‘Birds Of Prey’ Director Cathy Yan Talks Challenges She Faced, Wishes She Had “More Control”

Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan has made no secret her displeasure over the handling of her film during production, claiming Warner Bros. made changes to it without her approval. That’s something we’ve been hearing about a lot lately as Zack Snyder readies his cut of Justice League, and fans encourage the release of David Ayer’s version of Suicide Squad, something Yan has shown her support for.

In a recent conversation with ThePlaylist, Yan talked about the difficulties she had on Birds of Prey, and the control she says was taken away from her…

“I would have loved to have more control over the edit [of ‘Birds of Prey’]. But that’s just kind of how it is. I don’t know if there’s a Cathy Yan cut out there, but I think for any filmmaker, all of us are in it because we want to express ourselves as wholly as possible. And to match what you ultimately see on screen with what’s in our head.”

When asked if her experience in the DCEU had put her off from making other superhero movies, Yan didn’t write anything off but seems to be in no hurry…

“Yes and no. I never did [‘Birds of Prey’] in the first place so that I could say I did a big movie or blockbuster movie. I actually very much did it because I thought the script was interesting. And the fact that I got the chance to depict women, especially female superheroes, in a way that we haven’t really seen before, like neither perfect nor weak, you know? I think it’s [typically] either-or really. I enjoyed that challenge of being able to subvert the genre a little bit.”

“I would not discount ever doing it again,” she continued. “I try not to think of whether I would do this type of movie or that type of movie again. Or whether I’d work with this studio or that. But more like, ‘Is this story compelling?’ And I’m also a writer/director. So, in that case, my big lesson is that I want to continue to do that and have a little bit more control over the story I’m telling.”

Birds of Prey eventually did find its audience on digital, and overall the film made $200M, about double its production budget. Expectations were higher, however, and the chances of a sequel are pretty slim. That said, Yan and producer/star Margot Robbie have said they’d like to do another one. Robbie has a lot of pull within WB and could make it happen. For now, we’ll have to wait until James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad to see her Harley Quinn again.

Yan’s breakthrough film, the comedy Dead Pigs, is hitting MUBI on February 12th and you should definitely check it out.



Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.