Harley Quinn’s getting a team together in Birds of Prey, with Margot Robbie’s anti-heroine uniting with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). Their mission? To stop Roman Sionis AKA Black Mask, a Gotham City crime boss, from getting his hands on young thief Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), who’s managed to get caught in his crosshairs.
From what we’ve seen of him so far in the trailers, Black Mask looks to be a scene-stealing, flamboyant bad guy, maybe the sort you love to hate. Star Ewan McGregor, though, is keen to press that there’s a real nastiness and darkness to him that shouldn’t be overlooked. While speaking with Nerdist, the Scottish actor talked about how he views Sionis as a complete “control freak,” which is why someone as “uncontrollable” as Harley causes him so much havoc.
“I think that he’s an absolute control freak. He’s insane when he’s not in control. We only see him in his club, in his car, in his apartment. I feel like we only see him there because he has to be somewhere that he controls. Harley comes into that world and she’s uncontrollable, and it drives him mad and he hates it.”
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What’s more, McGregor believes Black Mask is a misogynist, too, as he doesn’t think much of Harley beyond her just being the Joker’s girlfriend and assumes she won’t be a problem now that she’s split up with the Clown Prince of Crime. He’s going to find out how wrong he is about that, though.
“It plays into the overall misogyny and the exploration of misogyny because he puts up with her because she’s Joker’s girlfriend, right? He’s all powerful and so frightening, but as soon as he realizes that her man’s out of the picture he thinks he can take her down, and that makes him a true misogynist I think.”
As for Harley herself, McGregor offered his thoughts on how Robbie’s character stands at the beginning of the movie, saying:
“She’s trying to find her freedom, she’s trying to find her voice and find her power as a woman who’s no longer relying on or getting that power from her partner anymore.”
McGregor’s comments here echo the way he’s previously described Sionis as a superhero villain for the Trump era, pointing to his narcissism and need to be “the center of attention” as feeling reminiscent of the current POTUS. All this makes Black Mask sound like an exciting contemporary foe for our times. Let’s just hope they manage to handle his sexuality and relationship with Victor Zsasz well, after all the backlash that’s been getting.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) hits theaters next week, on February 7th.