Maybe 'Birds of Prey' Isn't in Trouble

Reshoots suggest a production is in trouble, but most of the time that’s not the case at all.

Birds Of Prey Dc Comics
DC Comics

The DC Extended Universe has been on a roll lately, and we all want to see the studio continue with its run of form without any hiccups. With this in mind, here’s hoping that the latest developments from within the camp aren’t a cause for concern. The Hollywood Reporter recently revealed that Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) requires some reshoots, which will be handled courtesy of another big name director.

According to the report, John Wick mastermind Chad Stahleski has been recruited to oversee some additional action scenes for the film as the DC project edges closer to its February 2020 release date. However, it is being stressed that Yan is still in charge of proceedings.

We shouldn’t be concerned. It’s highly likely that Stahleski has been brought in to make the action pop and nothing more. The genre is fresh territory for Yan, and this is only her second feature. Stahleski, meanwhile, is an experienced stunt coordinator who’s also helmed some of the best action fare to come out of Hollywood in recent years.

Of course, news of reshoots doesn’t always inspire confidence in projects. Oftentimes, they suggest that a production is in trouble and requires some big changes in order to save it. Furthermore, when experienced filmmakers enter the fray, there’s always risk of them implementing ideas that don’t correspond with the original director’s vision.

That said, it’s understandable why some fans might be wary about these particular rehoots. DC’s history with changing movies isn’t the strongest overall. Reshoots were required for Suicide Squad and Justice League, and those films didn’t exactly light the world on fire. At the same time, reshoots were also necessary during the Aquaman production process, and that movie swam into our hearts and made some serious bank.

The reality is that most of the time reshoots aren’t a big deal. In fact, they’re so common for tentpole blockbusters that studios allocate time and budget for them from the get-go. For the most part, they’re carried out for the simplest reasons, like pick-up shots, fine-tuning scenes, and boring stuff that isn’t even worth reporting on.

Consider this: one of the biggest movies of all time, Avengers: Endgame, was actually subjected to extensive reshoots. And no one made a fuss about them at all. They took place from late 2018 until earlier this year — seemingly up until the last minute — and the movie was released on time, without evidence to suggest that there were any behind the scenes troubles.

The reshoots were a time-consuming part of the film’s production, though. While speaking to Empire magazine (per Screen Geek) in the lead up to the film’s release, Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula, spoke about the experience, joking that she wouldn’t be surprised if the cast still had to act out scenes while the film was playing in theaters.

“I think we’re going to be at the premiere and they’re going to be playing it and we’ll act out the last scene live, because they won’t have finished it.”

The reshoots for Endgame weren’t minor, either — they changed essential story elements. As noted by IndieWire, Tilda Swinton revealed that the filmmakers had to redo some of the time travel scenes and establish a clearer understanding of the rules. The parts that feature her character explaining heady sci-fi elements to Hulk were filmed much later on. Apparently, the creative team didn’t agree on the rules of time travel until after initial filming had wrapped.

Marvel has gained our trust throughout the years, which is probably why people weren’t concerned about the modifications. There were no hold-ups in the end, and most people will agree that the film turned out to be pretty great.

Birds of Prey is having some magic dust applied to it to make the action more kickass, and until we hear otherwise, we can assume that this development is just another example of standard Hollywood protocol taking place.

Kieran is a Daily Curator for the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.