Here’s an interesting case of superhero movie reshoots.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Wick co-director Chad Stahleski is joining the Birds of Prey crew to “tackle and design new action scenes for the movie.” Working with director Cathy Yan and his own stunt firm 87 Eleven — who have been on the production from the beginning — the uncredited second unit work will be part of the film’s planned post-production phase.
Of course, it is possible to see the news as a studio doubting its product. A similar thing occurred with the project’s antecedent, Suicide Squad. Originally built to be a tougher, darker movie, Warner Bros. scheduled extensive reshoots to align the film with a trailer it released making the project appear to be more of a Guardians of the Galaxy style romp. The resulting film never quite worked, but it led to Margot Robbie’s continued presence as Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey, and, oddly enough, GotG director James Gunn signing on to make a quasi-sequel currently called The Suicide Squad.
Unfortunately, stories of troubled productions requiring reshoots cast a wide shadow on any tentpole release opting to shoot additional material during post production. And as the film doubles as Yan’s big budget debut, there will be some questioning her abilities. It is the sort of scrutiny which led Punisher: War Zone director Lexi Alexander to avoid any more superhero films. To her, a woman directing one of these sorts of pictures is under an enormous pressure to deliver because she has to represent the gender while making a successful film.
Which leaves us wondering if this will become part of the film’s narrative as it gets closer to release. Like Suicide Squad and the Star Wars Story films, the reshoots may overshadow everything else going on with the film. Expect cast and crew to answer questions about Stahleski’s involvement constantly.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) opens on February 7th, 2020.