From Washington Heights to Gotham, Leslie Grace has been cast as Batgirl in the upcoming HBO Max film.
The breakout In the Heights star will portray the hero aka Barbara Gordon in the first streaming-exclusive movie entry in the DC Extended Universe, confirms The Hollywood Reporter. It’s another major leap for the young actress, as her role as Nina Rosario in Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical was her big screen debut. Now, she’ll have to learn the bat-ropes quickly as she steps into the superhero blockbuster genre.
After years of development with Joss Whedon at the helm, Batgirl is now set to be directed by Bad Boys for Life helmers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. They’ll be working from a script by Christina Hodson, a DCEU mainstay who’s already written Birds of Prey and the upcoming The Flash.
Casting the Afro-Latina actress in Batgirl continues Warner Bros. and DC’s recent “diversity barrage” when it comes to its film slate. Sasha Calle previously nabbed the part of Supergirl for The Flash, Rachel Zegler was added to the Shazam! Fury of the Gods cast, Angel Manuel Soto is set to helm the Latino superhero movie Blue Beetle, and Ta-Nehisi Coates is penning a Superman movie reportedly looking to cast a Black Man of Steel.
It also potentially ties the character to the Commissioner Jim Gordon we’ll see in Robert Pattinson’s upcoming The Batman. That iteration of the character, father of Barbara/Batgirl in the comics, is played by Jeffrey Wright. It’s been thought that this version of the Dark Knight will exist largely outside the interconnected Justice League vision of the DCEU we’ve experienced so far, so it’s hard to know where Batgirl will fit in. Frankly, how everything ties together is a complete mystery at this point and will likely be re-set in The Flash anyway.
In any event, Batgirl will bow exclusively on HBO Max, thought exactly when is not yet known. WB previously indicated it was targeting a 2023 release.