Star Margot Robbie revealed the (very long) title of the next Harley Quinn movie on Tuesday
As if it didn't already require a cork board and a spool of red string to keep track of all of the comic book characters, storylines, and intellectual property being mined for sequels and spin-offs, Warner Brothers has confirmed that the equally unnecessarily excessive title for the Harley Quinn-centric film will be Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Margot Robbie, who plays the titular Quinn, revealed the title by posting a photo of the script for the film on Instagram yesterday.
The character Harley Quinn first appeared on an episode of "Batman: The Animated Series" in 1993, and has more recently grown into a fan favorite with a dedicated comic series. Robbie's Quinn was considered the standout of 2016's Suicide Squad, which was hailed by critics as "so-so," "bad," and "the kind of torment you can wish on your worst enemy," so, naturally, there are at least four additional "Suicide" brand films in the works. In fact, the "frat boy's idea of what a feminist action heroine might look like" was deemed such a favorite that Warner Brothers and DC are making it the focus of their lineup, pushing back production on Suicide Squad 2 until next year in order to release Birds of Prey first. Despite the general lack of love from critics, fans of the source material remain ardent in their willingness to follow their favorite characters from the page to the screen.
Also on the docket for the Suicide Squad corner of DC Films is Gotham City Sirens, which will center on Harley Quinn and DC's other well-known female villains Catwoman and Poison Ivy, an additional stand-alone film for Quinn, and the untitled Harley Quinn/Joker "rom-com." Yes. Seriously.
It is unclear exactly how, if at all, Jared Leto's joker will fit into "Birds of Prey," though fans will surely hope that the "emancipation" in the title will reflect the couple's once-and-for-all breakup. Story details are scarce, but The Hollywood Reporter reports that the film will feature Quinn and "a girl gang of friends [who] take on a bad guy." Ewan McGregor will play villain Black Mask, and will be joined by Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress.
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) will be directed by Cathy Yan, a journalist-turned-filmmaker with only one independent credit under her director's belt. Yan reportedly got the job over more established filmmakers due to an "exceptional" presentation and Robbie's insistence on a female director. She will join Patty Jenkins ("Wonder Woman") and Ava DuVernay (the upcoming "The New Gods") as one of the few female directors (and the only Asian female director) given purview over a big budget superhero film.
Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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