‘Birds of Prey’: Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mary Elizabeth Winstead Among Actresses Testing for Lead Roles

Warner Bros. is now testing actresses for lead roles in female-centric DC Comics adaptation Birds of Prey, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the running for Black Canary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead taking aim at Huntress, THR reported Thursday.

Mbatha-Raw, who headlined sci-fi horror The Cloverfield Paradox for Netflix, is in the mix for the crime-fighting superheroine who in the DC Comics lore uses her senses-shattering “canary cry” and her martial arts expertise to defeat her enemies.

Also in the mix for the role is June Smolett-Bell, who appeared in hit WGN series Underground and will next star as the lead of HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Hidden Figures star Janelle Monae is named as a candidate but it’s not yet known if she tested for the role.

Reporter Boris Kit, who penned the story for THR, added in a tweet Kingsman and The Mummy star Sofia Boutella is not being considered for Black Canary despite the report of another outlet.

For the role of Huntress, a criminal-killing vigilante who took aim at the Gotham City underworld following the murders of her mafia-oriented family, Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane) have either tested or read for the role.

Both Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarchy) and Roberta Colindrez (Vida) have tested for Renee Montoya, an openly lesbian Gotham City detective who in the comics became costumed vigilante the Question.

According to THR, other potential actresses are in the mix, but studio Warner Bros. is reportedly “moving quickly” with casting decisions expected to be made within two weeks ahead of an early 2019 shooting start.

Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) directs the DC Films production, which sees Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie) form an “all-girl gang” to go against recently-confirmed villain Black Mask, who has yet to be cast.

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The film sees Harley, fresh off splitting up with clown prince of crime the Joker (played in Suicide Squad by Jared Leto), teaming with the three superheroines to rescue a young girl — Cassandra Cain — from crime lord Black Mask, according to a synopsis revealed last month.

Warner Bros. has yet to mark a release date for Birds of Prey.