After what feels like an excruciatingly long wait, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), will finally be coming our way in February 2020. While any actor who gets a gig playing a character with a long history in comic books usually does their research by reading any of that character’s comic arcs which are necessary to understand who they’ll be portraying, it’s not impossible for said actor to end up embodying someone that they do have prior knowledge of from other media.
Such was the case when Jurnee Smollett-Bell found out she’d be suiting up as Black Canary for Birds of Prey. But, instead of knowing about the crime fighter with the canary cry from DC comics or the many shows on The CW that have featured her for the past several years, Smollett-Bell was familiar with Dinah Lance from a very specific video game.
Well, it’s always a good sign when someone nabs a comic book-based role that they are pumped to play for reasons that include being a fan of the character before even having the opportunity to bring them to life for fans everywhere. While it doesn’t sound like Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who spoke with Omeleteve during the CCXP convention in Brazil (via ComicBook), had seen a previous version of Black Canary in live action or read any comics with her before getting the part in Birds of Prey, knowing Ms. Lance from Injustice 2 was still a pretty good primer.
Injustice 2, which released in 2017, is a fighting game that sees Black Canary and her husband, Green Arrow, sent on some dangerous missions by Batman to continue the fight against the corrupted, tyrannical Superman who’s taken over the Earth, that players were introduced to in Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013). Black Canary is a playable character, and you can use her metahuman powers and many well-honed martial arts skills to help take down villains like Gorilla Grodd, Catwoman, Bane and more. Sounds like the kind of woman you want on your side to take down a baddie like Black Mask.
It seems like Jurnee Smollett-Bell really enjoyed her time with Black Canary as she played Injustice 2, so it makes sense that she would be honored to be the first to bring the “legendary” badass to the big screen. But, you can also tell that the experience of making Birds of Prey would have been special for Smollett-Bell regardless of the role she had in the film, seeing as how she had the chance to work with some amazing “rockstar women.”