Earlier this week it was reported Brendan Fraser had been cast as a villain in the upcoming HBO Max Batgirl film, with it being widely believed he would play the Gotham villain Firefly. Later that day, an insider reported that Sylvester Stallone had been the first pick for the villain. While the report is short and sweet, the info it shares hints toward a lot of potential Batgirl reveals, including that it may not be Firefly that Fraser is playing.
The story comes from The Hollywood Reporter writer Borys Kit on Twitter, in the form of two tweets. First, Kit says Fraser will not be playing Garfield Lynne — aka the arsonist supervillain Firefly — but instead he will play the Gotham crime boss Carmine Falcone. In his second tweet, Kit claims he’s been told that Sylvester Stallone was tapped for the role but that “things just didn’t work out.” He ends his report saying there will be another character who is the son of Falcone, who becomes “romantically linked” to Leslie Grace’s Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. You can read the tweets below.
If we assume Kit’s report is accurate, then in the space of two tweets he might have told us a lot more than most probably realize. Ironically, Sylvester Stallone’s initial involvement could be the least consequential piece of the supposed reveals, at least in terms of unveiling what to expect from Batgirl. The tweets could tell us not only who is playing who, but when the film is set.
First, how likely is it Brendan Fraser is playing Carmine Falcone rather than Firefly? Well, if it’s true that Fraser’s role is one Sylvester Stallone was originally considered for, it seems pretty likely. While Stallone could certainly pull off a gangster, it would seem a waste to cast him as Firefly rather than one of DC’s beefier villains. Not to mention that it makes sense that Fraser would be the second choice. Fraser impressed a lot of critics playing hard against type as a mobster earlier this year in Steven Soderbergh’s thriller No Sudden Move.
Of course, it should be remembered that even if Kit’s Sylvester Stallone tweets are accurate, Firefly could still be in the film. Reports emerged in July that the producers were looking for a man in his 50s or 60s to play a “disgruntled former firefighter.” Falcone could be the brains and Firefly the brawn.
Second, if Fraser or any other actor is playing Carmine Falcone, this could mean that Batgirl will be a prequel set before the events of 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice — the first time we’re introduced to Ben Affleck’s Batman. If it’s true Brendan Fraser has stepped into the part of Carmine Falcone originally earmarked for Sylvester Stallone, then neither would be the first actor to play the role. In the comics, Falcone first appears in 1987’s Batman #405 which was part of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchielli’s acclaimed Batman: Year One prequel. Since then, Falcone has almost always appeared in stories set either before the rise of Batman, or during the hero’s earliest days. Tom Wilkinson plays him in 2005’s Batman Begins and John Dorman plays him in the prequel series Gotham. John Turturro is set to play him in next year’s The Batman. He’s usually seen as the last purely non-super crime boss of Gotham before the more colorful villains like Joker and Penguin take over.
Third and finally, there’s the character Kit mentions in his Sylvester Stallone tweets who is Falcone’s son and is romantically linked to Leslie Grace’s Batgirl. This could explain the casting news from last week that Jacob Scipio (Bad Boys for Life) would appear in Batgirl “opposite” Leslie Grace in an undisclosed role. It could be that Scipio will play the Falcone heir apparent.
While Sylvester Stallone will sadly be absent, Batgirl is expected to premiere on HBO Max, though a release date has yet to be unveiled. The film will star Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and J.K. Simmons is expected to reprise his role as Commissioner James Gordon. Brendan Fraser and Jacob Scipio have been cast in undisclosed roles. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life) will direct, with Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey, Bumblebee) writing the script.