The awards season finished with a bang as Hollywood celebrated Lulu Wang’s The Farewell winning Best Characteristic and Zhao Shuzhen nabbing Best Supporting Actress in the Independent Spirit awards while Bong Joon-ho’s peachy dark comedy masterpiece about social category made history in the Academy Awards, getting the very first non-English talking movie to win Best Picture. The South Korean movie also made strides, winning Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. The enormous wins for The Farewell and Parasite were benchmarks for both Asians and Asian Americans, but only a week ahead, Birds of Prey premiered in theatres. On the outside, the Warner Bros. pic can look to be an action-packed, candy-coated mind excursion of comic book film, but the film is a nuanced touchstone of Asian American representation — and despite the fact that it targets Harley Quinn’s storyline, the narrative could be nothing without Cassandra Cain, played with sin Ella Jay Basco.

Basco with throw of’Birds of Prey’
Warner Bros.

In the middle of Birds of Prey is Basco’s Cassandra, an orphaned pick pocketer together with all the mouth of a sailor — however, a heart of gold. In the film, everybody is seeking to nab her because she retains the MacGuffin (at the most improbable location ) which everybody is later. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn takes her under her wing and mentors her since they finally team up with Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) to shoot on Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), maybe the douchiest and many funniest comic book film villain thus far.  The comic book film shows is not a straight-forward Asian story, but it demonstrates that one is not crucial to provide representation.

Half Korean and half Filipino, Basco is among the several Asian celebrities in the Cathy Yan-directed film. Ali Wong seems as Montoya’s ex-girlfriend (intersectionality!) While the narrative is peppered with Asian actors during including Dana Lee and François Chau. But behind the camera, there’s a good representation of Asian ability. Yan directs a script out of Christina Hodson, who’s of Taiwanese descent while Oscar-nominated Matthew Libatique, a Filipino American, serves as manager. Additionally, the stunt group is full of representation such as Jonathan”Jojo” Eusebio and Jon Valera, that function as stunt coordinators for 87Eleven.

Basco’s function is important because she’s an Asian American female guide who’s a part of an outfit comic book pic — it might well be first. At 13 years old, she’s blazing a path for Asian American women that want to find themselves on screen. Basco is quite mindful of the of her place as a Hollywood representative of the Native American civilization — something which she did not even see much of when she was growing up.

Basco in ‘Birds of Prey’
Warner Bros.

“I believe as though Asians are the largest minority in terms of not being represented,” Basco informs Deadline. “I could think of other young African American child actors or others of different races and away from the top of my mind, I can not even think about Asian American child actors since we are more of this minority. I believe we are definitely changing the lay of this land, but in precisely the exact same timewe have such a long way to go.”

Basco in the World Premiere for’Birds of Prey’ at a traditional Korean hanbok
Photo by Tim P. Whitby

Basco is honored to become a part of a age where diversity and inclusion are predominant along with mind at Hollywood. She speaks about her legacy and it revealed when she attended the London premiere of Birds of Prey where she donned a dress that seemed like a hybrid of a traditional Korean hanbok plus also a baro’t saya, a habitual Filipino dress.

With Birds of Prey, she had been eager to perform on a job that has been fronted by girls — varied girls to be particular. She says it was”eye-opening” to come to place daily to use Cathy. “I think we are definitely starting a move and I truly hope other young Asian American women can observe they are sometimes represented in the neighborhood as not the Native American woman but more as themselves,” she explained. “I believe that is super important and I think that it should become a standard to view more diversity across the business.”

In case it feels like Basco is wise beyond her years, she’s. However, she isn’t precocious in way that echoes that of an insufferable young, know-it-all personality using a catchphrase from prime time network TV. Rather, she’s grounded and is evidence which you’re able to speak to young people such as a grownup — but she maintains a youthful allure. You think her exactly what she says and it is not a stock response caused by media training. She is the actual deal — and it is likely because her family asserts is suspended in Hollywood.

Her dad, Derek Basco is a performer and producer as well as also her uncle Dion Basco is also an actor who had been seen from the classic show City Men in addition to the 2003 pic Biker Boyz which also starred her other uncle Dante Basco, who’s also famous for his iconic character as Rufio at Steven Spielberg’s Peter Pan dream Twist . All three of these brothers arose at the Filipino-American coming-of-age play The Debut and will return at the coming The Fabulous Filipino Brothers.  Additionally, her uncle Jaeden Martell starred at the IT franchise and Knives Out while her aunt Andrea Walter is a filmmaker who helmed the indie Empty By Style and will be the DP from the above The Fabulous Filipino Brothers.

Basco and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in ‘Birds of Prey’
Warner Bros.

“I really feel as if I would not know as much as I do now about the sector because I’ve resources like my father, my uncles and my mother…and I feel as if I would not even like or know it when I did not have a relationship with anyone else near me who knows the market,” she explained. She also admits she enters the business with an edge since she sees it in another perspective and with numerous family members that also serve as role models.

Along with her loved ones, Basco appears to other celebrities who started their careers at a young age and navigated the Hollywood landscape to become big players in the business. She cites Natalie Portman, Jodi Foster and Leonardo DiCaprio as affects. Out of her immediate family, she sees Asian actresses such as Sandra Oh and Awkwafina as part models.

The character of Cassandra Cain initially emerged at the DC comics in 1999. An Asian American educated from birth become an assassin, she stepped to the Bat-family as Batgirl. Unlike Batman, she teetered the lineup of superhero and supervillain. More recently, writer Sara Kuhn and artist Nicole Goux composed Shadow of this Batgirl, a graphic novel that provides a new source story to the teenaged assassin. However, with Birds of Prey, Cassandra understands another story because she becomes Harley Quinn’s apprentice. All the time, it keeps in the spirit of this source material.

Basco with Margot Robbie in ‘Birds of Prey’
Warner Bros.

When Basco was pitched the use of Cassandra, she did not even know she had been enjoying her. “They did not even pitch it for me personally as Birds of Prey, it had been simply pitched me as a graded R act film possibly with Harley Quinn led by an Asian American lady,” she explained. “nobody put it in my mind that it was likely to be Birds of Prey so that I really did not even expect it to be this type of huge scale film.”

She learned that she landed the job when her parents picked her up from school. “I was certainly freaking out since I knew this could be my big break,” she explained. “Frankly, I thought they were sort of pranking me since I couldn’t believe it.”

Basco admits it was difficult to be humble because of just how large of a role that was, but finally she remained grounded in a her first significant feature function that wouldn’t just be her big break, but could be an chance to become among those faces of the next generation of Asian American representation in Hollywood. With this, she points out,”I feel a bit more refreshed to find folks who look like me represented locally.”