A New ‘Birds Of Prey’ Trailer Is Finally Giving Us A Glimpse At Rosie Perez’s Character
It’s only mid-January and Nuyorican actress Rosie Perez is slated to appear in major roles in two film productions, including as queer detective Renee Montoya in “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” and alongside Anne Hathaway in Netflix’s “The Last Thing He Wanted.” The DC Universe’s most idolized villain, Harley Quinn, stars in the “Suicide Squad” spinoff with an interesting new plot twist. “The Joker and I broke up,” Quinn (played by Margot Robbie) tells viewers as she cuts off her red and blue-dyed pigtails, a relic of her relationship with the Joker. Harley Quinn says it was completely “mutual,” but the premise of the movie seems hinged on creating a group of anti-villains hell-bent on protecting themselves from the consequences of her breakup with the Joker.
The trailer only voices Harley Quinn as she gives her rallying speech to convince three women to join her in her quest. Harley Quinn points to each of her three sidekicks and gives them a reason to join her.
Detective Renee Montoya has been a touchstone throughout the DC comic world but will be making her cinematic debut in “Birds of Prey.”
Detective Renee Montoya was originally created for “Batman: The Animated Series” as in-the-know police officer Harvey Bullock’s partner in fighting crime. In a follow-up series, Montoya was promoted to detective, and later revealed to be the daughter of Dominican Republic immigrants. Throughout her character’s arc, she continues to rise in the ranks to become a homicide detective and become far more involved in fighting Gotham City’s unusual crime. At one point, villain Two-Face falls in love with her and attempts to destroy her life in the hopes that she’d reach such low levels that she’d fall for him. To debase her, he outs her as a lesbian to the entire city, frames her for murder, kidnaps her in an effort to make it look like she tried to escape the law, and nearly kills her until Batman saves her.
Still, the damage had been done. Montoya’s religious parents disown her for her queerness. Socially isolated, she falls into a depression and the depths of alcoholism and quits the Gotham City Police Force. In the comic series, she refuses to join the all-female vigilante superhero team “Birds of Prey,” but Hollywood had other plans.
In the upcoming film, the fearsome foursome team together to protect a young girl named Cass from villain Roman Sionis A.K.A. the Black Mask.
Margot Robbie, the actress who plays Harley Quinn and producer, pitched the idea for the movie to Warner Bros. in 2015 and hired female leadership like Director Cathy Yan and writer Christina Hodson. Cathy Yan will be the first female Asian woman to direct a superhero film. Netflix’s “One Day at a Time,” Justina Machado and Starz’s “Vida,” queer Roberta Colindrez, both auditioned to play Renee Montoya. By October 2018, Rosie Perez was announced as the actress who would bring Renee Montoya to life on the big screen.
In 2015, Perez spoke at The Trevor Project’s live fundraiser event in New York City and self-identified as “quasi-straight” from the podium. “Every human being, whether they want to admit it or not, went through a period of questioning. I know I did,” she said. Her biggest high school crush was a girl named Michelle and she admitted, “all I wanted to do was hump her. And I suppressed the urge and suppressed the urge and suppressed the urge until Michelle one day started humping on me.” She later would say, “I’m not lesbian, gay or whatever — I’m a quasi-straight person — I still went through that period. And I thought I was all alone.” Rosie Perez is currently married to artist Chris Haze.
We haven’t heard a single line from Rosie Perez in any of the trailers but are ready to watch the “quasi-straight” actress hunt down villains in theaters.
Detective Renee Montoya finds herself as a member of Birds of Prey superhero squad because, in Harley Quinn’s words, she’s “dumb enough to be building a case against” villain the Black Mask. We’re curious to see what point in the comic book character’s journey they’ll place Renee Montoya. Is she recently outed and facing that all too familiar lesbiana Latina burden of homophobic religious parents while saving her city? Or is she at the ex-cop, deep-in-the-disease-of-alcoholism, vigilante stage of her character’s arc?