- Warner Bros. Discovery canceled Batgirl reportedly due to a tax write-off, contradicting statements about the film’s quality from studio executives.
- Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah praised Brendan Fraser’s “Oscar-worthy” performance in Batgirl, highlighting its blend of Nolan and Burton tones and practical effects.
- The cancellation of Batgirl raises questions about trust between filmmakers and studios, with fans wondering if DC is truly on the right track under new leadership.
Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood comeback was not only in The Whale, but Batgirl, too. The directors had strong things to say about his performance that further conflicted with statements made by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and DC Studios CEO Peter Safran on why the DC film that included more of Michael Keaton’s Batman was canceled.
Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly canceled Batgirl because of a tax write-off, an unprecedented incident following the completion of its principal photography, even for WB. Safran and Zaslav later expressed Batgirl as “un-releasable” and not on par with the quality expected from DC. Leslie Grace responded to the studio executives’ Batgirl comments, disagreeing that the film’s cancelation had anything to do with its quality. Now, Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah add fuel to the fire while discussing Fraser’s excellent performance in the shelved HBO Max original film that, like Blue Beetle, would have starred a Latinx actor in the main role.
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During an interview with Yahoo, El Arbi said Fraser gave an “Oscar-worthy” performance in a movie the directors describe as having a tone that “was really a blend between Nolan and Burton,” with practical sets and miniatures instead of CGI. “Gotham City was a more realistic world, and the story was very straightforward and emotional. It was more of an actor’s movie without a lot of visual effects,” El Abri said. From what Fraser has stated about Firefly in Batgirl, the character’s story would have been a sympathetic tale hitting home for audiences, as Firefly was a veteran driven to crime from a lack of benefits, which presumably allowed the actor to pull from aspects in the real world to influence his performance.
At a time when the DC franchise is supposed to be shifting gears in an exciting direction under the new leadership of James Gunn and Safran, Fraser’s thoughts on what happened to Batgirl state the opposite. Fraser said these decisions made by WBD lead to less trust between filmmakers and studios, not unlike how Warner Bros. treated Zack Snyder and David Ayer in the early days of the DCEU. Some fans may wonder if DC is on the right path or if it is smoke and mirrors under the guise of WBD repeating similar patterns that lead them off a cliff with Geoff Johns and Joss Whedon’s hijacking of Justice League in the first place, now seen by some in the decision of Zaslav to hire another MCU director to steer the DC ship.
The question remains: was Batgirl as bad as Safran claimed, or was Batgirl not coinciding with the plans being developed by Warner Bros. (who had yet to appoint Gunn and Safran as the creative directors of the upcoming DCU when the film was canceled)? Either way, the axing of Batgirl only adds to the controversial reputation that now precedes WBD. Still, similar to the Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad and the success story of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, hopefully, Batgirlcan see the light of day one day.
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