Brendan Fraser already shared his two cents about Batgirl’s cancellation last month, calling the move “disappointing” and praising the talents of lead actress Leslie Grace. But the ongoing press tour for his latest film, The Whale (which is currently netting him early Oscar buzz), is giving him more opportunities to discuss all the hard work that went into giving Barbara Gordon her own solo vehicle. And thanks to a new cover story from Variety, we know that the scrapped DC movie featured more practical effects than some fans may have been expecting.
Fraser was cast in Batgirl as Firefly, the pyromaniac supervillain who usually appears as an enemy of Batman. Naturally, the character’s flamethrowing abilities must have required some degree of CGI enhancements. But according to Fraser, the filmmakers brought a more grounded sensibility to the movie’s production.
“It’s tragic,” said Fraser. “It doesn’t engender trust among filmmakers and the studio. Leslie Grace was fantastic. She’s a dynamo, just a spot-on performer. Everything that we shot was real and exciting and just the antithesis of doing a straightforward digital all green screen thing. They ran firetrucks around downtown Glasgow at 3 in the morning and they had flamethrowers. It was a big-budget movie, but one that was just stripped down to the essentials.”
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Given the genre’s typical preference for green screens, taking the practical approach definitely could have set Batgirl apart from its superhero forebears. The film was being developed as an HBO Max exclusive prior to the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. But once CEO David Zaslav and his new regime took over, they opted to shelve the project and take a tax write-off rather than give it a theatrical release.
Right now, it sounds like the only version of Batgirl that exists is a “rough cut” put together by directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, which was presented to test audiences and also had a handful of “funeral screenings” on the Warner Bros. lot following the cancellation. However, Fraser claims he hasn’t watched it yet.
“I don’t eat half baked cake,” added Fraser. “Everything that Adil and Bilall shot felt real and exciting.”
Are you still hoping to see Fraser’s work in Batgirl someday? Let us know in the comment section below!
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