Birds of Prey Director Explains Why Ewan Mcgregor Is Perfect for Black Mask

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) marks Star Wars star Ewan McGregor's debut as DC Comics villain Roman Sionis. Known as Black Mask in the comics, Roman is a manic, self-absorbed, and ruthless crime lord who clashes with Harley and her new girl gang. At the Birds of Prey premiere event, ComicBook.com sat down with director Cathy Han and asked about how she and McGregor collaborated to bring Black Mask to life. She says that while the core of the character was all there in the film's script, McGregor brought something special to the role.

"We had so much fun creating Roman together," Yan says of working with McGregor. "His backstory, his background, the way that he just flips back and forth, that was written in, but Ewan is so funny so some of my favorite lines in the movie, or some of my favorite Roman lines, he found on the day. And that was part of the appeal of Roman for me and part of the reason that Ewan was such a good fit was that he just brings such a natural charisma to the role and he is so wickedly funny and you can't help but like him. He's so charming, and that was kind of the fun of it. You can laugh along with him and then kind of feel bad that you're laughing and then he does something really, really horrible and that just kind of makes him a more interesting character for me."

While speaking at the event, McGregor revealed why it is that Roman has it out for Harley. "He has to be in absolute control. He's insane when he's not in control," McGregor explained. "We only see him in his club, in his car, in his apartment--or at the end when he's running around. But really I feel like we only ever see him in places he controls. And then Harley comes into this world and she's uncontrollable. It drives him mad. He hates it.

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"It plays into the exploration of misogyny in the film. He's only ever put up with Harley because she was Joker's girlfriend. So that was the only reason he ever put up with her, because [Joker] was all-powerful. But as soon as [Roman] realizes that Harley's man is out of the picture, she becomes a problem. That makes him a true misogynist. Harley is trying to find her freedom--the emancipation of Harley Quinn, right? She's trying to find her voice. She's not getting her power from her partner anymore."

Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) opens on February 7th. Other upcoming DC Films movies include Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5th, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, Black Adam on December 22, 2021, Shazam! 2 on April 1, 2022, Super Pets on May 20, 2022, The Flash on July 1, 2022, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.