The actress tweeted an open letter to CEO David Zaslav asking that he rethink plan to permanently destroy the movie's footage.
Batgirl actress Ivory Aquino isn't giving up on the DC Comics hero. Following a Hollywood Reporter article that revealed Warner Bros. Discovery was holding secret screenings of the shelved film for members of the movie's cast and crew, as well as representatives and executives, the actress posted a plea to studio CEO David Zaslav asking him to rethink the studio's alleged plan to permanently destroy the movie's footage.
Aquino, who plays Alysia Yeoh, Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon's roommate and the first major trans character to appear in a DC film, implored Zaslav to "consider releasing Batgirl" rather than destroying the film after the so-called 'funeral screenings.'
The actress opened up about the emotional past few weeks for the DC project's cast and crew, writing, "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."
"I've found myself not being able to talk about this ordeal with anyone," she shared. "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."
Recounting a conversation with a friend who likened a film studio to a machine, Aquino called the studio president a "large cog" who, with one small movement, can have a "seismic" effect on the smaller cogs they sit atop.
"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," she wrote. "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," she added.
She urged the CEO to save the film and distribute Batgirl to the general public, suggesting that the response to the film being shelved renewed interest in it, leaving people "eager" to see the cast and crew's work. "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," she wrote.
Batgirl, starring In the Heights standout Leslie Grace as the titular DC Comics hero, was greenlit in 2021 and directed by Ms. Marvel executive producers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah for intended release on HBO Max. The film was set to include a return from Michael Keaton as Batman (who is also set to reprise the role in the upcoming Flash movie, starring Ezra Miller).
Earlier this month, multiple reports shared that new leadership at Warner Bros. pivoted the company back toward theatrical releases. Variety reported that "studio insiders insist the decision was not driven by the quality of the film or the commitment of the filmmakers, but by the desire for the studio’s slate of DC features to be at a blockbuster scale. Batgirl was budgeted to screen in homes on HBO Max, and not for a major global release in theaters. (The budget reached $90 million due in part to COVID-related delays and protocols.)"
ET was the first to speak with Grace last year after the news of her casting was announced, where she shared, "This is only my second role, but I'm learning from my colleagues and other friends of mine that you put a little bit of yourself into each character. And just in the bit of research that I've been doing leading into pre-production, I've learned a lot of things about Barbara that are very in line with me."
"She's someone who's been underestimated by even her own dad and being the youngest kid, sometimes you're insulated from all of the tough stuff of life and she's so eager to prove to herself and to everybody else that there's some things that she can handle," she continued. "So, this journey is definitely going to show me a lot of that. I feel like I'm on an endless journey of proving to myself what barriers I can break, what limits I can break for myself and I'm excited to put a little bit of that eagerness and drive and, like, almost a bit of stubbornness into Barbara's character."
See more from Grace in the video below.