Brendan Fraser already has DC Comics cred under his belt from playing Cliff Steele/Robotman in the HBO Max show Doom Patrol, but up until early August, he was also set to make his DC movies debut in Batgirl, where he played the pyromanic Firefly. Unfortunately for him and everyone else who worked on Barbara Gordon’s first solo cinematic outing, Warner Bros. Discovery cancelled Batgirl despite it having already been shot and being deep into post-production. This decision is still being frequently discussed, and Fraser has now shared his thoughts on Batgirl never getting to see the light of day.
In the midst of promoting his new movie The Whale, for which he’s been receiving a lot of praise, at the Toronto International Film Festival, Brendan Fraser was asked by Variety how he felt about Batgirl being scrapped, and the actor’s statement on the subject including complimenting Leslie Grace, who’d been cast as the title superhero, and pointing out that this movie was specifically envisioned to be delivered straight to HBO Max subscribers. In his words:
While Darren Aronofsky directed Brendan Fraser in The Whale, Batgirl saw the actor working with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who previously helmed 2020’s Bad Boys for Life. Clearly Fraser thinks highly of the work that went into putting Batgirl together, particularly Leslie Grace’s performance, and he’s certainly not alone in being disappointed that that it’s no longer being released. Hopefully he was among the select individuals who was invited to the Batgirl “funeral screenings” to see the recorded footage before it’s locked up tighter than the entrance to the Batcave. More importantly, Fraser sees Batgirl’s cancellation as a potential warning for how other straight-to-streaming movies could be handled by studios going forward.
Batgirl being scrapped came out of a new mandate from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav for DC movies to be “big theatrical events films.” Although Batgirl’s budget had reportedly grown to $90 million, the studio wasn’t willing to pour more money into the project to make it more of a theatrical affair, as had been done last December with Blue Beetle. As a result, Batgirl was written off as a tax break, and Leslie Grace, Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah and the rest of the cast and crew didn’t learn that their movie was being shelved until the public did. Last week, Warner Bros. CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said that the Batgirl decision was blown out of proportion by the media, and before giving his main statement to Variety, Brendan Fraser joked about how they shouldn’t be talking about Batgirl because of what Wiedenfels had said.
Sadly we’ll never see Brendan Fraser set Gotham City ablaze as Firefly, but you’ll be able to see his performance in The Whale when it opens wide on December 9. Fraser is also starring in the 2023 movies Killers of the Flower Moon and Brothers.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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