While all eyes will be on Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn as DC's Birds of Prey rolls out in cinemas, viewers will find a surprising scene stealer in Ella Jay Basco, playing the wayward Cassandra Cain. An actress of Filipino descent, get to know more of the multi-talented young kid sharing the screen alongside Margot and her badass, misfit girl gang.
She’s only 13 years old.
Yep, at the tender age of 13, this kid’s already playing a key role in a major Hollywood franchise. She was born on September 17, 2006 in Los Angeles California.
Ella was born from her Korean mother and Filipino father, hence, her last name being Basco. In an interview with A Book Of magazine, she reveals growing up with the Filipino sense of familial loyalty, saying that a gathering of 20 people in their house almost everyday was the norm.
She’s the niece of Rufio from Hook.
Remember Rufio from the fantasy film Hook best known for his catchphrase, “Bangarang!”? Turns out, he’s Ella’s uncle, Dante Basco. Hailing from a family of actors, including her other uncle Dion Basco, who starred alongside Halle Berry in the 1996 film Race the Sun, it seems Ella’s penchant for acting came as a natural Basco trait.
She’s also a singer.
She doesn’t just excel in acting though. This young Gen-Z can already do more than your average 13-year-old. She plays the guitar, piano, ukelele, sings and writes songs with her older brother Darryl Basco. She currently has two songs under her name on Spotify, namely Grow Up Kid and String.
She’s an advocate for equal opportunity education.
At a young age, Ella already has a clear advocacy that she’s extremely vocal about. “I’m interested in charities and organizations that deal with making sure every underprivileged child gets an education,” she tells A Book Of. “This is super important to me because I don't know what I would do without an education. No matter what circumstances a kid has, they should always have the chance to learn. We are the new generation and if we aren't provided with an education, what do you think will happen to the future of humanity?”
She started her career at six months old.
Ella was a wee little baby at six months old when she first stepped, or rather crawled, into the spotlight, appearing in an old Old Navy print ad.
Her first role was on Grey’s Anatomy.
Her first real acting role though was on the ninth season of Grey’s Anatomy at just five years old. She then went on to guest star in a few American TV shows including Veep, before eventually securing her part as Cassandra Cain in Birds of Prey. The DC movie is her first feature film.
Her favorite Filipino dish is chicken adobo.
In true Filipino fashion, Ella revealed in an interview with ANCX that she harnesses a particular love for chicken adobo. As for the Korean side of her upbringing, she mentions eating kimchi practically every day.
She bought a huge stack of comic books after getting cast in Birds of Prey.
Ella admits to being a comic book reader even before booking the part of Cassandra Cain. Upon finding out that she had gotten the role, she immediately studied up and bought a bunch of comic books to prepare. “I bought this ginormous stack of all the comics, and I just read through all of them, studying,” she reveals in an interview. “And one that really interested me was the origin story of Cassandra Cain and how she lives on the streets and how she gets taken in by Batman and Barbara Gordon. And that was super interesting for me. But I love comics. I had this one teacher in fourth grade where we read comics every Wednesday in class.”
She trained with a magician for the role.
Playing the 12-year-old pickpocket Cassandra Cain for Birds of Prey, Ella had to learn a magician’s sleight of hand to prepare. “I did do some stunt training. I worked with my amazing stunt double, and I also did some other training, some magician training.,” she reveals. “Yeah, that was fun. We had a magician come in and he taught me how to pick pockets and how to flip a coin and make stuff disappear, which was super fun having that individual train me.”