By Music Correspondent Stavros Harrington-Smythe
The new superhero film from the DC Universe, Birds of Prey, has recently been released to quite favourable reviews, though it isn’t certain if that’s down to an error by a young production assistant. The mistake was discovered when executives were watching the finished film, and it was too late to change anything due to the strict release dates. Film fans expecting to see Margot Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn – as well as the other female cast members – will be in for a surprise, as it turned out the mistake meant that the rock band The Eagles were given the roles instead. I spoke to Don Henley, the group’s drummer and co-vocalist, on how all this came about.
TDJJ: “Okay, let me just say, big fan of you and The Eagles. How did you find out about this film?”
DH: “Well I got this letter saying Warner Bros were making a Birds of Prey film, and they wanted me to be the lead character. Now, looking back, I have to chuckle because I can see where the confusion may have come from, because of what eagles are. But I assumed they meant the whole of the surviving members of our group. So we had a group meeting about it, and in the end we just said ‘what the hell’ and got the bus to Hollywood.”
TDJJ: “Are you a fan of superhero films? Were you aware of the timeline of the DC Universe movies?”
DH: “Yeah, a little bit. I liked the Avengers one. To be honest I had to research the DC stuff. I thought it was a reference to AC/DC! I know of Batman and Superman, obviously.”
TDJJ: “Did you watch Suicide Squad during your research?”
DH: “I was advised against it, but I ended up watching it anyway, yeah. Some of the guys didn’t think it was great, but I thought it was okay.”
TDJJ: “What did you think about putting the Harley Quinn outfit on? No offence to either Margot or yourself, but how do you think no one twigged that you obviously aren’t Margot Robbie?”
DH: “It was a tight costume for sure. But it’s all acting isn’t it? I guess after all the make up, and whatever CGI is, no one could tell the difference on the days we were filming. You’ve got to laugh about it now though, don’t you?”
TDJJ: “How did you find the experience of working on such a big movie? I guess it’s a lot of long hours similar to when you’re touring with the group.”
DH: “For sure, yeah. To be honest we were all nervous on the first day, we hadn’t had any acting classes or anything beforehand. We read the script together and decided as there’s a lot of action in there, we should do a bit of keep fit so we could do all the fighting bits.”
TDJJ: “Well it seems that your collective hard work paid off, the film’s got pretty good reviews. So you got to the end of filming, then the film was edited, and then you found out that the group wasn’t supposed to be in the film in the first place, it was all down to an administrative error. I know that you and the group can look back with a smile now, but was there any frustration or resentment initially?”
DH: “Yeah, for sure. We spent long nights crying by the record machine, to quote Elton John. It seemed that all our hard work was for nothing. But when the relatively favourable reviews came in, we felt vindicated. I even phoned Warner Bros up, who I think are still a bit embarrassed by the mix up, and told them that I had an idea for a sequel. It starts off, right, that the first film was an alternate universe, right, and the real Birds of Prey, the women ones, were being held prisoner by Batman and Superman, for reasons I haven’t worked out yet, and then we as the Eagles were doing their work instead, and then the women Birds of Prey escape and they fight us for ages, and then Batman and Superman have a fight because Batman wants the women ones to win and Superman wants us the Eagles to win. We all think that’s a good idea. Warner Bros, we’re waiting by the phone!”
Birds of Prey is in cinemas now.