Before the end of the year, HBO Max will deliver exclusive DC movie streaming release with Leslie Grace's Batgirl, the first live-action solo outing for Barbara Gordon. This film will also see DC veteran Michael Keaton returning to play his version of Batman, which will be his first time returning to the franchise in 30 years after last starring in 1992's Batman Returns.
Keaton's comeback has been the hot topic of the DC Universe for the better part of two years after news first broke that he would reprise the role in Ezra Miller's The Flash, opening DC's Multiverse for the first time. This older version of Bruce Wayne will play a kind of mentor role for Grace's up-and coming heroine as she finds herself in the depths of Gotham's latest crime spree.
While story details for Batgirl are still being kept a secret, the new film is set to bring two generations of Caped Crusader sagas together within the expanding DC Extended Universe. Now, as the Batman spin-off moves toward post-production, Keaton's newest co-star has shared how special it was to be a part of the experience alongside him.
Leslie Grace Sings Michael Keaton's Praise
Batgirl star Leslie Grace spoke with Variety about her time on set with Batman icon Michael Keaton.
Looking back to when he first came on set, Grace shared how directors Billal Fallah and Adil El Arbi "were like two little kids" upon Keaton's arrival:
"It was wild for everyone. Our directors were like two little kids. They’re legit Batman nerds openly. He’s Batman, man! I couldn’t even believe that I was sharing space with Batman. I want to say more, but I can’t. It was insane, surreal, incredible. It was the stuff of dreams really."
She also mentioned how J.K. Simmons plays her father, Commissioner Gordon, who she admitted to being nervous around due to his looming presence on set. Eventually, the two became "the best of friends" as he shared stories about his upbringing and the early stages of his acting career:
"And J.K. Simmons playing my dad. That’s my pop. I was so nervous because all I could hear in my head was his voice in “Whiplash.” Like what would he do and say if I didn’t get something right? [Laughs]. Then we became the best of friends. And just he told me all his great stories of starting out and being a waiter and working in a pizza shop and trying to be an actor and doing theater."
Grace then moved to the movie's villain in Brendan Fraser's Firefly, who she called "such a huge teddy bear" even though he's supposed to be the one she's trying to stop in the story. She finished by looking at how her character "(exceeded) what[she thought" in terms of being a badass, sharing how she has stunt work and "crazy drops" that will be part of the action:
"She definitely exceeds what I thought. I had to summon up some things in me that I didn’t even know were there. It was an incredible learning experience to be on set with also action veterans like Brendan Fraser, and soak up it all up. It was so hard because he’s our villain and I’m not supposed to like but he’s such a huge teddy bear. He is one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met. In our fight sequences the way he would just hit marks, it came from all of his experience. You can’t improvise that kind of experience. There’s some crazy stuff that happens. There’s lots of fire because as everyone knows by now, he plays Firefly. There’s crazy fire. There’s crazy stunts, crazy drops. She’s a biker chick, so you’re going to see her do a bunch of badassery."
Batgirl Ramps Up Action with Keaton's Batman
Michael Keaton is one of the biggest names in superhero movies, having gained for his roles with Marvel Studios' Spider-Man movies and the first generation of Batman movies. Having someone with that kind of history in the film only adds that much more excitement to what's coming, especially for someone like Grace who's taking on her first DC movie.
Looking at Grace's quotes, the relationship between her and Keaton off camera seems quite similar to how Batgirl and Batman work together in the actual story on screen. The mentor/mentee bond between the two is something that will help push the narrative forward, and the way Grace looks up to co-stars like Keaton and Fraser should be something fans feel through their roles as well.
Keaton currently has at least two appearances set for the DCEU between The Flash and Batgirl, with rumors pointing to Warner Bros wanting him to be the main Caped Crusader in the story as a whole. For the moment, his influence is having a clear effect on Grace as she joins the franchise, and fans certainly look forward to seeing more from how well they work together.
Batgirl is set to debut on HBO Max sometime this year.