Batgirl actor Ivory Aquino has seemingly admitted that the now-shelved DC Film fit all the criteria to be considered “woke”, though she claims this was not because it was created with any ideological stance in mind, but rather because it featured “writing that reflects the world we live in.”
Prior to the film’s cancellation, the transgender Aquino was set to portray the similarly-identified best friend of Batgirl’s title character, Alysia Yeoh.
Created by writer Gail Simone and artist Ardian Syaf, Yeoh was introduced into DC Comics canon and eventually confirmed as transgender during the pair’s run on the fourth volume of Batgirl.
Initially stepping into the Dominoed Daredoll’s life as her roommate, Yeoh has since been set-up to become some iteration of Batgirl, her take on the identity emphasized by her transgender Pride flag-wrapped baseball bat.
It is later implied that Yeoh was given Barabra’s blessing to continue on as a relative of the Bat-family, though as of writing, DC Comics has yet to follow up on this plot thread.
Aquino provided this insight into Batgirl’s apparent direction while speaking to her feelings regarding the film’s cancellation in a Twitter-published open letter penned to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
Taking to the social media platform after learning of the film’s rumored “funeral screenings and the possibility afterwards that the film footage would be destroyed”, Aquino wrote from her position “as one of many who poured our hearts into the making of this movie” and asked the WBD head “that this measure be considered.”
“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,” the actor added.
Turning to the many claims that the film – which from the start of production, in an almost surefire sign that its story and writing would come second to promoting its creators’ ideology, marketed itself heavily on the fact that its actress was a race-swap and that it featured a diverse cast – would be “woke”, Aquino then confessed, “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,” said the actor.
“I’ve found myself not being able to talk about this ordeal with anyone,” she added. “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,” Aquino continued. “My heart goes out to Leslie Grace and our beloved directors and entire crew & cast who spent months dedicating their all to this endeavor.”
The actor further recalled, “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,” said Aquino. “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 endeavor to understand how one feels when tasked with tending to the bottom line like you have,” the actor turned to address Zaslav. “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 told the CEO. “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.”
Drawing the letter to a close, Aquino explained, “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,” the actor concluded. “Consider releasing Batgirl. She’s always been an underdog and has nowhere to go but up.”