Ella Jay Basco stars as Cassandra Cain in Margot Robbie's Birds of Prey

By Alexia Fernández
February 06, 2020 11:13 AM
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Margot Robbie‘s Birds of Prey flies into theaters this Friday and breakout star Ella Jay Basco is already taking Hollywood by storm.

The 13-year-old actress stars as Cassandra Cain in the film, a talented pickpocket who swindles a valuable item away from the narcissistic crime boss Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) only to find herself as a team member of the all-female superhero group Birds of Prey, headed by Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

While Basco is just a teenager, she’s able to hold her own among older, more established costars such as Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ali Wong and Chris Messina.

Here’s all about Hollywood’s latest breakout actress.

1. Getting the role was “so emotional.”

In an interview on The View with her costars on Tuesday, Basco said Birds of Prey was her very first movie role and that it was “so unexpected.”

“I was coming home from school and my mom and dad got their camera out — they looked so weird — and my agents were on the phone and they were videotaping me and my agent says, ‘You booked the job,'” she recalled.

Basco continued, “It was just so emotional for me and my parents were just screaming their heads off for me. It was super emotional and so unexpected that I would even be here and part of this whole experience.”

2. Basco prepped for her role by watching some classic Hollywood films.

In a Q&A for Google, Basco answered some questions on how she prepared for her big role.

“I actually read a bunch of comic books. My dad bought me a big stack when I first found out I got the role,” she said.

She also turned to other actresses performances who also started their careers as teenagers, such as Natalie Portman.

“I watched Taxi Driver, I watched The Professional to really get an idea of a young girl who is super vulnerable and independent,” Basco said.

Basco’s first TV role was a small part on Grey’s Anatomy.

Ella Jay Basco
| Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty

3. She comes from an acting family.

Basco is the niece of Dion and Dante Basco, who are both actors. Dion has starred in the NBC show City Guys as Alberto Ramos.

Dante is perhaps best known as Rufio in Hook, as well as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Touched by an Angel and Moesha.

Her dad, Derek Basco, is also an actor, having appeared in This Is 40, Six Days Seven Nights, The First Purge, and working with his brothers on their own upcoming film The Fabulous Filipino Brothers.

4. She can also sing — and even created a song for her “celebrity crush” Tom Holland.

Besides acting, Basco also has a love for singing and has recently shared videos of herself singing her own songs on YouTube.

She uploaded a song called “String” in July 2019, written by her and her older brother Darryl J. Basco for an “upcoming album” titled Middle School.

“I wrote this song about my celebrity crush… TOM HOLLAND,” Basco wrote in the notes of the video.

She’s also worked on another original song called “Grow Up Kid,” which she also co-wrote with her brother, and which features her singing in Korean. Basco can also play the ukulele, piano and guitar.

5. She loves Billie Eilish.

In a conversation with Dante on his YouTube channel series Covers8 in January 2019, she said she admired Eilish and the similarities between them.

“A lot of teenage girls listen to her,” she explained to Dante. “Also the reason I like her is her older brother produces with her and he plays guitar and they work together.”

“They write songs together like how we do,” she added.

Birds of Prey is in theaters Friday.