Recent reports suggest that Star Wars and Christopher Robin actor Ewan McGregor is in talks with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment to play Black Mask in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie. The news was first reported earlier this week by The Wrap, an entertainment news website. McGregor joins an already star-studded cast that includes Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, and Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya. Umberto Gonzalez, the journalist who first broke the story, has since taken to Twitter to expound on the casting. Gonzalez reveals that McGregor’s contract is probably a multi-picture deal, meaning that he could appear as Black Mask in several other DC movies in the future. Gonzalez’s post has sparked new interest that McGregor might appear in Matt Reeves’ upcoming film The Batman.
Usually portrayed as a Batman villain, Black Mask is the alter ego of the sadistic gangster and businessman Roman Sionis. Having first appeared in 1985’s Batman issue 386, Black Mask killed his status obsessed parents to takeover the family business, Janus Cosmetics. Unable to make good business decisions, Sionis ran Janus into the ground and was forced to take a bailout by his childhood friend, Bruce Wayne. Blaming Wayne for his failures, Sionis turned to a life of crime, forging his signature mask out of his father’s coffin. One of the most common enemies in Batman’s extensive rogue’s gallery, Black Mask heads a gang called the False Face Society. A frequent collaborator with the Penguin and Great White Shark, more recent Black Mask stories have imbued his signature mask with special technology that allows him to control the minds of his victims.
Birds of Prey will be the first R-rated DC Comics film. Robbie, who in addition to starring in the film is also producing it, said that she was instrumental in pushing for the more mature rating. Robbie told reporters recently that she originally pitched Birds of Prey as an “R-rated girl gang film.” Cathy Yan, who is directing the picture, has since confirmed the R-rating. Yan herself has praised the film, pointing to the script’s theme of female empowerment and dark humor. Birds of Prey is scheduled to be released on February 7, 2020.