For the first time since August, Leslie Grace has opened up about the Batgirl cancellation. The actress also spoke about possibly returning to DC and the wrap-gift from beloved Brendan Fraser.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Grace talked about the bombshell that was Warner Bros. Discovery deciding to axe the film just as it was so close to completion.
The star said when the rug got pulled out from under her:
I found out like the rest of you, and then my phone just started blowing up.
Similarly, Fraser, who was meant to play the movies villain Firefly, said:
I thought I was getting punked, but it checked out. Then came hysterical laughter like, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” I know that the filmmakers and producers were expecting to hear from the studio about the film, and the anticipation was, “How do we broaden the movie out to take it from a streaming format to a theatrical release?”
As we all know, it was the complete opposite. When we were expecting XYZ amount of support and money to expand scenes – to do pickup shots and those kinds of things – that was a gut punch. But then we learned that it was in the interest of writing down some debt? That part really stung.
He continued to say that he immediately called Grace:
What I find most lamentable is that now a whole generation of little girls are going to have to wait longer to see a Batgirl and say, “Hey, she looks like me”. That makes me sad. I know how good she was. And I know what this would mean to so many people.
It was just magical to see how she was as quietly confident as a young actress in this breakthrough role and had a sense of purpose and dignity. She has a work ethic that is unrivaled. She’s dynamite – and dynamite comes in small packages but still goes bang.
We do battle each other several times. There was a lot of kicking and punching and getting hurt but we would always help each other to our feet after breaking set pieces and knocking the tar out of each other.
When Batgirl was forced to wrap, Fraser gifted Grace a gold necklace that included two charms, a little bell, and a pair of dice.
The card said a lot of really sweet things, but he basically said, “I give you this necklace because in this business you gotta have a little luck. So ring your bell and never stop”. It was just like, Whoa. And after all this, it’s had so much meaning.
During her interview with Variety, Grace was asked what went through her mind when the news came out in August that the movie was being shelved.
It was like deflating a balloon. On that day, I was very much just taking it all in, but also so sure of the magic that happened – in my experience and what I saw in my cast, in our team – that I was like, “This must be some crazy thing that we have no control over.”
I tend to be a very optimistic and positive person in these types of circumstances, and I just really leaned on the beauty of the idea that I got to have this experience in my life. Even though I would’ve loved to share that with the rest of the world, nothing can take that experience away from us.
The new DC Studios head Peter Safran most recently said the movie was “not releasable,” and that it could have could hurt DC.
I had my own meetings with Warner Bros. Film Group CEOs Pam Abdy and Mike De Luca, and they explained to me, on a granular level, what they felt about the project, things that were out of their hands, plans and budgets that were set in place before they were even part of the team.
There are a lot of things that I learned through the experience about moviemaking, that as an actress you have no control over.
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. I’m a human being, and people have perceptions and people read things, so when words are expressed very lightly about work that people really dedicated a lot of time to – not just myself but the whole crew – I can understand how it could be frustrating.
Variety then asked the actress whether there was anything she saw while they were shooting the film that said the movie wasn’t going to work?
I’m not going to lie to you. In every film, there are obstacles, and our film was nothing short of that. Half of the shoot was night shoots in Scotland, where it never stops raining. So there were obstacles, but at the end of the day, because of the incredible crew, nothing that ever got in the way of us delivering what we knew we wanted to deliver for this film. At least from what I was able to see.
The actress didn’t even get to see a final cut of the movie.
That’s the one thing I asked for. I got to see the film as far as it got to; the film wasn’t complete by the time that it was tested. There were a bunch of scenes that weren’t even in there. They were at the beginning of the editing process, and they were cut off because of everything going on at the company. 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. Maybe we’ll get to see clips of it later on.
There were even talks of a sequel.
We still are. We were so excited about all the ideas that we had, because you can see long- term potential in the story that we were beginning to build.
Safran and Gunn still haven’t spoken to Grace. Although, the film had already been shelved when they came onto the scene.
No, I haven’t heard from them. I wish them the best on all the plans that they’ve got rolling out. They’ve got a lot of projects to handle, and it’s not an easy job.
With ‘Matt Reeves’ The Batman getting a sequel, and talk that it will include more of the Bat family. Would Grace consider coming back to play Batgirl?’
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. We’ll just see where that takes us; I can’t say one way or the other if that is a reality at this point.
I can’t speak too much about a future for Bat- girl or guarantee anything. 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.
In previous interviews, Grace had spoken about being a role model for young Latinas. She still had advice.
Oh, man. That your journey is not a mistake. That everything in your journey can be learned from, can be transformative, can be inspirational and aspirational for someone that you might not even know.
I’ve learned that you can make the choice to learn from things and transform it into something that’s positive for you, or you can be down in the dumps, I would say “Just keep going no matter what the obstacle is. If you have a passion for something, don’t let anything that stands in your way tell you that you aren’t worthy, capable, or have the potential to fulfill what you know you’re capable of doing.”
When the news of the Batgirl cancellation dropped, it was a shock to many thoughts who were excited to finally see a Barbara Gordon movie on the big screen. To know that even the actors weren’t told about the cancellation before it was made public is beyond words though. What are your thoughts on this? How do you feel about their sudden choice?
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