‘Birds Of Prey’ News: Jurnee Smollett-Bell Is Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Is Huntress

Five fierce females will kick butt in this upcoming film based on DC Comics characters.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead Collage
Christopher Polk & Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Five fierce females will kick butt in this upcoming film based on DC Comics characters.

Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment are working hard to assemble a star-studded cast for the upcoming film Birds of Prey, which will feature a group of superheroines and anti-heroines working together to fight a nasty crime lord in a Batman-less Gotham City.

Actress Margot Robbie is headlining the project, which she told Moviefone is “an R-rated girl gang film” that she has been working on for three years. In it, she will reprise her character from 2016’s Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn, aka psychiatrist Harleen Frances Quinzel. The 28-year-old star is also one of the movie’s co-producers along with Sue Kroll and Bryan Unkeless.

Now, Deadline is reporting that two of the other key roles have been filled: Black Canary will be played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead will play Huntress.

Smollett-Bell, the younger sister of Empire star Jussie Smollett, most recently played Rosalee on the WGN America television series Underground. The 31-year-old, who has been acting since she was a child, has also appeared in NBC’s Friday Night Lights and HBO’s True Blood. Black Canary, aka Dinah Lance, uses her street-fighting skills and special high-pitched sonic scream, known as the “canary cry,” to cause all kinds of havoc.

Winstead, 33, is a former scream queen, having acted in big screen horror flicks such as Final Destination 3, Black Christmas, and Death Proof. On TV, she’s appeared in CBS’ Brain Dead, PBS’ Mercy Street, and FX’s Fargo. Her Birds of Prey character, Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli, has had several different backstories in the comic books, but Variety is reporting that the new movie will use the version in which she is a former mafia princess who becomes a vigilante after witnessing her family getting killed by the mob.

Meanwhile, One Day at a Time‘s Justina Machado and Vida‘s Roberta Colindrez are said to be in the running to play lesbian police detective Renee Montoya in the DC Extended Universe film.

Cassandra Cain, who has used the alter egos Batgirl, Black Bat, and Orphan in the comic books, is the fifth member of the all-female crime-fighting team. There is no word yet on who will play her.

Birds of Prey, which was written by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee), is slated to start shooting in January with director Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs).

It is expected to hit the silver screen on February 7, 2020, which is three months after another female superhero movie, Wonder Woman 1984, is slated to be released.