Leslie Grace on the ‘Big Responsibility’ of Being an Afro-Latina Superhero in ‘Batgirl’

The Dominican-American actress is the third Latina to be cast in a DC superhero project

Leslie Grace Batgirl
Leslie Grace in "Batgirl" (Credit: Warner Bros.)

“In the Heights” breakout star Leslie Grace who will star as “Batgirl” in the upcoming film at HBO Max recently opened up on the significance of being an Afro-Latina Superhero.

“It’s such a thing, we haven’t seen a lot of Latino superheroes, or actors of Latin descent within the superhero world,” Grace told E! News in an interview. “So it was such a beautiful opportunity to be granted and a big responsibility as well.”

Grace, who is Dominican-American, is now the third Latina to be cast in a DC superhero project, following Sasha Calle’s role as Supergirl in “The Flash” and Rachel Zegler joining the cast of “Shazam: Fury of the Gods.”

Offering up some insight into what fans can expect about her version of Barbara Gordon, Grace said, “I will say one of my favorite things about our script and the heart of our movie is that you get to see Babs and this alter-ego that she summons up, Batgirl, vacillate between the nuances of life and good and bad and black and white, and that there so much in between. At the end of the day, in Gotham, so there’s always a case, right? It’s kind of like an investigative story, it’s a detective story, so she does have a case that drives her into these crazy situations.”

Born to Dominican parents in the Bronx, Leslie Grace broke out as Nina Rosario in Jon M. Chu’s film adaptation of “In the Heights,” based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical. Grace is also a singer who has recorded songs including “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Be My Baby” and “Day 1.” She has received three Latin Grammy Award nominations.

Batgirl made her debut in the Batman mythos 50 years ago as Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. Since then, she has become one of the most popular superheroines in the world. When Barbara Gordon was paralyzed by a gunshot from the Joker in the classic graphic novel “The Killing Joke,” other crimefighters, like The Huntress and Orphan, took up the Batgirl name while Barbara became Oracle, a tech-savvy aide to Batman. Barbara later returned to the Batgirl role, while her assault in “The Killing Joke” was retconned.