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Ewan McGregor to Play Batman Villain Black Mask in ‘Birds of Prey’

The DC movie is filling out with exuberant talent, as the actor joins stars Margot Robbie and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the antagonist role.
FX Networks
By  · Published on November 2nd, 2018

Ewan McGregor is a dynamic, talented actor. But his most impressive work tends to be lost amidst his universally recognized performance as young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels. Nevertheless, he’s taken steps to further his mainstream career beyond Star Wars, with his recent title role in Disney’s Christopher Robin and upcoming lead in the Shining sequel Doctor Sleep. Going for an even bigger tentpole now, Deadline reports McGregor will co-star as the villain Black Mask in DC’s Birds of Prey.

In the comics, Black Mask is one of Batman’s villains, who rules Gotham’s crime world as a mob boss. For Birds of Prey, he’ll oppose the heroine-focused team of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez). With journalist-turned-filmmaker Cathy Yan directing, this reportedly R-rated film already features a stacked cast, so his addition only raises this project’s pedigree of talent to another level.

As DC salvages what’s left of their chaotic universe, the introduction of fan-favorite characters like Huntress and Black Mask may be the only hope to attract people to new projects. Furthermore, this focus on a female-lead crew may also present glimpses of hope as Hollywood continues making strides toward inclusivity and equality.

While McGregor’s work in the Galaxy Far, Far Away will always hold a special place in many hearts, he has plenty of performances that should be equally as recognized because they contain real depth and nuance. He has excelled in choice performances such as 1996’s Trainspotting, which features him diving deep into the world of heroin addiction and poverty, delivering a captivating performance steeped in intense desperation.

Five years later, Moulin Rouge! earned McGregor his first Golden Globe nomination for his performance as a sweet and passionate romantic in Baz Luhrmann’s modern-classic musical, while the 2012 comedic drama Salmon Fishing in the Yemen brought McGregor his second Golden Globe nod for his awkward, yet charming portrayal of a fishery expert.

Most recently, McGregor won the 2017 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his dual performance as Ray and Emmit Stussy in the masterfully twisted television series Fargo. He brought real depth to two broken brothers, crafting two distinctly unique performances among the chaos of both brotherly and gang-related war.

As McGregor continues to distance himself from Star Wars, it’s exciting to see where his career will continue to develop. Will he fill his resume with more duds like Incendiary, Angels & Demons, and Mortdecai? Or will he pursue more creative roles that showcase his charismatic, engaging, and buoyant qualities? Hopefully, Birds of Prey is a step in the right direction.

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Lover of coffee, the emdash, and General Hux. Journalism student at Biola University in Los Angeles.