When it comes to the world of comic books, it’s common knowledge that few rivalries can match the competition between Marvel and DC. Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for years, the DC Extended Universe is off to a financially lucrative — if critically dire — start with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, earning $873 million and $745 million worldwide, respectively.
In both cases, fan-favorite female characters Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn ultimately emerged as the breakout stars, setting both characters up for even larger roles in future films. Thus far, the lack of central female characters has been one of the most common criticisms of the MCU, and the DCEU doesn’t appear to be wasting any time proving the merit of its own female heroes and villains.
With Wonder Woman set for release in 2017, Warner Bros. is steadfast in getting Harley Quinn back on the big-screen as soon as possible. In fact, the studio recently secured Suicide Squad director David Ayer to helm Gotham City Sirens, a female-led film based on the DC Comics title. The movie will team up Harley Quinn with Catwoman and Poison Ivy. Of course, Margot Robbie is set to return as Harley, but judging from a recent tweet of Ayer’s, it looks like his adaptation is still in need of two actresses to play Catwoman and Poison Ivy.
Almost immediately after the news about Gotham City Sirens dropped, the internet began speculating on who might be the next two actresses to play the iconic members of Batman’s rogues gallery. Since Anne Hathaway most recently played Catwoman to great effect in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the Oscar-winning actress was among the first to be entered into the conversation. However, seeing as Nolan’s trilogy will be kept separate from the current incarnation, this is highly unlikely to come to fruition. Rather, names like Quantico star Priyanka Chopra and From Dusk Till Dawn star Eiza González have been floated, with the latter’s social media activity building a case for her casting in the role.
Still, both Chopra and González are television actors with relatively unproven experience on the big-screen. Besides, the role of Catwoman may be known for her sensuality, but we’d like to think that Ayer may be looking to infuse the role with a bit more star power and depth, especially seeing as Selina Kyle is known for her on-again, off-again romantic relationship with Batman.
So why not cast a more mature actress in the role? Someone who can stand up as more of an experienced contemporary to Ben Affleck’s Batman. Stars like Rachel Weisz, Nicole Kidman, and Charlize Theron all fall within the same age range, and as Oscar winners themselves, they can ensure that this new Catwoman is just as compelling as fans would hope.
After all, Gotham City Sirens could be a significant pioneer for the predominantly male-led superhero genre, bringing a feminine twist that has rarely been represented. Moreover, the film presents the chance to represent the LGBTQ community like never before, as all three of the central characters have been confirmed to be a part of that community in the comics. So Ayer could resist the chance to simply devolve his leading ladies into mere eye candy and seize this opportunity by bringing in actresses that are up to the task. Say what you will about Suicide Squad, but Robbie does everything she can to elevate the role beyond what the material gives her.
If the current casting rumor regarding Poison Ivy holds any water, Gotham City Sirens may wind up pandering to the lowest common denominator (i.e., straight male viewers). Almost as soon as the film was announced, Megan Fox was rumored to be up for the part. Though Fox has appeared in several hit films (namely, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), her limited (at best) acting ability would greatly hinder Gotham City Sirens and squander the film’s potential long before it ever reaches theaters.
Since Ivy and Harley have a romantic relationship in the comics, there’s likely a chance that this will at least be alluded to in the film. Therefore, it makes sense that Ayer would opt for someone around Robbie’s age. However, there are plenty of actresses who are better equipped to tackle the sensuality, cunning, and charm of Ivy. For instance, why not someone like Karen Gillan, who already has proven range and built-in geek following thanks to Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy?
The months ahead will no doubt bring much more speculation and (eventually) confirmed casting news. However, the fact that DC and Warner Bros. are taking a shot on an all-female entry into the DCEU is an exciting chance for less-represented characters like the Birds of Prey to conquer the big-screen. Here’s hoping that Ayer is able to fill out each role with the same genius casting as bringing Robbie in to play Harley Quinn.
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