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Cathy Yan Breaks Down Getting Margot Robbie on Roller Skates in Big Birds of Prey Fight Scene

One of the most compelling aspects of Birds of Prey is how all the female cast members committed to being able to do their own stunts in order to allow for a long take whenever possible. Now, it’s already hard to film a huge fight scene in normal conditions, but doing it in a funhouse and with one of your big stars on rollerskates? Yeah, not an easy task, as director Cathy Yan breaks down in this Anatomy of a Scene video.

SPOILERS

ewan mcgregor as black mask in birds of prey

image: warner bros.

One of the final fight scenes takes place at a funhouse location in an abandoned amusement park, The Booby Trap, where our heroines Harley, Dinah, Renee, Helena, and Cass have to fight Roman Sionis’ goons in order to escape with their lives. Especially Cass, who currently has a diamond in her digestive system.

To craft the scene (and others) it was 4-5 months of what Yan describes as “brutal training” and Margot Robbie ending up learning to roller skate for this movie! Now let me just say that is freakin’ impressive because even with a stunt team and all of that, there are plenty of shots where we see Margot’s Harley doing tricks and moves using those skates with damn-near expert levels of dedication. So if she learned all of that in just a few months, I think Margot Robbie has the potential to be the world’s greatest assassin if she needed to be one.

So yeah, Margot Robbie learned how to stop herself on a rotating carousel for Birds of Prey. Icon.

Another important thing was that because of the type of set they were on, whenever they did a take, the had to make sure they started and ended at the same point for the sake of continuity, which sounds incredible exhausting, but isn’t something that I even noticed during the movie because of how well it was shot and put together. It is a real testament to Yan because one of the big issues I had when I rewatched Captain Marvel was just how bad the fight scenes were shot. Having a big budget doesn’t mean anything without someone really good behind the camera.

All of the cast members—Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ella Jay Basco and Rosie Perez—deserve praise for doing so many of their own stunts and making it all look so natural despite the large about of prep work that obviously went into it.

I know, I know I have been praising this movie to the skies, but this film gave me so much good and after watching it, three times now, the work that was put into it shows so clearly and I just hope that if anyone had any doubts, they will go check out this film.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.