How Birds of Prey Stands Out in DC's Post-Wonder Woman World

Producer Sue Kroll at Birds of Prey’s world premiere in London, England.
Producer Sue Kroll at Birds of Prey’s world premiere in London, England.
Image: Warner Bros.

Margot Robbie has been hoping to get a movie like Birds of Prey on screen for years—and this Friday, that dream will finally be achieved. But in the time since Birds of Prey first became an idea over at DC, the superhero cinema landscape has slowly but surely begun to change. From Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel, female-led superheroics are ascendant. So what can the Birds bring to the table?

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“So, it was kind of kicking around for a little while, but a lot of projects do that. I don’t think it’s anything deliberate,” Birds of Prey co-producer Sue Kroll told io9 recently at a press junket in London, England. “But I do think, at a certain point in time, the idea of a girl gang movie—all these women coming together —it suddenly was like, time for people to get really excited about it. After Wonder Woman, and DC decided they’d be making filmmaker-driven movies, you know, singular vision stand-alone projects. All those kind of variables come into play. And then the right time comes to make a movie—so, I think that’s just part of it. Timing and opportunity.”

But for as long as it’s taken Birds of Prey to hit the big screen, Kroll believes it is still carving out a unique space for itself in an era where comic book diversity at the box office, in front of and behind the camera, is gaining some much-needed traction.

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“I really do think this was effortlessly female-lead. It wasn’t like, ‘Yeah! Women!’ It’s endemic to the story we’re telling, the way we’re telling it,” Kroll continued. “Just to have a female director, female producer, female costumer...it just starts to shade your perspective because you’re a woman, you know? The idea here is to tell a story about a group of women, coming together, helping each other, but not hitting people over the head with it. To have a good time. But I think that having female perspectives through all these various areas—writing, costume design, sets, the circumstances which they’re trying to cope—it’s informed by a female point-of-view because we’re all women. So it’s much more effortless.”

For all of Bird of Prey’s female-led storytelling however, Kroll believes that first and foremost the film’s appeal stretches beyond the idea that it’s simply for a female audience.

“The fact that you could have a broad-based DC superhero movie about a group of women coming together that’s not just for women, but everybody—that’s really what we wanted,” she added. “And I really like, even watching it again cause I’ve seen it like, a hundred times...I’m proud that it feels so effortless in that way, you know? We’re just telling these stories about an interesting collection of women. That was really the goal. Let’s make a movie about women, not just for women. But with female perspective. I think it works.”

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Trying to pitch an action movie that just so happened to star a team of women was initially a tough sell, Kroll noted. “It was really important to us we were making a movie for DC fans, for women who might also enjoy these—I know, I worked on Wonder Woman and I remember people telling me, ‘Only women are going to go see that’—that shouldn’t be the case, and, but it certainly wasn’t the case. Especially early on,” she told us. “But [an action film] is not just [for] the males, women love action, too. And I think with these comic book movies there’s a responsibility to the fanbase, and whoever goes, to create a really visual, heightened world—and Harley’s world really is very heightened. It’s extreme in every which way.”

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Kroll continued, “So, to me, those action sequences don’t just feel—‘Oh, here’s an action sequence.’ It’s narratively driven, it drives the story, it’s purposeful, it’s fun, it’s audacious, it’s crazy. So, we always wanted to have something that feels expansive, that has that scope, and we were lucky the studio supported that perspective and gave us the resources to do it. Because it does feel like it will have that broader appeal as a result of it.”

Birds of Prey hits theaters this Friday, February 7—stay tuned to io9 to hear more from Kroll and the cast of the movie soon!

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

angriergeek
Angrier Geek

I don’t know if it’s better or worse that Arrow—-which clearly set up their own Birds of Prey (they even named a watchtower)—-never got to fully realize it, because it probably would have been immediately taken from them just like Suicide Squad. And probably for this movie.