DC’s Birds of Prey has received much praise for its fast-paced action, and going by a recent tweet from director Cathy Yan, it seems the crew was willing to go the extra mile to capture the movie’s violent spectacle.
Over the weekend, Twitter user @LaurenNakaoWinn shared a GIF of the sequence where Helena Bertinelli, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is seen stabbing one of Black Mask’s goons as the two of them are sliding down a tunnel, praising the moment for its camerawork:
IF ANYONE IS GONNA SEE THIS MOVIE AGAIN WATCH HELENA SLIDE DOWN THE TUNNEL. ONE SHOT: CAMERA MAN SLIDES UNDER MEW AFTER SHE HOLDS HERSELF UP, CAM THEN TWISTS AROUND TO SHOW HER STABBING THE GOON. HULLO COORDINATION! @birdsofpreywb #BirdsOfPrey #BoP pic.twitter.com/YMeTb25xnb
— Lauren Nakao Winn (@LaurenNakaoWinn) February 22, 2020
In response, Yan shared a quick anecdote about the ordeal their cinematographer went through to get that shot:
“That cameraman was our DP, Matty Libatique, who got destroyed by MEW and the 200 pound stuntman. That shot going to black was the collision.”
Yan later went on to clarify that Libatique was “totally fine” after the take, and ended up walking “right out of the tunnel like the badass he is.” She also added that he was the one who volunteered to get this risky shot.
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With input from stuntman and John Wick director Chad Stahelski, Birds of Prey is noteworthy for putting a lot more emphasis on practical stunts than your average comic book movie. In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, for instance, producer Bryan Unkeless recalled “a part where literally Margot [Robbie] is on skates getting pushed by a speeding car,” adding that “one wobble” is all it takes for things to “go bad.”
In the end, it looks like the team’s efforts are appreciated by the fans, even if Birds of Prey isn’t exactly the commercial smash that Warner Bros. had seemingly hoped for. We can probably expect significantly bigger box office figures from the next DCEU release when Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters on June 5th, though the action will presumably be a little more on the PG-13 side.