DC Films' Birds of Prey continues to rack up a buzzworthy cast, as it's being reported that Star Wars actor Ewan McGregeor is circling the role of Black Mask, a Batman villain who has been rumored for months to be the main villain of film.
The Wrap dropped the confirmation of McGregor's casting in the film. McGregor joins Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, as well as new DC Extended Universe additions Jurnee Smollet-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya.
Black Mask is known in the comics as Roman Sionis, a ruthless Gotham City mob boss who wears a black skull mask as his signature. Sionis grew up with a wealthy elite Gotham City family, much like Bruce Wayne, only the Sionis family was not exactly a nurturing group, as Roman's parents were so self-absorbed they allowed him to suffer multiple serious injuries as a kid, and forced him to suck up to those higher on the social ladder like the Wayne Family. When Roman took over his family's company Janus Cosmetics, he fell in love with and proposed to an aspiring model named Circe; when his parents tried to kill the marriage over reasons of social class, Roman burned down their mansion with them inside.
Taking over the family fortune and business in full, Roman tried to run Janus Cosmetics and fell flat on his face, ruining the company with a line of faulty products that left several women disfigured. Circe broke up with Roman in front of the company staff, and Janus had to be bailed out by Bruce Wayne, all of which humiliated Roman to the brink of mania. One stormy night, he broke into his parents' crypt in a rage, and a lightning strike knocked him into his father's ebony casket, and Roman, now deranged, used the broken piecesto forge a black mask for himself as a representation of Sionis family penchant for "false faces." Before too long, "Black Mask" became one of Gotham's most ruthless crime lords and part of the "False Face Society," until he was killed while attempting to threaten those closest to Selina Kyle/Catwoman.
In more recent DC Comics lore, Black Mask was reintroduced as having a mask with technology that allows him to control the minds of weak-minded individuals, and has also been allied with other crime bosses like Penguin and Great White in the "Blacks & Whites Alliance." It will be interesting to see which pieces of the character Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan chooses to adapt; with the movie getting an R-rating, it would be horrific to see sequences of Black Mask using mind control to make his victims do terrible things -- or to see what he could make the Birds of Prey group members do to one another. It's a tactic that worked very well with Marvel's Jessica Jones villain Kilgrave, and it stands to reason that it would work well in this film as well.
Birds of Prey hits theaters on February 7, 2020.