Warner Bros. this week will test actors to don the cape and cowl of Barbara Gordon in Batgirl. The HBO Max Original movie, from Bad Boys for Life and Ms. Marvel directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey and The Flash writer Christina Hodson, is among the high-profile DC Comics adaptations in the works at the streamer. Warner Bros. is looking to launch two DC Films a year on HBO Max — including a live-action Blue Beetle and Static Shock — with the female-fronted Batman spin-off leading the charge as the search for the studio's Batgirl gets underway.
According to Deadline, among the talent expected to test for the Barbara Gordon role include Zoey Deutch (Why Him?, Zombieland: Double Tap), Isabela Merced (Transformers: The Last Knight, Dora and the Lost City of Gold), and newcomer Leslie Grace (In the Heights). Haley Lu Richardson (Five Feet Apart) is named but might have bowed out before the test process, according to the report.
Original plans for the character, the costumed crime-fighter daughter of Gotham City cop Jim Gordon, had Batgirl suiting up alongside the Dark Knight in Ben Affleck's never-made Batman movie. According to actor Joe Manganiello, who would have reprised his Justice League cameo role as the assassin Deathstroke, Batgirl would have teamed with Batman in a climactic battle against the villain.
"She's been through so many iterations," Hodson previously told Variety about Barbara Gordon, who has made live-action appearances in the '60s Batman series (played by Yvonne Craig), The WB series Birds of Prey (played by Dina Meyer), and the 1997 film Batman & Robin (played by Alicia Silverstone).
"There's certain characteristics of hers that are always there that I'm excited to develop further," Hodson said. "Whenever I'm writing a character who's based on someone who's existed in a previous form, whether it's comics or a movie or anything, I always hope to bring something new to them and bring them to life in their own way, even if they fairly iconic like Harley Quinn or Batgirl. I think fans want the original, to be honest, but they also want to see something they haven't seen before."
WarnerMedia has not yet announced a release date for Batgirl on HBO Max.