EXCLUSIVE: Chris Messina has joined Warner Bros/DC’s Birds of Prey in the villainous role of Victor Zsasz, a sadistic serial killer who carves a tally mark onto himself for each of his victims. Zsasz will be working in cahoots with Ewan McGregor’s lead bad guy Black Mask. Cathy Yan is directing from Christina Hodson’s screenplay.
The character of Zsasz was first introduced in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 in June 1992 as part of Batman: The Last Arkham series. Zsasz’s origin story took place in 1996’s Batman Chronicles #3. He was the head of his own international company, a rich guy who is still rich from his family’s fortune. At 25, his parents die in a boating accident and plummets into a deep depression losing himself in gambling, and ultimately everything to the Penguin. He tries to commit suicide, but after killing a homeless man, he becomes addicted to killing and is known for slitting his victims’ throats and leaving them in lifelike poses, while adding a tally mark to himself each time. He’s routinely incarcerated in Arkham Asylum.
On Fox/WBTV’s Gotham series, the character of Zsasz is portrayed by Anthony Carrigan. This is the first time that Zsasz will appear extensively on the big screen; Tim Booth portrayed him briefly in 2005’s Batman Begins.
Messina joins Margot Robbie who is reprising her role as Harley Quinn, and as exclusively reported by Deadline, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is playing Huntress while Jurnee Smollett-Bell will play Black Canary.
Messina recently starred in HBO/Blumhouse’s Golden Globe nominated mini-series Sharp Objects. He shares a SAG-win for best ensemble for Argo. For 90 episodes Messina played Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project. Upcoming he has the drama The True Adventures of Wolfboy opposite John Turturro and Chloe Sevigny. He is repped by CAA, Management 360, and Gendler & Kelly.
In addition today, Warner Bros. announced the rest of those cast in Birds of Prey, keeping their roles largley under wraps including Steven Williams (The Chi), Derek Wilson, Dana Lee (Dr. Ken), Francois Chau (The Expanse, The Tick) and Matthew Willig (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs).
Wilson is making his studio feature debut. He plays Wolf on Seth Rogen’s Hulu comedy Future Man and was a series regular on AMC’s Preacher. He will reportedly play a police associate of Rosie Perez’s Renee Montoya. Wilson is repped by Innovative, Gartner/Green and attorney James Adams.
Later today, Warner Bros. announced separately that stand-up comedian Ali Wong is joining the cast as another cop on Montoya’s force as well as actor Robert Cartrini.
Sue Kroll is producing Birds of Prey through her Kroll & Co. label with Margot Robbie and Bryan Unkeless.
The DC movie opens on February 7, 2020.