The 2021 musical In the Heights might’ve been actress and singer Leslie Grace’s debut film performance, but when the Dominican-American performer was cast in the title role of the DC’s superhero flick Batgirl, fans started to prepare to see Grace’s career launch into the stratosphere.
That all came to a crashing halt this week when Warner Bros. Discovery announced it would not release Batgirl on HBO Max or at theaters since the movie no longer fit into the “strategic shift” the studio was taking after WarnerMedia officially merged with Discovery, Inc. this past April. In fact, the studio decided to cut its losses (approximately $90 million) and shelve the movie indefinitely, so it could allegedly take a tax write-off and recoup the cost of the film.
It seems like Grace took a full day to let the news sink in before reacting diplomatically on social media Wednesday evening (August 3).
“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 7 months in Scotland,” Grace wrote. “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!’”
Directors El Arbi and Fallahof shared a similar sentiment the day before when they released a joint statement. Although El Arbi and Fallahof didn’t comment on the reasons behind their movie getting shelved, they did release a joint statement expressing how “saddened and shocked” they were about the news.
“We still can’t believe it,” they wrote. “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 had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah.”
El Arbi and Fallahof went on to thank their “amazing cast and crew” for the “tremendous job” they did to “bring Batgirl to life.” They specifically named Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front and lead actress Leslie Grace who they said portrayed the title character “with so much passion, dedication and humanity.”
They added: “In any case, as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU, even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl for Life.”
We’re confident El Arbi, Fallahof, and Grace will bounce back from this as their careers continue, but it’s a tough pill to swallow nonetheless – for them and for fans.