Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the Belgian filmmakers behind the recently shelved Batgirl movie, have revealed they don’t have any footage of the film saved but are still hopeful that one day the film will be finished and released.
In a new interview for the SKRIPT YouTube channel, Arbi and Fallah offered more details, from their perspective, of Warner Bros.’ shock decision to shelve the Batgirl movie that was in the post-production phase.
El Arbi, speaking in French, said they were in the middle of the editing process when executives from Warners told them the film was being shelved. “The guys from Warners told us, ‘it was not a talent problem from our part or the actress, or even the quality of the movie,’” said El Arbi.
El Arbi continued, “They told us it was a strategic change. There was new management, and they wanted to save some money.”
Batgirl was a casualty of a new corporate strategy from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who opted to shelve the project in order to take a tax write-down on the $90 million film.
In earlier reports, the pair were said to be in Morocco for El Arbi’s wedding when they heard the news of Batgirl‘s shelving. Fallah revealed how he felt, “First, when I heard the news, I was shocked, I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to break stuff, cry, even laugh. I was like, ‘this is not happening.’”
Fallah added that they were taken aback by the public reaction to the film’s shelving, and in particular the hashtag #ReleaseBatgirl trending on social media. “Seeing all the support on Twitter, and even from big directors Edgar Wright and James Gunn, who sent us supportive messages, it was comforting.”
“After all we make movies for the audience, not for us,” El Arbi said. “We just hope that one day the movie will be released, for the cast and crew. We are a small family.”
Said Fallah, “We hope, Inshallah, it will happen.”
The interviewer also asked the pair if they hoped that Batgirl would have a resurrection like Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League, El Arbi and Fallah said that a lot would need to happen before that would even be a possibility. “Before it’s released one day, there would be a lot of work still to do. Just like the Snyder Cut,” El Arbi said, alluding to how Warner Bros. spent a further $70 million on Zack Snyder’s Justice League to finish the VFX, the score and shoot new scenes before it was released on HBO Max.
“[Batgirl] cannot be released in its current state,” El Arbi said, “There’s no VFX, we still had to shoot some scenes. So if [Warners] wanted us to release the Batgirl movie they would need to give us the means to do it. To finish it properly with our vision.”
Asked if they still had some footage of the film, Arbi and Fallah said no and that the studio had blocked their access to the production’s servers. “No, we have nothing! Adil called me and said, ‘go ahead shoot some things on your cellphone.’ I went on the server and everything was blocked,” said Fallah.
“We were like ‘fucking shit!’,” said El Arbi. “All the scenes with Batman in them! Shit!”