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‘Batgirl’ Actress Ivory Aquino Begs WB Discovery ‘Cog’ David Zaslav to Release Diverse DC Film

Aquino was poised to be the first trans actor in a live-action DC movie.

Ivory Aquino

Ivory Aquino

Getty

Batgirl” star Ivory Aquino took to social media to state the case for why the diverse “underdog” DC installment should be released.

Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed earlier this month that “Batgirl,” starring Leslie Grace, JK Simmons, Michael Keaton, and Brendan Fraser, would no longer receive an HBO Max or any release. The film was directed by “Ms. Marvel” and “Bad Boys for Life” filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and still in the post-production phase, with VFX effects still needed.

Aquino, who was set to become the first trans actor in a live-action DC film and played Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl’s best friend, tweeted a letter to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to release the feature.

“As much as ‘Batgirl ‘has been labeled a woke film, it simply came together that way because of writing that reflects the world we live in,” Aquino wrote. “As one of many who poured our hearts into the making of this movie, I ask that this measure be reconsidered. As much as I’ve tried my best to be strong these past few weeks, I’d find myself crying, for lack of a better term, from grief, and tonight was one of those nights.”

Aquino was inspired to open up about the “Batgirl” cancellation after reading a Hollywood Reporter article that claimed Warner Bros. Discovery was holding “funeral screenings” for the movie before allegedly destroying it. (IndieWire has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment on these screenings that allegedly took place on the studio lot.)

Co-directors El Arbi and Fallah also recently claimed the studio blocked their access to the production servers to potentially finish the comic book movie. The duo also shut down rumors that “Batgirl” was indefinitely shelved due to poor test screenings and was instead because of a “strategic change” to save money with a tax write-off.

On Twitter, writing directly to Zaslav, actress Aquino penned, “I can only endeavor to understand how one feels when tasked with tending to the bottom line like you have. I can’t even begin to imagine what one in your position goes through having such great responsibility to attend to. I do know and ask, with something like ‘Batgirl’ that’s a product of our hearts and souls, that the little cogs not simply be seen as widgets whose fates are determined by an equation to benefit the bottom line. More than widgets, we are fellow human beings and artists who, when given the chance, can outperform the equation and multiply the bottom line exponentially.”

The “When We Rise” star claimed Zaslav is “one large cog atop increasingly small cogs underneath,” adding, “One seemingly small movement by this large cog may seem relatively tiny, but for those little cogs at the bottom, they can be spinning ten-fold and the effects can be seismic.”

Aquino concluded, “Consider releasing ‘Batgirl.’ She’s always been an underdog and has nowhere to go but up.”

The actress previously wrote on Instagram applauding the diversity both behind and in front of the camera for the DC feature.

“A female-written female-produced film starring an Afro-Latina (angel!) & directed by Muslim Moroccan-Belgian wunderkinds (with a female assistant director) about a female character (as imagined by a female comic book writer) who forges her own path to uplift the lives of those around her including her trans best friend, deserves to be seen & will find a way,” Aquino wrote. “There is no price tag on that.”

Zaslav previously stated that scrapping “Batgirl” was part of a way to “protect the DC brand” and evolve in a new direction.

Read Aquino’s full letter to the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO below.

Dear Mr. Zaslav,

I just read an article @THR about supposed ‘funeral screenings’ of #Batgirl and the possibility afterwards that the film footage would be destroyed.. if this is the case, as one of many who poured our hearts into the making of this movie, I ask that this measure be reconsidered. As much as I’ve tried my best to be strong these past few weeks, I’d find myself crying, for lack of a better term, from grief, and tonight was one of those nights. As much as ‘Batgirl ‘has been labeled a woke film, it simply came together that way because of writing that reflects the world we live in. For me, more than anything, it is a father-daughter story which hits close to home as my Dad passed a year ago, shortly before I booked this project, and I was hoping it would resonate with other children around the world, grown and not-so-grown, who hold their fathers in the highest esteem and who could see Batgirl as a story of that special bond.

I’ve found myself not being able to talk about this ordeal with anyone. I realized that no one, apart from those involved with the film, would truly understand what we’re feeling. And talking about it with my castmates, I feel, might be akin to rubbing salt on a still-open wound. My heart goes out to @LeslieGrace and our beloved directors and entire crew & cast who spent months dedicating their all to this endeavor.

Leslie checked in on me the day we found out of the shelving and only had words of comfort and support. I’ve dared not ask since if she’s spent nights holding back tears like I have because she has had to be the face of our ‘Batgirl’ family and has had to put on a brave face as a way of taking care of us the way she gracefully steered our film.

Tonight I finally got to talk with a dear friend here about these intense feelings who shared with me an anecdote which helped provide inspiration for this letter to you. They said the head of a company is like one large cog atop increasingly smaller cogs underneath. One seemingly small movement by this large cog may seem relatively tiny, but for those little cogs at the bottom, they can be spinning ten-fold and the effects can be seismic.

I can only endeavor to understand how one feels when tasked with tending to the bottom line like you have. I can’t even begin to imagine what one in your position goes through having such great responsibility to attend to. I do know and ask, with something like ‘Batgirl’ that’s a product of our hearts and souls, that the little cogs not simply be seen as widgets whose fates are determined by an equation to benefit the bottom line. More than widgets, we are fellow human beings and artists who, when given the chance, can outperform the equation and multiply the bottom line exponentially.

If a month ago, there wasn’t a marketing budget for ‘Batgirl,’ I’d venture to say that that has been taken care of by the turn of events these past few weeks. We’ve been fortunate to have such amazing supporters since the beginning, from Glasgow where we filmed and from all over the world. Now, more people know about our labor of love and are eager to see the movie. I do hope you get to read this letter. Consider releasing ‘Batgirl.’ She’s always been an underdog and has nowhere to go but up.

 

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