Batgirl Star Leslie Grace Reacts to Film's Cancellation
Batgirl star Leslie Grace has broken her silence on the DC Extended Universe film's abrupt cancellation.
"Querida familia! On the heels of the recent news about our movie Batgirl, I am proud of the love, hard work and intention all of our incredible cast and tireless crew put into this film over [seven] months in Scotland," Grace wrote on Instagram, sharing various behind-the-scenes photos and videos from Batgirl. "I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan - THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, 'my own damn hero!'"
Grace was set to star in Batgirl as main protagonist Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. The film also would have starred J.K. Simmons as James Gordon, Ivory Aquino as Alysia Yeoh, Jacob Scipio as Anthony Bressi, Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Brendan Fraser as Ted Carson/Firefly. The film was expected to premiere exclusively on HBO Max sometime this year, though there were murmurs of a potential theatrical release.
Batgirl's Cancellation Is Unprecedented
On Aug. 2, the New York Post reported that Warner Bros. had opted to scrap Batgirl outright, despite the fact that the film was deep into production and, according to some, effectively finished. The Post cited poor reception at test screenings for the film's cancellation. However, while other outlets subsequently confirmed that Batgirl would not release on any platform, claims that Warner Bros.' decision had anything to with the film's quality were soon rebuffed. "Studio insiders insist the decision was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio's slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale," Variety wrote.
Batgirl was not the only nearly-completed film Warner Bros. decided to cancel. The studio also axed the animated featureScoob! Holiday Haunt, the planned sequel to the 2021 Scooby-Doo reboot film Scoob!. Variety provided another possible explanation for the films being canceled, reporting that Warner Bros. Discovery would be taking tax write-down on Batgirl and Holiday Haunt, which is "seen internally as the most financially sound way to recoup the costs (at least, on an accountant’s ledger)." If Warner Bros. does indeed go that route, it would be unable to monetize either film in the future.
In its own official statement, Warner Bros. said, "The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership's strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future."
Whatever the case may be, the decision to cancel Batgirl when it was so close to completion has been met with a range of reactions. An unnamed executive from a rival studio was reportedly "floored" by the move. "Worked in this town for three decades and this is some unprecedented shit right here," they said. Meanwhile, fans who were looking forward to the film's release have launched social media campaigns in an effort to reverse Warner Bros.' decision.
In their own statement, Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah said they were "saddened and shocked" by the news. "As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves," they continued.
Source: Instagram, via Variety