Birds of Prey adds Chris Messina as villain Victor Zsasz
Chris Messina (Argo, Devil, Live by Night) will be taking on the role of Victor Zsasz in Warner Bros. DCEU movie Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), Deadline has confirmed. The character will be working alongside Ewan McGregor’s Black Mask in the film.
Messina, who most recently starred in The Mindy Project and HBO’s hit limited series Sharp Objects, will star opposite Margot Robbie as the sadistic serial killer who carves a tally mark into himself for each of his victims. Zsasz first appeared in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 in 1992, with an origin story published in 1996’s Batman Chronicles #3. Once a rich man, Zsasz’s parents are killed in an accident causing the character to fall into a depression losing himself in gambling. He ends up killing a homeless man and becomes addicted, slitting his victims’ throats and leaving them in lifelike poses.
Robbie will be reprising her Suicide Squad role of Harley Quinn in the film, which also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain/Batgirl, and Ewan McGregor as the villain Black Mask.
Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) is directing the movie, the first female Asian director to helm a superhero film, who recently confirmed that Birds of Prey will be an R-Rated movie. The outlet notes that Yan also confirmed the half-Asian character Cassandra Cain will appear in the film. In the comics, Cain is one of the vigilantes who takes on the role of Batgirl.
The Birds of Prey project was initially announced ahead of the release of Suicide Squad in summer 2016, with Warner Bros. developing the film with Robbie’s Harley Quinn as the villain and featuring a number of female DC characters, with the likes of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey reportedly also in the mix for the film. The script was penned by Christina Hodson (Bumblebee), who was recently announced to take over scripting duties on DC’s Batgirl solo movie after Joss Whedon’s departure.
Robbie herself was the springboard for the project, having fallen for the pantheon of DC’s female characters in her extensive research for the role of Harley Quinn. The Birds of Prey project will now apparently take priority as the next film to feature the popular Quinn character, with production expected to begin by the end of 2018 or early 2019. A Suicide Squad sequel to be directed by Gavin O’Connor is also in active development, but Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Harley Quinn Vs The Joker romance movie and David Ayer’s Gotham City Sirens now appear to be on the backburner.
The Birds of Prey are a mostly female superhero team whose ranks in the DC source material has included Oracle/Batgirl, Black Canary, Huntress, Catwoman, Hawkgirl, Power Girl, Poison Ivy, Vixen, and Katana (Karen Fukuhara), who appeared opposite Harley in Suicide Squad. A short-lived live action TV series titled Birds of Prey aired on The WB from 2002-to-2003 for 13 episodes, and starred Ashley Scott as Huntress, Dina Meyer as Barbara Gordon/Oracle, Ian Abercrombie as Alfred Pennyworth and Mia Sara as Harley Quinn.
Birds of Prey is set to be released in theaters on February 7, 2020.