3/24/2017 0 Comments
It's no secret. The DC cinematic universe has been as wild and adventurous as David Attenborough's sock collection. However, between the poor story choices and studio interference, there has been some fantastic casting choices.
Many would argue that Ben Affleck is capable of being the best Batman out there and lord knows that Will Smith knocked it out the park as Deadshot. But none come close to the perfection in casting as having Margot Robbie play Harley Quinn (although yours truly here, is a close second).
It wasn't just her natural likeness to the character that sold us. Margot has actively tried to embody the character since getting the part, being extremely vocal about her and her place in the DC universe. Now Warner Bros. Pictures have added her to their new tactic: Take the one star of a crappy movie fans seemed to actually approve of and give them way more power for the follow-up. It’s what they did with Ben Affleck after BatmanVSuperman, giving him an executive producer credit on Justice League and straight handing him the reins of a Batman solo film. Now, it’s what they’re doing with Margot Robbie and Harley Quinn. Robbie has signed on to executive produce a Suicide Squad spin-off film. It seems that this film is the female-led team project. But it wouldn't just be a straight up solo film. It is to be filled with heroines/villains such as Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Katana, and other members of the comic book’s Birds of Prey. This leads me to a thought that has buzzing around my head since its announcement: Who should play Batgirl?
Well even though I am eager to hear all your thoughts on this, let me just take the floor for this one. For starters, I'll address the 3 names that I keep hearing before throwing my suggestion into the mix.
Emma has shown that she can flex her acting muscles in this field from both of her performances in 'The Amazing Spider-Man'. She can play the sidekick without living in the shadow of the title character, which is a trait that is so vital to Batgirl. Batman is a huge, ominous character to play alongside. You need to keep the spotlight/bat signal firmly on yourself whilst also not looking desperate and stealing it from him. She is also the only one in this list who has actually acted alongside 'Batman'. Well...Michael Keaton, and how good was she in that?
'BIRDMAN' had such memorable cinematography, A-List actors and a fantastic story, Emma Stone did not fade into the background but wove herself within that thick tapestry to become an integral part of that film. I can see why people are voting Stone but if I had to have one criticism of her portraying 'Batgirl', it would be that I think a lot of people would look at her and think 'Emma Stone' before thinking 'Barbera Gordan'...then again I thought that about Affleck playing 'Bruce Wayne'.
Chloë Grace Moretz
Moretz has the best audition tape to date out of everyone on this list. In kick-ass, she was essentially Batgirl. Think of Nicolas Cage playing both Commissioner Gordan and Batman in his role as Big Daddy. Moretz showed that she could play the loving daughter to the troubled father, and also the trusting side-kick to the vigilante pushed to the edge. Overcoming her PTSD, she convincingly beat up grown men and was a beacon of justice and hope in the lowest moments of that film. To most, she's a no brainer. So why is she not my number one choice?
Moretz has yet to show that she can convincingly work the 'Mean Girls' side of the character, and by that I mean the side of her character outside of the mask. Barbara Gordan (especially in the new 52) has been portrayed as a bright and engaging young woman who (along with a lot of students her age) is knee deep in selfies, twitter and social media. I just can't see the girl who played 'CARRIE' doing this. She's almost too strong of a female character to believably play someone as vulnerable as Barbara Gordan the student academic. Like having Lou Ferrigno play the role of David Banner in the Hulk TV series.
Adrianne has ticked a lot of the boxes thanks to her work as Mockingbird on Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Portraying a character that is not only strong and dangerous yet also having very relatable human problems in those situations. Struggles with balancing fighting crime and maintaining relationships, the road to recovery after a tragic injury (a lá post Killing Joke anyone?) and all whilst exuding an 'alpha-female' stance in the face of any friend or foe. Adrianne Palicki has even put herself forward for DC roles before, showing a very keen interest in playing Wonder Woman, by all accounts this is our Barbara Gordan right?
I wouldn't have a problem with this pick, or any of the others mind you, I think she may be in trouble of falling into the same role she's just left. She gave so much depth and perspective to Mockingbird in Agents of SHIELD, that it's hard to say what she could bring to Batgirl without rehashing Mockingbird. I'm not saying that Adrianne couldn't do something different from Mockingbird but I think that if she did, she would then risk veering too far from Batgirl's template and getting the character totally wrong.
So then if none of the above meet my expectations, who do I expect to take the reins of the Batgirl role? Who should rock the mantle that is Barbara Gordan? Easy:
She can play the part of someone who needs rescuing (as is a vital part of any member of the Bat family) without coming off as being a damsel in distress. She can play the girl balancing two lives, the girl keeping a large secret behind closed doors. I mean she even looks the part! Do I have your attention yet?
Where she betters the aforementioned list is that I don't think she would have the 'Emma Stone' effect, people would see her as Barbara Gordan, not an actress portraying her. She can play both sides of the character with ease as she's shown that versatility and she can bring something to the screen she's not done before. Clara was playful with dark moments but there are many more dark moments in Barbara's life for Jenna to deal with, meaning we're not going to get a 'Clara Part 2'. Also we haven't seen her in a super-hero film or seen her kick ass...yet!
Other than currently playing another strong, young woman (Queen Victoria on ITV) she is pretty much free to explore this character as much as she wants. I'd have faith that she'd take the role fully on, reading as much material as she could on Barbara Gordan and knocking it out the park. Maybe I am seeing her through rose-tinted glasses but after the last attempt at Batgirl (The Killing Joke animated film 2016), I don't think we should be phoning this in with the normal A-List celebrity picks. We need to think outside the box. Or maybe inside a blue box.
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By Jay Burdett follow him on Twitter @ProJub