The R-rated “Logan,” “Joker,” and “Deadpool” were all big successes, but PG-13 remains the default target rating of most comic book movies and studios are still likely to do blockbusters with less restrictive ratings in order to sell more tickets worldwide.
With the upcoming “Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn)”, it wasn’t clear when it was announced which path the filmmakers might take. “Suicide Squad” had been PG-13, and there’s the obvious desire to appeal to a young female audience with the film, on the other hand the material is something that would creatively thrive in an R-rated arena.
Ultimately they went with an R, and now the film’s director Cathy Yan has revealed to CinemaBlend that getting that harder rating didn’t prove to be much of a problem behind-the-scenes:
“I honestly don’t think [it was a problem] as much as anyone would think. It was never really a conversation; not a big deal.”
Appearing at an event in LA, Yan explains the harder approach was a part of the initial concept for the project and was built in from the very beginning and pitched as part of the package alongside its star/producer Margot Robbie:
“Margot always pitched it as such and she really wanted to do it that way. I think it stems from Harley Quinn herself and her personality and that she is just so raw and unabashed. And thankfully that’s the rating that we have.
The women are unabashedly themselves and very unapologetic in the movie. It was very liberating to have the jokes that we wanted to have and (to) show (the characters) for who they are.”
Robbie herself tells Variety: “Harley’s not really someone to hold back. The R-rating really allowed us to take it to the next level with fight scenes.”
Co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead adds: “I think it’s totally uninhibited in every way. That’s what it felt like shooting it. We got to do whatever we wanted. We got to improv. We’re throwing around curse words.”
The same event also saw two of the film’s stars seemingly confirming a rumor – that the film’s villains Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) and Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) are a gay couple in the film. Messina gave McGregor a kiss as Variety asked them outright if their characters are a gay couple.
McGregor said: “It’s very complicated. Their relationship is very much based…there’s a want and a need in there for sure”. Messina added: “There’s like a real love of anarchy” and started getting lost in his answer when McGregor interjected and said a more succinct: “More than likely, yes” and both actors laughed. McGregor went on to praise the filming: “It was incredibly bonkers to shoot, every take was like a new experience.”
Co-star Jurnee Smollett-Bell tells IGN that it was the playable Black Canary character in the “Injustice 2” video game that inspired her trademark sonic scream in the film:
“I drew a lot of inspiration for the Canary Cry from the Black Canary in Injustice 2. Even physically. For me, I really wanted to make it primal… It’s not something she uses, it’s something she’s trying to hide. So to get to that point, she has to rev herself up. It’s such a guttural point and a guttural place.”
“Birds of Prey” is scheduled to hit cinemas next Friday, February 7th.