The first trailer for Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) introduced audiences to its ragtag ensemble of characters earlier this month -- including Roman Sionis/Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). As one of the most ruthless crime lords to haunt Gotham City, Sionis is expected to present quite a threat for the Birds of Prey, and it sounds like his character will have some interesting nuance. In a recent interview with Men's Journal, McGregor spoke about his role as Sionis, who he describes as the perfect villain for "the Time of Trump."
"[He is] an absolute narcissist," McGregor explained, "spoiled in his upbringing to the point of having no contact with what life or people are about, who has a skin this thin and wants nothing more than to be the center of attention."
According to Chris Messina, who co-stars as Sionis' right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, this set-up succeeds because of how dynamic of a performance McGregor gives.
"He's an incredible villain because he's so likable and he's so seducing," Messina revealed. "You're like, I like him, he's cute, it's fun being in his world. And then he'll bite your leg off. He has these incredible turns of violence, this ferocious quality. There are a couple of moments in the movie where he rages that he really went there, and you could hear a pin drop. Then he would turn on a dime and then go back to the charm of the character."
McGregor also addressed a theory surrounding his and Messina's characters, which is that the pair will ultimately be romantically involved with each other.
"I don't want to give anything away, but that's a fun theory," McGregor revealed. "We definitely have a very interesting bond."
Birds of Prey will see Sionis and Zsasz facing off against Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) and Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).
"What interested me with Birds of Prey is that it's a feminist film," McGregor said in a previous interview. "It is very finely written. There is in the script a real look on misogyny, and I think we need that. We need to be more aware of how we behave with the opposite sex. We need to be taught to change. Misogynists in movies are often extreme: they rape, they beat women ... and it is legitimate to represent people like that, because they exist and they are obviously the worst. But in the Birds of Prey dialogues, there is always a hint of everyday misogyny, of those things you say as a man you do not even realize, mansplaining ... and it's in the script in a very subtle way. I found that brilliant."
Joker is in theaters now. Upcoming DC movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.