredibly proud that we made this film together.

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John Nguyen
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