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‘Birds of Prey’: Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell Snag Superhero Roles in Cathy Yan’s DCEU Film

The pair will star as Huntress and Black Canary in the Margot Robbie-starring comic book spinoff.


Looks like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is getting some cool new friends. Deadline reports that Cathy Yan’s upcoming DCEU film, “Birds of Prey,” has cast Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress and Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary in the “girl gang” superhero feature.

There’s no word yet just which iteration of the flying superheroes will hit the big screen, but Variety shares that “there are several versions of Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli, throughout DC comics, but the ‘Birds of Prey’ version is a former mafia princess who was devastated at a young age when her family was killed in a mob hit, turning her into a vigilante and eventually leading her to join the Birds of Prey team. Black Canary, aka Dinah Lance, is a good-natured and idealistic streetfighter in the comics.”

Deadline also notes that the role of Gotham City detective Rene Montoya has yet to be decided, but it’s currently a battle between “One Day at a Time” star Justina Machado and “Vida” breakout Roberta Colindrez.

Read More: Margot Robbie on Why Cathy Yan Was Her Choice to Direct the Harley Quinn ‘Girl Gang Film’

While the film’s plotline has been kept under wraps, Variety adds that, “in the film, the team will be fighting a Gotham crime lord who has yet to be unveiled.”

Yan is the first Asian woman to oversee a superhero epic, and only the third woman ever to direct for DC (Patty Jenkins has the “Wonder Woman” series, while Ava DuVernay will helm “The New Gods”). Earlier this year, Robbie, who is also set to produce the film, told IndieWire why she wanted Yan for the feature.

“Well, it’s a female girl gang film,” Robbie said. “Historically, female filmmakers aren’t given the same opportunities, and we all need to be making conscious efforts to even out those statistics. But beyond that, there was going to be so many integral female characters in this story, in the Harley Quinn one, the girl gang film, that I wanted a truly female point of view and perspective on telling that story.”

Both Winstead and Smollett-Bell have been working in the industry since they were just children. Winstead is best known for her work in cult classics like “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Sky High,” along with more recent breakout turns in the “Fargo” series and “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Smollett-Bell is best known for her recent starring roles on major TV shows like “True Blood” and “Underground,” though she started in the industry with shows like “Full House” and “Hanging With Mr. Cooper” and broke out in Kasi Lemmons’ acclaimed drama “Eve’s Bayou.”

“Birds of Prey” will open on February 7, 2020.

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