Leslie Grace defends spiked ‘Batgirl’ movie: ‘There was definitely potential for a good film’

“It was like deflating a balloon.” That’s how Leslie Grace, the 28-year-old winner of three Latin Grammys and star of “In The Heights,” described learning that Warner Bros. Discovery took the unusual step to shelve the already-shot film “Batgirl.” The actress spoke recently with Variety in her first major interview since the surprise decision.

Brendan Fraser’s first reaction was: “You’ve got to be kidding me?” He had finished shooting his turn as the comic book villain Firefly and was most excited about people seeing his co-star. “A whole generation of little girls are going to have to wait longer to see a Batgirl and say, ‘Hey, she looks like me,’” Fraser, a Best Actor nominee this year for “The Whale,” said. “I know how good she was. And I know what this would mean to so many people.”


In August 2022, the $90 million Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah-directed HBO Max project was killed in favor of a tax write-down by new CEO David Zaslav following a poor test screening. In late October, James Gunn and Peter Safran were hired by the studio to take the DC Comics intellectual properties and shepherd them in a new, unified direction. Last month, Safran was asked about “Batgirl” and defended the decision to bury the project.

“Batgirl’s a character that inevitably we will include in our story,” he said. “On the ‘Batgirl’ front, it’s not about late in the process of the film getting canceled. I saw the movie, and there are a lot of incredibly talented people in front of and behind the camera on that film. But that film was not releasable, and it happens sometimes. That film was not releasable. I actually think that [president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David] Zaslav and the team made a very bold and courageous decision to cancel it because it would have hurt DC. It would have hurt those people involved.”

Grace, however, remains stung by the choice. The actress said she learned the news when the New York Post broke the story “like the rest of you.” She also says she never quite got a definitive answer on how the movie was “not releasable” and would have hurt the wider DC brand, as Safran claimed. Grace says she met with the studio brass and “they weren’t really specific on anything creative in terms of what they felt about the film and how it would’ve hurt DC creatively.” She added that she did see the most up-to-date cut that tested poorly (which still had scenes missing) and that “the film that I got to see—the scenes that were there—was incredible. There was definitely potential for a good film, in my opinion.” Grace added, “maybe we’ll get to see clips of it later on.”

Though Gunn and Safran have never reached out to her, she is aware that since Batman and his orbit of characters are still in the works (and in multiple universes) at DC, it isn’t far-fetched to think Batgirl may show up again. “We’ve definitely had conversations about Batgirl’s future and how Batgirl can make a resurgence. I think fans are looking forward to seeing that.” Grace added, though, that “the last thing that I would want to do is give folks any kind of inkling of something that I have not much control over—as we’ve learned.”

The Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have since signed on to “Bad Boys 4.”

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