Spending time on the set of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) makes one thing clear: this movie is going to be R-rated. Sure, there's a chance that the scene filmed on this particular day would be edited down to have less language that goes beyond the PG-13 barrier but the use of 16 "F-words" in one three-minute sequence suggests it would be quite difficult to make the moment friendly for the entire family. In fact, pushing the limits on language and violence is something Birds of Prey star and producer Margot Robbie is very much looking forward to.
"I did feel like I had to censor myself a lot, obviously, to suit a PG rating," Robbie told ComicBook.com on the Birds of Prey set, comparing her experience to that of the PG-13 Suicide Squad. "And a lot of the characters that exist in the DC world, to be honest, are quite dark. And a lot of them, Huntress for example, have serious childhood trauma, have serious mental illnesses, like Harley, whatever, but I felt like we never... Sometimes you can't really go as deep with those things if you have to censor yourself. And I thought, wouldn't it be liberating if we didn't have to worry about that and really go for it, and then later, in the edit, kind of find where the tone of movie lies."
It seems highly unlikely that the film would be able to edit a PG-13 version given the sequence which called for almost every variation of the F-word to be woven into the dialogue -- and it was also written on one of Harley Quinn's props, referring to her as "Harley F---ing Quinn."
"It's two-thirds of the way through production so a whole lot of things could change," producer Bryan Unkeless said. "And that whole process, as you know, is complicated. But one thing I think that has really been a guiding light for us is to push boundaries. And really not allow any kind of barriers to the creativity or to the attitude that Harley sets forth. And so that will lead us to where it leads us. But certainly we're trying to take chances."
This will not be the first R-rated endeavor for DC Comics characters. Joker saw tremendous success both critically and at the box office, shattering records for R-rated movies in the Joaquin Phoenix-lead standalone flick with no shared universe ties to Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Previously, Deadpool and Logan had also seen success in the R-rated world, on the Marvel side of the genre when Fox was making the X-Men movies. At the same time, Warners is seeing success with the animated Harley Quinn series, which offers up some violence and foul language in its often-hilarious episodes.1comments
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