‘Birds of Prey’ Casts Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell In Key Roles
If you were a comic book reader in the mid-90s (or an obsessive viewer of The WB Network in 2002) you are very familiar with Birds of Prey, a Batman spinoff series featuring an all-female cast of superheroes. The core group in the comics, created by DC Comics editor Jordan Gorfinkel and writer Chuck Dixon, were Black Canary, Huntress, and Barbara Gordon — best known as Batgirl, though when the series started she was paralyzed and went by the hacker codename Oracle. The series was one of the most popular additions to the DC canon in the 1990s, and it eventually got that short-lived WB show.
UPDATE: That takes us to today, and the film version being developed by Warner Bros. for Margot Robbie and her Harley Quinn character first introduced in Suicide Squad. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has filled out two more members of Harley Quinn’s gang. 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been cast as the Huntress, and Black Canary, a character who has traditionally been depicted as white in the comics, will be played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell (WGN’s Underground).
The Hollywood Reporter says Warners is closing in on their casting for the rest of the main Birds of Prey roster. Interestingly, it looks like they’re focused on people of color for the Black Canary role:
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who starred in Belle and appeared in Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time, and Jurnee Smolett-Bell, who appeared on the critically acclaimed WGN series Underground and recently booked a lead in HBO’s Lovecraft Country, are in the mix for Black Canary. Hidden Figures star Janelle Monae was also said to be in the running, but it is unclear if she tested for the role … For the role of Huntress, Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Fargo) and Cristin Milioti (Black Mirror, How I Met Your Mother) have tested or read, sources say.
That’s a very intriguing list of talent; I love Mbatha-Raw in particular and the idea of her opposite Robbie in a superhero action movie sounds mighty appealing. Birds of Prey is supposed to start shooting in early 2019 and hits theaters February 7, 2020.
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