HBO Max has found its Batgirl. Previously, it had been reported that a live-action Batgirl movie was in the works at HBO Max, though not much else has been revealed about the project since. This week, a major casting update brought about the news that the project had narrowed down the shortlist of actresses in consideration for the titular role. Per Deadline, the list included Isabella Merced, Zoey Deutch, Haley Lu Richardson, and Leslie Grace.
After these recent screen tests, Warner Bros. and DC Films have reportedly decided to go with Leslie Grace to play the live-action Barbara Gordon in Batgirl. The studio is said to have been high up on the rising star already after she impressed audiences and critics with her breakout role in In the Heights. Her subsequent audition reportedly sealed the deal according to Deadline, though the studio hasn't yet provided an official comment.
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life) are directing Batgirl using a screenplay by Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, The Flash). Kristin Burr is on board to produce. No additional casting information has yet been announced, and plot details are still under wraps. What is known is that the movie will follow Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon who dons the cape and cowl as Batgirl.
Created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, Batgirl has been appearing in DC Comics stories since her debut in Batman No. 139 in 1961. Initially, her secret identity was named Betty Kane, though Barbara Gordon has since become the most established version of the character. She is often left paralyzed by the Joker in many Batman comic books, video games, and animated movies, though she continues to assist Batman with his crime-fighting under the new name Oracle.
The last live-action Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, was played by Yvonne Craig in the third season of the original Batman TV series. In 1997's Batman & Robin, Alicia Silverstone played a version of Batgirl whose real name was Barbara Wilson. Dina Meyer played the Oracle version of Barbara in the original Birds of Prey TV series and Jete Laurence played a pre-Batgirl Barbara in the prequel series Gotham. In Titans season 3, Barbara will be played by Savannah Welch, though this takes place after she has been paralyzed and retired as Batgirl.
A rising star, Leslie Grace is best known for her role as Nina Rosario in Jon M. Chu's movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning musical In the Heights. The movie drew very high praise from critics with Grace in particular earning a lot of acclaim. Grace is also an accomplished singer-songwriter, having earned three Latin Grammy Award nominations. She won Best Collaboration at the Nickelodeon Mexico Kids' Choice Awards in 2018 for the song "Lo Siento" with Super Junior and Play-N-Skillz.
An official release date on HBO Max hasn't been set for Batgirl, but it's been reported that the movie is scheduled for Warner Bros. Pictures' 2022-2023 release slate. It remains to be seen if the movie will tie directly into the DCEU and if we might see Grace in any other projects at Warner Bros. and DC Films. This news comes to us from Deadline.