In the days leading up to its release, Birds of Prey was touted as a trailblazing piece of feminist cinema. A superhero film made by women for women. Rosie Perez played the role of Renee Montoya in the movie. In an interview with UPROXX, the actress admitted that while she would want to be involved in a possible sequel, there was one particular part of the narrative of Birds of Prey that rubbed her the wrong way.
"I mean, if [the sequel] happens, sure. When you said that, the first thing that came to my mind was, "Oh my God, I have to lose weight and get in shape again." Hopefully, there won't be any ageist type of jokes in it as well. Having me called "grandma." That was the only thing, I was like, "Really guys? Really?" I was like, "Would you have the nerve to say that to Helen Mirren, in her 50 million action movies?"... It is what it is, but you have to take the chance, be brave enough to call it out and be ready for the consequences. I have been and I will be."
Interestingly, the fact that the character of Renee Montoya was being played by an older woman was touted as part of the feminist appeal of Birds of Prey. In the comics, the character of Montoya is portrayed as a young police officer, who moonlights as the anti-hero Question. Some comics purists revolted against the idea of Montoya being portrayed as a middle-aged woman in the Birds of Prey movie.
They were not the only ones to take issue with the casting of Rosie Perez. In an interview given in the days following the release of Birds of Prey, Perez recalled how the studio wanted to hire someone younger for the role of Montoya, and it was director Cathy Yan who rallied by her side.
"Cathy Yan called me up and she was very honest with me. She said that the studio was not really keen on casting me, and that it was because of my age. I think that they were worried about presenting a more mature Renee Montoya, but also, I think they would say were worried about the physicality that was needed to pull it off. But she said, 'I want you and if you're ready to fight, I'm ready to fight.' She explained to me the point of view of the movie was of the emancipation of women, and forming an all girls gang. I said, 'I am in, this is my role, you could tell them I said that,' and she did. I went to Warner Brothers and met with everybody and they said, 'you know what, we were wrong. The role is yours.'"
Hopefully, Perez's grievances will be addressed if a Birds of Prey sequel does finally get greenlit, and Renee Montoya returns to kick more ass with the rest of her superheroine team. This news comes to us from Uproxx.