When Birds of Prey hits theaters next week, Cathy Yan will have officially made history as the first Asian-American woman to direct a superhero movie. Yan came from humble beginnings, having only helmed shorts and one Sundance darling, Dead Pigs, before Warner Bros. hired her to spearhead the first R-rated DCEU film. Fortunately, it sounds like she had a reliable support network to bolster her creative spirit.
During an interview with Variety, Yan confessed that she was initially insecure about directing her first big-budget action film. However, a phone call with Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins gave her more confidence.
“I had such institutional support from the get go,” said Yan. “But at the same time, every day, I remember being very concerned about, like, I’ve never done this before. I actually called up Patty Jenkins during prep and I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’ She told me, ‘You’ve got to remember that no one knows this movie as much as you. That’s what makes you the director.’ And that was really, really helpful.”
Yan’s work on Birds of Prey also continues the superhero genre’s shift toward inclusivity behind the scenes. In fact, as Variety pointed out, Birds of Prey is the first of four 2020 comic book adaptations directed by women. Naturally, Yan hopes this trend doesn’t slow down anytime soon.
“It’s pretty freaking amazing,” added Yan. “Hopefully it does what we all hope it does, which is prove that female directors can do movies of scale. I remember when I was just starting off being told, ‘Actually, we’ve been looking for female directors, but there aren’t that many that want to do action movies.’ I remember thinking, ‘I do! I love action movies.’ Women are capable of this.”
Birds of Prey hits theaters on February 7. What do you make of Patty Jenkins’ advice for Cathy Yan? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey Vol. 1