Wonder Woman was not only the first female-led superhero film in more than a decade, it was also the first to be directed by a woman. And ever since Patty Jenkins signed on to helm the Gal Gadot-starring film, which made $821 million at the worldwide box office, both DC and Marvel have finally (finally!) started hiring more female filmmakers, including Cate Shortland for Black Widow, Chloé Zhao for The Eternals, and Cathy Yan for Birds of Prey. While getting ready to shoot the Harley Quinn spin-off, Yan, who went from the Sundance hit Dead Pigs (which still doesn’t have American distribution) to helming a Hollywood tentpole, called Patty Jenkins and asked her for advice.
“I had such institutional support from the get go. But at the same time, every day, I remember being very concerned about, like, I’ve never done this before,” she told Variety. “I actually called up Patty Jenkins during prep and I’m like, ‘What am I doing?’ [Laughs] She told me, ‘You’ve got to remember that no one knows this movie as much as you. That’s what makes you the director.’ And that was really, really helpful.”
Yan also called it “pretty freaking amazing” that 2020’s four biggest superhero movies — Black Widow, Eternals, Wonder Woman 1984, and Birds of Prey — are all directed by women. “Hopefully it does what we all hope it does, which is prove that female directors can do movies of scale,” she said. “It’s not enough to say we’ve got four women directing blockbuster movies. We have to make sure there’s a sustainable flow of new talent, too.”
Birds of Prey opens on February 7.