‘Batgirl’ Actor Ivory Aquino Pens Letter About Movie Cancelation

“Batgirl” actor Ivory Aquino is speaking out about Warner Bros.’ decision to indefinitely shelve the DC film. In an emotional letter addressed to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslov, Aquino — who played the best friend of Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) — pleaded for the studio executive to rethink the alleged plan to permanently destroy the movie’s footage.

“As one of many who poured our hearts into the making of this movie, I ask that this measure be reconsidered,” Aquino wrote Wednesday night on Twitter. “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.”

Her message came in response to a recent Hollywood Reporter article, which reported the studio was hosting “funeral screenings” before potentially dumping the film. According to THR’s story, “Warners might make the drastic move of actually destroying its ‘Batgirl’ footage as a way to demonstrate to the IRS that there will never be any revenue from the project, and thus it should be entitled to the full write- down immediately.”

On Aug. 2, Warner Bros. announced it would scrap its $90 million-budgeted “Batgirl,” despite the DC film being nearly complete. The axing of “Batgirl,” which will not be released in theaters or on HBO Max, rocked the industry because studios almost never shelve productions outright. The film’s directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah say they were “shocked and saddened” by the abrupt cancellation of “Batgirl.” Tax incentives were a driving force behind the decision to kill the DC spinoff.

In wake of the decision, Aquino recounted that she’s spent nights holding back tears. But it helped, she says, when she talked through the situation with a friend, who liked the head of a company to “one large cog atop increasingly small 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,” she said.

Addressing Zaslov directly, she wrote: “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.”

She ended the letter by urging the studio to not only save the film — which has been making headlines for weeks — but to release “Batgirl” to the public.

“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 said. “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.”

On Friday, Aquino took to Instagram to all the barrier-breaking nature of “Batgirl.” Aquino, best known for the 2017 miniseries “When We Rise,” was set to be the first trans actor in a live-action DC film.

“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,” she said. “There is no price tag on that.”

Read Aquino’s full letter 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 striving.

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 strive 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.”

VIP+ Analysis: WBD’s ‘Batgirl’ Blunder Spoils a Solid Strategy

Leave a Comment