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What We Hope for in David Ayer's Reunion with Margot Robbie for 'Gotham City Sirens'

By Brian Richards | DC Movies | December 14, 2016 |

By Brian Richards | DC Movies | December 14, 2016 |

Shortly after the release of the flawed-but-still-entertaining Suicide Squad this past August, it was announced that Margot Robbie (who played Harley Quinn in the film) was interested in doing a film focused on Harley as well as other female villains and heroes from the DC Universe, such as Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and the Birds of Prey, which she would help produce through her production company.

Yesterday, it was announced that Robbie would be reunited with David Ayer, who wrote and directed Suicide Squad, and that he will now be directing the film, titled Gotham City Sirens.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

[David Ayer] will direct and produce the project with Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn, the part-time girlfriend of the Joker who is currently DC’s most popular female character. Robbie also is executive producing.

[Gotham City Sirens] was a recent comic series from DC that focused on the popular villainesses from Batman’s rogues gallery. Among them were Quinn; Catwoman, Batman’s sometime love interest; and Poison Ivy, who uses plants and their toxins to get what she wants.

Geneva Robertson-Dworet, a top female writer in the action sphere who also has penned scripts for the Tomb Raider remake and Warners’ own Sherlock Holmes 3, is writing the screenplay.

The heads of DC’s film arm, Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, also will be involved in a producorial role.

1) Harley Quinn was once known as Dr. Harleen Quinzell, a highly-decorated psychiatric intern working at Arkham Asylum whose many consultations with The Joker resulted in her falling in love with him. The Joker used her love and obsession with him for his own personal and sexual gain as she became Harley Quinn, his partner-in-crime and also her lover, before she finally severed ties with him and went her own way.

Catwoman is a highly-skilled professional thief named Selina Kyle, who uses her techniques in acrobatics, martial arts, manipulation, and seduction to assist her in her many, many, acts of thievery.

I know that none of that information should be expected in a brief press announcement for an upcoming comic-book film, but it’s good to remember that these two characters (who are known and loved by many fans) are more than just the men who they occasionally hook up with.

2) For those of you who saw Suicide Squad and responded to it like this once the end credits appeared onscreen, I can only imagine how many tables were flipped in anger with the announcement that Ayer would once again be in the director’s chair to helm Gotham City Sirens.. Not just because of so many people being left unsatisfied with his work on Suicide Squad, but also because this was an opportunity for the film to be directed by a woman.

And to see that opportunity squandered by Warner Bros./DC so they could stick with a familiar (White and male) face instead of hiring Ava DuVernay, Michelle MacLaren, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Lynne Ramsay, Jennifer Kent, Karyn Kusama, Sanaa Hamri, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Jennifer Lee, Julie Taymor, Julie Dash, Ana Lily Amirpour, Tanya Hamilton, Mary Harron, Catherine Hardwicke, Kasi Lemmons, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, the Wachowskis, and many other women who could do their thing in the director’s chair and do it well…it’s both frustrating and infuriating.

At this point, all we can do is hope for:

- David Ayer’s work on Gotham City Sirens to be worthy of our time and attention and to be more like his work on Training Day, Street Kings, and Fury and a lot less like…well, Sabotage (you remember Sabotage, right? Anyone? No? Well, there you go).

- Warner Bros. to take a damn hint after all of the negative reviews and attention they received for Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad and stay the fuck out of the editing room, as none of their unwanted interference proved to be of any use whatsoever. When the Ultimate Cut of Batman v. Superman proved to be a much better film than what we saw in theaters, and when allegations came out of a movie-trailer company being asked by Warner Bros. to put together the entire final cut of Suicide Squad, especially after you boast about how open and welcoming you are to directors and their visions for the films that they make, those were not good signs.

- The Gotham City Sirens casting directors to include some diversity in their casting of Poison Ivy and Catwoman, and for those non-White actresses to be given good material to work with. As happy as I was to see Tao Okamoto cast as Mercy Graves in Batman v. Superman and Karen Fukuhara cast as Katana in Suicide Squad, both the actresses and characters deserved much better than what they were given. (Especially when we’re deprived of seeing a live-action version of Mercy Graves who is just like this version of Mercy Graves)

- Warner Bros. to leave their writers and directors alone and let them do their work.

- And also for the Birds of Prey to still make an appearance in the film, as the last time they were given the live-action treatment, it looked like this:

And until the reviews are published and Gotham City Sirens is finally released in theaters, I’ll go back to crossing my fingers, lighting all of the sage and incense, and let RuPaul say this in closing:

good luck and don't fuck it up.gif

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