'Birds of Prey' filmmaker Cathy Yan on the rise of female action directors originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Warner Bros. is set to launch "Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn" next Friday -- its third DC Comics-based film fronted by a female director, counting the as-yet-unreleased "Wonder Woman 1984."
Cathy Yan, who only has the small budget feature "Dead Pigs" under her belt, recalled to Variety she "never" thought she'd land the job.
"Birds of Prey" not only stars a predominantly female cast, led by Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, a Suicide Squad favorite, but was also produced by Robbie and written by a woman, Christina Hodson.
A friendly coffee with Yan led to Hodson suggesting she direct.
"[S]he was like, 'Well, how about you?' It took me aback, because I didn't really think that I could do something like that," she told Variety. On directing, the Asian American admitted, "I'd never seen anyone who looked like me do it."
Yan told Variety she reached out to Patty Jenkins, the director of both of WB's "Wonder Woman" movies, for advice.
"I'm like, 'What am I doing?' Yan recalled with a laugh. "She told me, 'You've got to remember that no one knows this movie as much as you. That's what makes you the director.' And that was really, really helpful."
"Birds of Prey" also stars Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rosie Perez, and shows Harley coming into her own after breaking up with the Joker.
Yan explained it was important for her film to have a different look from those set in Batman's backyard.
"I knew I wanted to create a different type of Gotham, through Harley’s eyes, that we hadn’t really seen before," Yan told Variety. "You know, Batman’s Gotham is very much those bold, high, art deco towers -- like downtown Manhattan. I was thinking this Gotham should feel different. It’s Harley Quinn’s world. It’s a little scrappier, it’s a little more outer borough. On top of that, I also wanted to make sure that it felt heightened and colorful. It’s gritty, but at the same time, people are having fun. People haven’t given up yet. It’s not a sad world where nothing works."
The fact that "Birds of Prey" and "Wonder Woman 1984," as well as Marvel's "Black Widow" and "The Eternals," feature female directors, is, "pretty freaking amazing," Yan said.
"I remember when I was just starting off being told, 'Actually, we've been looking for female directors, but there aren't that many that want to do action movies,'" she said. "I remember thinking, 'I do! I love action movies.' Women are capable of this."