Cathy Yan fought to keep an “uncomfortable” scene involving Ewan McGregor in Birds of Prey.
In the comic book adaptation, the 49-year-old actor plays Gotham City crime lord Roman Sionis, who goes up against Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and her powerful gang of crime-fighting women as they try to take him down.
In one scene, Roman cruelly demeans and humiliates a woman named Erika at his nightclub, and Yan revealed that there was a lot of discussion between her, the producers and bosses at Warner Bros. over keeping the moment in the film.
“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,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that they had even cut it out at one stage.
However, she’s glad it was kept in because she believed it was important to help the character development of Roman and Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s vigilante Black Canary, who works in the crime lord’s nightclub.
“I think that a lot of people have been very impacted by that scene. 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,” Yan shared. “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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Yan heaped praise on leading lady Margot, recalling how she was blown away by her ability to fully encompass her character.
“She acts with her entire body in a way, which is really interesting. She changes the way that she moves depending on the character that she’s playing, yet she’s still able to switch it off and on,” she gushed. “She’s really incredible in that way.”
© Cover Media