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Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead To Play Black Canary and Huntress in 'Birds Of Prey'

By Brian Richards | DC Movies | September 26, 2018 |

By Brian Richards | DC Movies | September 26, 2018 |


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Last week, it was announced that Warner Bros. was auditioning a vast and diverse group of actresses for its upcoming film Birds Of Prey, which will be directed by Cathy Yan, produced by Margot Robbie (a.k.a. Dr. Harleen ‘Harley Quinn’ Quinzell from the Oscar-winning and much-beloved-by-critics Suicide Squad), and will be the next entry in the DC Cinematic Universe right after Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot and Chris “Still remains the best Chris out of all the Chrises, even though he does dress like James Spader in Pretty In Pink if he went on to become an uncool dad living in the suburbs” Pine.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Beyond The Lights), Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother, the ‘USS Callister’ episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror), Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures, part-time Archandroid/Electric Lady), Margaret Qually (The Nice Guys, HBO’s The Leftovers), Jurnee Smollett-Bell (The Great Debaters, WGN’s Underground), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 10 Cloverfield Lane) auditioned for the roles of Dinah Laurel Lance a.k.a. ‘Black Canary,’ a martial-arts expert/street-fighting vigilante/sometime rock musician whose ‘Canary Cry’ is an ear-splitting sonic scream capable of destroying nearly anyone or anything in its path, and Helena Bertinelli a.k.a. ‘Huntress,’ daughter of a powerful gangster who uses her own gymnastics and martial-arts skills to take down other crime families after her own parents are murdered. Justina Machado (Netflix’s One Day At A Time) was said to be auditioning for the role of Renee Montoya, a detective with the Gotham City Police Department.

Earlier this afternoon, it was announced that the decision has been made and that Smollett-Bell and Winstead have been cast in the roles of Black Canary and Huntress. From Variety:

Sources tell Variety that Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee Smollett-Bell have been tapped to join Robbie in the comic-book spinoff, with Winstead playing Huntress and Smollett-Bell portraying Black Canary.

Robbie is reprising her role as Quinn, which she first unveiled in 2016’s “Suicide Squad,” and is also on board to produce with Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkeless.

In the film, the team will fight a Gotham crime lord who has yet to be unveiled.

There are still other crucial roles to cast for Birds Of Prey, including Montoya, Cassandra Cain (daughter of two legendary assassins who deprived her of the ability to read or speak as part of her training and conditioning to follow in their footsteps and become a master assassin herself, only to use her skills to become Batgirl), and the as-yet-identified crime lord who will act as the Big Bad in the film. Whether Barbara Gordon will also appear in Birds Of Prey, as either Batgirl or Oracle, remains unknown for now.

This will not be the first time that the Birds of Prey have appeared onscreen. Other than their appearances in the DC Animated Universe on Justice League Unlimited (Black Canary was voiced by Morena Baccarin, who would go on to portray Dr. Leslie ‘Lee’ Tompkins on Gotham, which airs its final season next year, and Huntress was voiced by Amy Acker, who has starred and continues to star in many a television show that makes genre fans sit up and take notice), as well as on Batman: The Brave And The Bold (where Black Canary and Huntress were voiced by Grey DeLisle and Tara Strong), they also appeared in the short-lived television series Birds Of Prey on The WB back in 2002, starring Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon a.k.a. ‘Oracle,’ Ashley Scott as Huntress, Rachel Skarsten as Black Canary, Mia Sara as Harley Quinn, and Shemar Moore as some random detective who was there to provide will-they-or-won’t-they sexual tension with Huntress.

While there were many fans on Twitter and elsewhere on social media cheering and doing many a cartwheel over this casting news, there of course remains many a comic-book fan and many a fuckboy who thinks of himself as a comic-book fan who are predictably complaining a about the fact that WB/DC just had to cast an actress who doesn’t look anything like Black Canary to play her and how they screwed up by not casting Katheryn Winnick (who plays ‘Lagertha’ on the History Channel series Vikings and who will appear on the upcoming Netflix series Wu Assassins) to play her instead, especially since she has appeared in many a fan-casting session on social media and people have been begging for Winnick to play Black Canary as much as they’ve been begging for Charlie Hunnam to join the DCEU and play Green Arrow.

In short, Smollett-Bell is going to get the same reception from fans and racist trolls-disguised-as-fans that Zazie Beetz did when she won the role of Domino in Deadpool 2, or when Zendaya was cast as MJ a.k.a “Here’s our version of Mary-Jane Watson but for some reason, we here at Marvel are going to walk on eggshells and not actually have her be Mary-Jane for some wack-ass reason’ in Spider-Man: Homecoming, or when Candice Patton was cast as Iris West on The Flash on The CW, or when Kiersey Clemons was cast to play Iris West in the upcoming film adaptation of The Flash, in that many of them will rant and complain about the fact that a Black woman is playing a comic-book character that they love to masturbate to in the bathroom at their grandmama’s house when she’s asleep or watching her stories, and WB/DC’s need to be all SJW about it and force diversity in their comic-book movies is getting in the way of that.

And to those fans and racist trolls-disguised-as-fans who are unhappy with this casting and any other casting news for any other comic-book movie that doesn’t fit their demands and expectations, I just have this to say…

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Birds Of Prey opens in theaters on February 7, 2020.




Brian Richards is a Staff Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.



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