Batgirl Star Brandan Fraser Calls Movie's Shelving "Tragic"

Both Frasure and Aronofsky have felt the sting of disappointment when working in the Batman universe.


Brendan Fraser has been picking up a slew of acclaim portraying a 600-pound gay man in director Darron Aronofsky's The Whale, which received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice International Film Festival He's lined up some high-profile roles to come soon, but there's one role that was recently taken from him. Fraser was set to play the villainous pyromaniac Firefly in the DC Batgirl movie, but the film was surprisingly shelved back in August due to a change in Warner Bros. Discovery management.

Fraser already plays Robot Man/stuntman Cliff Steele on HBO Max's Doom Patrol, another comic book adaptation heading into its fourth season. Recently the actor spoke about the disappointment he felt from losing the role and the cancellation of the movie.

"It's tragic. It doesn’t engender trust among filmmakers and the studio. Leslie Grace was fantastic. She's a dynamo, just a spot-on performer," he said. "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 and Aronofsky have something in common now with the latter's attempt over 20 years ago to do a hard-boiled Batman movie based on the best-selling and iconic Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Aronofsky had pitched actor Wes Bentley as a young Bruce Wayne trying to find himself as his trajectory leads him to become the Batman. Costumes were even designed by comic artist David Williams, but the studio said no and obviously went in a much different direction.

"It was right after Batman and Robin," the director said. "That had been a big hiccup back then at Warner Bros., so I pitched them a rated-R, boiled-down origin story of Batman. A rated-R superhero movie was probably 10 to 15 years out of whack with the reality of the business then. It had promise, but it was just a first draft. The studio wasn’t really interested. It was a very different take."

With Joker being the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history, things have changed since then as the studio saw the earlier Batman movies as something to sell toys for with Batman and Robin being the most toyetic, but also helped usher in the Nolanverse for Batman.

The Whale will have a wide US release on December 9.

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