Birds of Prey has wrapped up filming and is kneedeep in post-production. And we’re now hearing back about an interesting piece of the story.
It’s no question that the upcoming Birds of Prey film is Margot Robbie’s passion project and one woman self-celebration. After all, the film’s official title is Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). And the fact that the Birds of Prey comic book team never actually included Harley Quinn to begin with.
That said, it looks like it’s not just Harley who’s getting a change of look and feel. Robbie and her team have decided to give us LGBTQ fans a gift.
News is breaking that the upcoming film’s main antagonist, Black Mask, will be portrayed as gay. We Got This Covered was first to break the story and was told by “multiple sources” that the sexual tension between him and a fellow villain will be powerful. That said, in true Hollywood fashion, the character’s sexuality will not be outright stated or explored. Hopefully, the hint will be deliberate enough that it’s not another “you need to know beforehand to see it” situation.
As We Got This Covered wrote:
“Though [Black Mask’s] sexuality is never explicitly stated [in the film], multiple sources have told We Got This Covered that the sexual tension between him and fellow villain Victor Zsasz will be palpable and the way he acts in general makes it pretty clear that he’s gay.”
Unfortunately, this veiled attempt at representation is the status quo for Hollywood at the moment. The major reason being the need for blockbuster films to be accepted by and perform well in conservative regions like Middle America and China. With China becoming richer by the day, and censoring more and more LGBTQ content online and in movies, major blockbuster films have to keep LGBTQ content light or non-existent.
Even Western fans are becoming more hostile to calls for inclusion. Less than a month ago, one fan edited out all the women and male-on-male physical interaction like hugging out of Avengers: Endgame.
While Margot Robbie’s Birds of Prey is more of an indie film than a blockbuster movie, the character of Harley Quinn is a mainstream sensation. As such, this film is walking the line of being able to get away with presenting an LGBTQ character as a focus of the story and worrying about being censored or banned in other countries. So it seems that they’ve decided to walk the line with the character too by hinting at his sexuality but not outright saying it.
In addition, there’s also the issue of changing the character’s sexuality and representing LGBTQ people with a villain. Will this change be too far for DC fans? Will this character being a villain give him dimension or make him the old stereotype of villainizing gay men? We’ll see in time.
Will this change turn out to be the right call or a bad one? We’ll see in the future as Birds of Prey drops in US theaters on February 7, 2020.