“As much as I’ve tried my best to be strong these past few weeks, I’d find myself crying … from grief.”
One of the stars of Warner Bros.’ shelved “Batgirl” movie is begging for David Zaslav to reconsider the movie — issuing a public plea for the movie to be released.
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter claimed the studio was holding “funeral screenings” of the film for the cast, crew and executives before locking the movie away forever — or even possibly destroying the footage altogether. After reading the report, star Ivory Aquino — a trans actress playing trans character Alysia Yeoh, something which would have been a major milestone for a DC superhero film — took to Twitter to post a letter to Zaslav.
“Dear Mr. Zaslav, I just read an article @THR about supposed ‘funeral screenings’ of #Batgirl and the possibility afterwards that the film footage would be destroyed … if this is the case, as one of many who poured our hearts into the making of this movie, I ask that this measure be reconsidered,” she wrote. “As much as I’ve tried my best to be strong these past few weeks, I’d find myself crying, for lack of a better term, from grief, and tonight was one of those nights.”
“As much as Batgirl has been labeled a woke film, it simply came together that way because of writing that reflects the world we live in,” she continued. “For me, more than anything, it is a father-daughter story which hits close to home as my Dad passed a year ago, shortly before I booked this project, and I was hoping it would resonate with other children around the world, grown and not-so-grown, who hold their fathers in the highest esteem and who could see Batgirl as a story of that special bond.”
Aquino said it has been difficult for her to talk about the movie’s shocking cancelation with anyone, including her costars. That being said, she did speak with star Leslie Grace — who played the titular superhero — the day they learned the movie was shelved.
Saying Grace “only had words of comfort and support,” Aquino said, “I’ve dared not ask since if she’s spent nights holding back tears like I have because she has had to be the face of our Batgirl family and has had to put on a brave face as a way of taking care of us the way she gracefully steered our film.”
Though she said she couldn’t even imagine the position Zaslav is in regarding the bottom line at Warner Bros. Discovery, she asked him to not think of the movie and those who worked on it as simply cogs in the machine. “More than widgets, we are fellow human beings and artists who, when given the chance, can outperform the equation and multiply the bottom line exponentially,” she continued.
“If a month ago, there wasn’t a marketing budget for Batgirl, I’d venture to say that that has been taken care of by the turn of events these past few weeks,” she added. “We’ve been fortunate to have such amazing supporters since the beginning, from Glasgow where we filmed and from all over the world. Now, more people know about our labor of love and are eager to see the movie. I do hope you get to read this letter. Consider releasing Batgirl. She’s always been an underdog and has nowhere to go but up.”
Gail Simone, who created Aquino’s character and has been a longtime writer for Batgirl comics retweeted the Twitter thread — adding, “I could not be more proud to know her than I am at this moment. Please read her heartfelt words and share them.”
When “Batgirl” was canned, Warner Bros. Discovery said the decision “reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max.” The studio added, “Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance.”
In an earnings call, the studio further explained that they will not be releasing DC universe films on their streaming platform and are instead focusing solely on theatrical releases going forward.