Female representation in superhero movies – both in front of and behind the camera – has thankfully begun to evolve in a positive direction in recent years. Patty Jenkins has been breaking the mold in a major way since 2017, directing both Wonder Woman and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984. Jenkins being behind the camera was an inspiring and pivotal moment for many people — including Cathy Yan, who directed fellow DC movie Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). In a recent profile of Jenkins in Vanity Fair, Yan spoke about how seeing Jenkins in her role helped her get over her insecurities and imposter syndrome with directing Birds of Prey.
“I had impostor syndrome, as I think many people do,” Yan explained. “I came from an indie world and I had a matter of months between my first feature premiering at Sundance and then running the ship on Birds of Prey. There was an element of: Do I belong here? Can I do this? Like all the insecurities that anyone would have. I was working with such a high caliber of people, Oscar nominees, and people I admired from afar in the industry for such a long time. There is this moment when you go, ‘Wow, they’re all looking at me.’ ”
“[Jenkins made me] able to lean into that confidence and say, ‘Yeah, damn right they should be looking at me. I’m the director!” Yan continued. “It was just that little boost of confidence I think that was much needed.”
That confidence can be seen in a major way throughout Birds of Prey, the first mainstream comic book film centered around an all-female ensemble. The film earned critical and fan acclaim for its approach to feminist issues, and to portraying the complexities of being a woman in modern society.
“[Harley Quinn is] very feminine in a very superficial way…At the same time, she’s such a badass,” Yan said during an interview earlier this year. “I liked that tension of it. It was exhilarating to create an unfiltered version of Harley Quinn.”
“I think sometimes we equate femininity with being polite,” Yan continued. “but that’s not the same thing.”
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is now available on Digital HD. Wonder Woman 1984 is tentatively set to be released on August 14th.
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