Cathy Yan made history as the first woman of color to direct a major superhero film when she took over the reins of the Warner Bros. production Birds of Prey. During a recent interview with, Yan revealed the one scene in the R-rated film that she had to actively fight to keep, when the main villain Roman Sionis mistakes a random woman's laughter inside his club as being directed at him, and forces the woman to strip in front of everyone as payback.
"I'll be honest: We had to fight to keep that scene because it was uncomfortable. It was risky, and we had to fight to keep it at all. There are cuts of the movie without it. I think it's a huge turning point for Roman; it's a huge turning point for Canary, and the way that we shot it was hopefully not about the sexual violence upon the woman. It was more about Roman, what he's capable of and Canary seeing him for who he really is for the first time. Now, she can fully cut herself off from him, and I thought it was a really important scene. So, we fought for it."
The scene is the first time that viewers, who had so far seen Sionis in his element as a powerful Gotham mob boss, got to see the character reveal a chink in his armor, which is his fear of not being respected by those around him. The woman's laughter triggers this complex, and Sionis goes way over the top in exacting his revenge, mirroring his final act of turning the city into a war zone in order to ensure Harley and her cohorts don't thwart his will in keeping the Bertinelli diamond out of his grasp.
As Cathy Yan mentioned, the scene was also a catalyst for Dinah Lance to walk away from Sionis's employ and strike out on her own, which paved the way for her joining the Birds of Prey. But as important as the scene was, it was also hard to stomach for many audience members, as the woman, who is clearly terrified, is forced out of her dress in front of everyone else at the club.
The scene is a sharp departure from the rest of the film, which seems to go out of its way to emphasize a consequence-free air to the violence surrounding Harley and the other heroines. Harley Quinn herself is shot at and bombed with no seeming impact on her well being. Henchmen are brutally injured for laughs in a manner reminiscent of Deadpool, and the tragedies surrounding the various superheroines are only fleetingly touched on.
The disappointing box office results for the film mean the chances for any potential sequels are pretty close to zero. But Harley herself will next be seen in the sequel to Suicide Squad, which has been directed by James Gunn and is scheduled to be released on August 6, 2021. This comes from The Hollywood Reporter.