Birds Of Prey Director Cathy Yan On The Advice That Wonder Woman Director Patty Jenkins Gave Her

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) may be so very close to premiering. With it, this marks director Cathy Yan’s first major motion picture. Yan, who made her film making debut with 2018’s ensemble comedy Dead Pigs, definitely went from new indie darling to major motion picture in one terrifying leap.

Talking with Variety, Yan talked about how she got to Birds of Prey and the advice Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins gave her.

Apparently, she and Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson grabbed coffee when the idea of Yan directing.

“We were just chatting, and at the very end, she talked to me about “Birds” and I was like, “Well, that sounds like all the director has to do is just, you know, direct the script — it’s a great concept.” And she was like, “Well, how about you?” It took me aback, because I didn’t really think that I could do something like that — or be in the conversation for that.”

Director Patty Jenkins met Yan while she was doing prep and gave her some great advice, according to Yan.

“I remember being very concerned about, like, I’ve never done this before. I actually called up [“Wonder Woman” director] Patty Jenkins during prep and I’m like, “What am I doing?” [Laughs] 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.”

As for making her Gotham then the grim and gritty version that Batman, Yan said.

“I knew I wanted to create a different type of Gotham, through Harley’s eyes, that we hadn’t really seen before. 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.”

Yan also commented on what it will take to get more female talent behind the camera.

“I also think that there’s a lot more to be done. It starts very, very early. I went to NYU film school and more than half of my grade was female. The desire to be directors is there. So what happens? It’s not enough to say we’ve got four women directing blockbuster movies. We have to make sure there’s a sustainable flow of new talent, too.”

Birds of Prey will be released on Friday, Feb. 7.

Bec Heim