Warner Bros. and DC’s upcoming Birds of Prey is an ensemble piece with Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn serving as the center of attention. But it’s important to remember that Harley is a little deranged, and since this movie is being told from her perspective, it’s probably not wise to take everything you see as the gospel truth.
During a visit to the set of Birds of Prey, /Film’s Peter Sciretta and a group of other journalists spoke with director Cathy Yan and producer Sue Kroll about Harley as an unreliable narrator, the narrative and aesthetic influences on the movie, and more.
In their discussion with Yan, the group confirmed that Harley Quinn is the narrator of the movie, and found out that movies like Akira Kurosawa’s classic Rashomon and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction – films that also touch on unreliable narrators – influenced this project. “[She] is the narrator and she’s definitely unreliable,” Yan said. “Which is part of the fun of the film.”
Yan also explained that films with unusual structures and shifting tones were key influences, citing Pulp Fiction and Rashomon:
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of influences on the film. I mean, the way that I sort of talked about the structure of the film is a bit like Pulp Fiction meets Rashomon. So it’s an unconventional structure. For me, there’s a lot of my favorite filmmakers that have influences on this film, so like Tarantino, obviously. The Professional for sure, especially the relationship between Harley and Cass. We actually have a few like, oh I guess I would say like odes to certain films in the movie. Watch out for that. And then also just – we also, visually, I think very much influenced by A Clockwork Orange as well. And that and like the Milk Bar. The Black Mask Club has a lot of that. The female figures, I’ve been kind of reinterpreting that. The Mod style, the ’70s era. We really tried to make this film look like nothing that you’ve seen from a superhero movie before. And really ground it in a reality and in some of the films that I’ve loved through the years, yeah.
In a separate discussion with Sue Kroll, the producer hinted that Harley’s twisted perspective will be a source of fun for the film and “where the spirit of the movie comes from”:
Well, we want you to be surprised, but what we can say is Harley obviously is very unique, right? Her point of view on the world is very specific. So imagine that you are looking at the world through her eyes and her rationale and reason. And that’s what we’ll be offering up to you. So it’s fun. I mean, that’s where the spirit of the movie comes from. But you get a lot more dimension to Harley now, because you’ve seen her in Suicide Squad but this is a movie where we really explore a lot more about her and I think you’ll be surprised.
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn hits theaters on February 7, 2020.
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