"In the Heights (2021)" star Leslie Grace has been cast as the titular character in the upcoming DC film "Batgirl." On July 21, "The Wrap" confirmed that Grace would be portraying Barbara Gordon.
Last week, it was rumored that Warner Bros. and DC Films had been screen-testing actresses for the HBO max movie. Grace was accompanied by the likes of Zoey Deutch, Haley Lu Richardson, and Isabella Merced.
The actress confirmed the news on her Twitter, where she posted her gratitude.
"I am BEYOND EXCITED to embody Barbara Gordon, your #Batgirl!"
Batgirl/Barbara Gordon's comic book origins
Barbara "Babs/Barb" Gordon is the daughter of Gotham City's police commissioner Jim Gordon. She is also known as "Batgirl" and later on as "Oracle."
The character debuted in Detective Comics #359, "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl" (1967). In 1988's famed graphic novel by Alan Moore, "The Killing Joke," Barbara developed paraplegia when the Joker shot her in the waist.
After the incident, Barbara used a wheelchair. She served as an information broker for law enforcement and other superheroes (mainly from the Bat-family.)
Who is Leslie Grace?
Leslie Grace Martinez was born on January 7, 1995, in the Bronx, New York City. She is of Dominican origin and grew up in Florida. Grace started as a singer-songwriter in 2012, covering the hit song by Shirelles (1961). Her song contained bilingual parts, which enabled it to chart in Billboard Tropical Songs and Billboard Latin Airplay.
The singer received three Latin Grammy nominations for "Best Contemporary Tropical Album" and "Best Tropical Song" in 2013 and 2015. Grace was also nominated for "Songs Artist of the Year" at the 2013 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Furthermore, she won the "Tropical Female Artist" in 2016's Lo Nuestro Awards.
The 26-year old made her breakthrough in acting, playing Nina Rosario in the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical, "In the Heights." The movie was directed by John M. Chu (of "Crazy Rich Asians" fame), and Leslie Grace received much praise for her role.
Since Barbara was not featured in the "Birds of Prey" movie in 2020, fans have anticipated her solo movie or HBO Max show. The controversial director Joss Whedon was attached to the project and left it in 2018. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (of 2020's "Bad Boys for Life") will be directing this film, while Cristina Hodson (of 2020's "Birds of Prey" fame) will be writing it.