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HomeNewsBatgirl: Brendan Fraser and Leslie Grace heard of cancellation through media reports

Batgirl: Brendan Fraser and Leslie Grace heard of cancellation through media reports

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There’s no doubt the whole Batgirl cancellation saga was pretty brutal.

But it’s now been revealed just how savage the episode really was. Stars Leslie Grace and Brendan Fraser both found out their $US90 million movie had been canned through news reports.

“I thought I was getting punked, but it checked out,” Fraser told Variety of the moments after he read that Batgirl would be shelved.

“Then came the hysterical laughter like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me?’”

Fraser was particularly surprised by the culling because he knew the filmmakers and producers had been expecting to hear from the studio but there had been no indication that the axe was going to swing.

He said: “The anticipation was, ‘How do we broaden the movie out to take it from a streaming format to a theatrical release?’ But as we all know, it was the complete opposite. When we were expecting XYZ amount of support and money to expand scenes – that was a gut punch.

“But then we learned that it was in the interests of writing down some debt? That part really stung.”

Grace, who played the titular superhero over its months-long shoot in Scotland, said she also found out the news through the press.

“And then my phone just started blowing up,” she said.

The studio decided to write down the cost of the production instead of spending more money to finish, market and release it, taking advantage of special circumstances in the aftermath of the merger between Warner Bros and Discovery.

The movie had been slated for Warner Bros’ American streaming service, HBO Max.

Initial reports suggested the test screenings for the film directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah weren’t positive, while the new co-chief executive of DC Studios Peter Safran, who was not involved in the decision to shelve Batgirl, called the film “not releasable”.

But Grace defended the work. She said she saw an incomplete cut of the film that had been shown to test audiences.

“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.

“There was definitely potential for a good film, in my opinion. Maybe we’ll get to see clips of it later on,” Grace told Variety.

In a separate interview with Variety, Fraser, who played Batgirl’s nemesis Firefly in the movie, said he hasn’t seen it – “I don’t eat a half-baked cake, it wasn’t ready” – and has no idea if it will ever be released in any form.

“To the best of my knowledge, it’s in a vault or worse. I’ll be hopeful that there will be a reconsideration, but until then, you’ll just to take our word that we’re really proud of the work we did,” he said on the red carpet at the Oscars luncheon.

Batgirl was to be the first solo screen project for the comic book character who first appeared in print in 1961.

In addition to Grace and Fraser, Batgirl also featured Michael Keaton, who was reprising his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne. He first played the character in Tim Burton’s 1989 movie and the 1992 sequel Batman Returns.

Keaton will also pull on Batman’s iconic cowl in the upcoming The Flash movie, which released its first full trailer yesterday. The Flash movie will involve parallel universes, which allows it to incorporate both Keaton’s version of the character as well as Ben Affleck’s.

Perhaps if the enthusiasm for Keaton’s return becomes undeniable, there is the possibility his work as the Dark Knight in Batgirl will still see the light of day.

In the 10 years since director Zack Snyder relaunched DC’s film projects with Man Of Steel, it has been creatively inconsistent, ranging from Snyder’s grim and polarising work to the more jovial entries such as Shazam.

Meanwhile, the TV projects such as the Arrowverse shows have been put out separate to the big screen continuity.

Behind-the-scenes dramas and changeovers in its executive team hasn’t helped DC in competing against its rival Marvel, where boss Kevin Feige was increasingly given creative control since the release of Iron Man in 2008.

Late last year, Warner Bros recruited filmmaker James Gunn (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and his producing partner Safran as co-chief executives. Gunn and Safran earlier this month revealed the first titles in their 10-year plan to revamp DC Studios.

Their initial projects including a reboot of Superman and Green Lantern, as a Game of Thrones-style political drama set on Wonder Woman’s home island of Themyscira.

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