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David Ayer says Harley Quinn's 'Suicide Squad' story arc was "eviscerated"

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Suicide Squad director David Ayer has spoken about Harley Quinn’s story arc in the movie, saying it was “eviscerated”.

  • Read more: 7 reasons to watch Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

The filmmaker was responding to a fan on Twitter, who compared the treatment of the anti-heroine in the DC film with how she was portrayed in the recent spin-off Birds Of Prey.

“Harley was sexualised in the entire Suicide Squad movie and in Birds Of Prey she was a real character, not a eyecandy,” they wrote.

Ayer responded by saying Quinn’s “story arc was eviscerated”. “It was her movie in so many ways,” he explained. “Look I tried. I rendered Harley comic book accurate. Everything is political now. Everything. I just want to entertain. I will do better.”


Cathy Yan took the helm for the female-led Birds Of Prey, which saw Harley Quinn lead a gang of Gotham’s women against mobster Roman Sionis. The movie underperformed against expectations at the box office, bringing in $33 million (£26.9m) in the US in its first weekend. Suicide Squad, meanwhile, made $133.7 million (£107m) in its opening weekend in 2016.

In a recent interview, Yan said her movie had “undue expectations” on it. “What I was most disappointed in was this idea that perhaps it proved that we weren’t ready for this yet,” she said.

“That was an extra burden that, as a woman of colour director, I already had on me anyway. So, yes, I think there were certainly different ways you could interpret the success or lack of success of the movie, and everyone has a right to do that. But I definitely do feel that everyone was pretty quick to jump on a certain angle.”

Harley Quinn will return in The Suicide Squad, the sequel to Ayer’s movie, which will be directed by James Gunn and is set for release on August 6, 2021. The character will once again be played by Margot Robbie.

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