It was a bit surprising to learn that Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn)—a title that definitely looked like writer Christina Hodson slapped on the cover of the script as a joke—was, in fact, the official name of the Suicide Squad spin-off starring Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn. As it turns out, “a joke that became a real thing” isn’t so far off from that mouthful of a title’s origin story.
When Collider’s Christina Radish spoke to Hodson about the writer’s other massive franchise movie, Bumblebee, she revealed that the title had basically been tacked on since the beginning:
How did the film end up with the title of Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of Harley Quinn)? Whose idea was that?
HODSON: I don’t know if I’m officially allowed to say, but there’s no reason why not. It was an unofficial aka, when I wrote the script. I added it about a year or so ago, almost exactly as it is, just as an aka. I didn’t think we’d ever use it. We’d always used a working title, so I just had it as a cheeky little thing, on the front cover. And then, when we were talking about a title and brainstorming, we all kept drifting back to that one.
It also seems like a title that says a lot about what the tone of the film will be.
Hodson will also be penning the script for Warner Bros.’ upcoming Batgirl standalone film, a role she took over after Joss Whedon left the project. The film—the first to feature a live-action take on the character since 1997’s Batman & Robin—is still in development, but Hodson told Collider the process is giving her an opportunity to play around with some “flawed, complex, beautiful, wonderful, weird” characters:
Is it also a different experience to work on something like Batgirl, where it is an established character, but you can do something new with her?
HODSON: I actually don’t think it is that established. A few people remember Alicia Silverstone doing that, but that movie was not one that is seminal. So, I do feel very free doing that one, and the studio is being super supportive, in letting me dream up whatever I want to dream up.
What most excites you about the character of Batgirl?
HODSON: Many things, but I’m not allowed to talk about that, at all. She’s cool. With all of these characters – the ones that I’m creating and that are original, like Charlie, and the ones I’m getting to inherit and play with – they’re independent, intelligent, capable, interesting and nuanced, and nuanced really is the main thing. They’re not one thing or another. They are flawed, complex, beautiful, wonderful, weird, and fully rounded and fully fleshed out characters. We’ve got so many great actresses out there, that are ready to play these roles, that it’s fun to be writing roles for them.
Be on the lookout for our full interview with Christina Hodson coming in the next few weeks.