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Brendan Fraser Criticizes Batgirl's Cancelation: 'It Doesn't Engender Trust'

CBR 10/12/2022 André Joseph
© Provided by CBR

Batgirl star Brendan Fraser broke his silence to criticize the DC Extended Universe film's cancelation.

Fraser sat down with Variety for a cover story about his critically-acclaimed performance in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale. The interview turned to the topic of Warner Bros-Discovery's decision to cancel HBO Max's Leslie Grace-led Batgirl film. Cast in the DCEU film as the villainous pyromaniac Firefly, Fraser called the studio's call to permanently shelve the project "tragic."

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"It doesn't engender trust among filmmakers and the studio," Fraser said. "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."

Fraser's latter point was a key reason for WB-Discovery's controversial choice. In August, a New York Post report stated that Batgirl had irredeemable test screenings. Variety further confirmed that the studio's decision to cancel the $90 million film was driven less by quality "but by the desire for the studio's slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale." When Fraser attended the Toronto International Film Festival after the news broke, the actor had discussed the potential circumstances of Batgirl's cancelation.

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"The movie itself was shot and conceived for a smaller screen," Fraser said. "In this age that we've come out of, between streaming services versus theatrical release, it wound up being the canary in the coal mine."

Batgirl directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were "saddened and shocked" by the troubling news of their project getting the plug pulled by the studio. They went as far as attempting to record Batgirl footage from the studio's editing suites while the film was still in post-production at the time of cancelation. While Fraser never saw a rough cut, he still held the filmmakers in high regard. "I don't eat half-baked cake," Fraser said. "Everything that Adil and Bilall shot felt real and exciting."

When news of Batgirl's cancelation broke, fans of The Mummy star feared it would hurt his chances of a comeback. But after years of box office disappointments and personal struggles, Fraser appears to be on the cusp of a career resurgence with The Whale as well as a supporting role in Martin Scorsese's upcoming film Killers of the Flower Moon. Additionally, Fraser plays Cliff Steele/Robotman in Doom Patrol, which has been renewed for a fourth season.

Source: Variety

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