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Batgirl Casting Heats Up: Leslie Grace, Haley Lu Richardson and More

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Gotham City is getting a new protector.

“In the Heights” star Leslie Grace and “Five Feet Apart” actress Haley Lu Richardson are emerging as top contenders to take the role of Barbara Gordon in “Batgirl,” the upcoming HBO Max superhero film.

Testing for the role has already started. Isabela Merced, who has appeared in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” and Zoey Deutch, the star of “Zombieland: Double Tap” and “Why Him?,” have already tested or will test for the role. It’s possible that the search will expand beyond these names — because it’s, you know, a search — and today’s front-runner is tomorrow’s also-ran when it comes to casting.

“Batgirl” will be directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directing pair behind “Bad Boys for Life,” one of the few box office successes of pandemic-ravaged 2020. Christina Hodson (“The Flash”) wrote the screenplay. The movie comes as HBO Max continues to bolster its original programming in an effort to lure subscribers. Superhero streaming shows have worked well for Disney Plus, which has attracted a lot of buzz for comic book fare such as “Loki,” “WandaVision,” and “Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” DC Films has been busy of late, wrapping up “The Batman” with Robert Pattinson and shooting “The Flash” and a sequel to “Aquaman.” “The Suicide Squad,” James Gunn’s very R-rated super-team flick, debuts next month.

TheWrap broke the news of Grace and Richardson’s emergence as frontrunners, while Deadline added Deutch and Merced to the mix. “Batgirl” will center on Barbara Gordon, the crime-fighting off-spring of Commissioner James Gordon.

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