Mary Elizabeth Winstead confirmed that she has started training with a bow in anticipation of her role as The Huntress in DC Films’ upcoming Birds of Prey movie. This marks the second time the actress has played a lead role in a comic book adaptation, having played the role of Ramona Flowers in 2010’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
First appearing in The Huntress #1 in 1989, Helena Bertinelli is the third DC Comics character to adopt the name of The Huntress. The sole surviving member of the Gotham Bertinellis (one of the Five Families of Gotham City’s Sicilian Mafia), Helena witnessed her entire family being gunned down in a mob hit as a young girl. This inspired Helena to devote her life to bringing down organized crime in Gotham City, becoming The Huntress to make all criminals her prey. While comparisons can be made between The Huntress and Batman (who also became a vigilante after losing his family to violence), Helena Bertinelli differs from Bruce Wayne in that she has no qualms about using lethal force against criminals.
The Wrap asked Winstead about her new role as part of an interview regarding her latest movie, All About Nina. Winstead discussed some of the training she has undergone to prepare for playing The Huntress, confirming that she will “… be learning how to shoot a bow and arrow…”
The wording of this statement has inspired dread among fans of the original Birds of Prey comics, who were already worried about how well the movie would conform to the comic books given that the movie’s story apparently has Harley Quinn leading the team. In the comics, The Huntress’ signature weapon is the crossbow, which is quite different from a regular bow and arrow. Curiously, these differences were addressed on the television series Arrow, where Oliver Queen trained that universe’s version of Helena Bertinelli as a vigilante using the crossbow specifically because it would be faster for a trained gun user to master than a regular bow and arrow. Given that, Winstead’s statement could indicate a drastic change to The Huntress’ arsenal in the upcoming movie.
Thankfully for the purists, there is evidence that Winstead merely misspoke and that The Huntress will have her trademark crossbow in Birds of Prey. CBR reported on the casting efforts for GCPD Detective Rene Montoya, who will be joining with Harley Quinn, The Huntress and Black Canary to form the team in the new movie. One of the audition scenes for Montoya makes reference to her investigating a crossbow-wielding assassin, which sounds like an oddly specific reference to The Huntress from the comics.