Leslie Grace Just Dished Out Some Sweet Batgirl Scoop

Leslie Grace dished details about HBO Max's upcoming Batgirl movie, including surprising secrets about her superhero suit and which villains she will be taking on.

By Tierney Bricker Apr 16, 2022 3:00 PMTags
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I scream, you scream, and even superheroes scream for ice cream.

Batgirl star Leslie Grace has partnered with Häagen-Dazs for their City Sweets collection, a lineup of new flavors inspired by iconic street food desserts—think street vendor pretzels, crispy churros and New York's classic black and white cookie. For Grace, who grew up in the Bronx, teaming up with the iconic company felt like something she was born to do. Literally. 

"The Vanilla Swiss Almond flavor was my mom's main craving when she was pregnant with me and it's our thing," the 27-year-old told E! News in a recent phone interview. "We eat it together and whenever I travel anywhere, I have to stock up. Anyone who knows me knows how much of a moment this collaboration is for me because I literally live off of Häagen-Dazs ice cream."

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The collaboration also serves as part of the #ThatsDazs campaign, which is committing $1.5 million to and support marginalized creative communitie and serves to elevate a new generation of diverse tastemakers and creators, including Brooklyn-based artist Jade Purple Brown, who designed the City Sweets collections packaging.

"With everything they are doing in the community, it's just a beautiful thing to be able to partner up with a brand that is not only bringing so much joy with sweets and ice cream, but also making a real difference," Grace explained, "and just making sure everyone feels celebrated, even through their brand packaging. It's a perfect alignment with me."

And there was a chery on top, with Grace admitting, "I'm just super excited to eat ice cream forever, too!"

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And surely it was some surreptitious planning on Grace's part to have this partnership with Häagen-Dazs come to fruition come just two weeks after production wrapped on Batgirl, which will premiere on HBO Max later this year, in Glasgow, Scotland.

"I was like, 'If they send me this ice cream while I'm out here, I might not fit into this outfit for too long!'" Grace joked of the timing. "It's tight leather, I don't know, I'm getting my workouts in but…it might not be good! So it was actually great that I didn't try any of the new flavors until I got back home. But no, the universe just lined everything just right."

And Grace definitely earned her pints of ice cream—especially her favorite, the dulce de leche churros—logging long hours on-set with a lot of action sequences, which impacted her typical diet in a surprising way. 

"I was eating more than I usually do because I was expending so much energy," the In The Heights actress said. "Then once we started shooting, there were so many 15-hour days, so it was really a lot of energy. Our catering was amazing, so they kept us pretty energized with energy balls of grains and all the healthy stuff."

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But, being the IRL superhero we all need, Grace said she couldn't completely cut sweets out of her eating plan while fighting crime in Gotham. 

"Every now and then, there comes a time in the day where you are like, just give me something with some carbs and some sugar and I need it!" Grace admitted. "So they would come in with all those chocolate croissants and ice cream. I did have my Häagen-Dazs stocked up. I had those mini ones. If you don't stop me, I can have like three a day. I would have those in my dressing room and the trailer and every now and then, if I needed a pick-me-up, I would definitely go for it."

Warner Bros.

Of course, Grace didn't just focus on upping her protein intake while training for Batgirl, revealing she worked extensively to become well-rounded in several different forms of martial arts, including Muay Thai, and underwent intense stunt and choreography sessions. 

"It was a beautiful experience being able to do something so action-packed and learn so much about a different way of shooting," Grace said of the five-month shoot. "It's my second film and to be able to be doing all these different things and spinning all these different plates while literally learning how to do martial arts was really cool. I definitely learned a lot from it."

Putting on the Batgirl suit for the first time was a "surreal" experience for Grace, who admitted she never previously imagined donning the cape in her career.

"Who thinks, like, one day I am going to play a superhero?" Grace said. "You watch the movies and you just imagine, 'What would I do in that situation?' But you never really, really think that. Even when I auditioned for the role, I was super open about it. I did my best and I read for anything that I feel connected to when I get a script or a certain opportunity. So I was like, 'Well, that would be cool. Why not?'"

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Like the long line of actors who have suited up for superhero duty, Grace quickly learned comfort isn't always the priority when it comes to the costume. 

"I have not met a superhero yet that has had a comfortable time in their suit," she said with a laugh. "Thankfully, she's a biker girl, so it's kind of like a biker suit. It wasn't a onesie situation. There are a lot of layers. I think that the weight of it is really the hardest part."

But getting the Bat signal in July 2021 that she landed the coveted role meant more than anything. 

"It's such a thing, we haven't seen a lot of Latino superheroes, or actors of Latin descent within the superhero world," Grace, who is Afro-Latina, shared. "So it was such a beautiful opportunity to be granted and a big responsibility as well."

While she couldn't say much about the movie, Grace did offer up a taste of what fans can expect from her version of Barbara Gordon, or Babs, as she affectionately calls her. 

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"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," Grace explained. "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."

"There's not a lot of nuance in her thinking at the beginning of the story and she gets herself into a lot of these sticky situations and has to discover a lot about parts of herself in order to get herself out of them," Grace continued. "So you'll get to see her grow from that kind of perspective of the world and I really, really love that. It's like all your favorite superheroes, you get to see their origin story. You get to see them mature."

Warner Bros. Pictures

But there is an added bonus with this iteration of Batgirl: We get to see Grace interact with Michael Keaton, who is returning as Bruce Wayne/Batman for the first time in 30 years, which Grace described as an "absolutely insane" opportunity. She also confirmed that Jacob Scipio will be playing mob boss Anthony Bressi in the movie, which additionally stars Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, or, as Grace refers to him, "Pops."

While fans will have to wait and see if there is a father-daughter ice cream scene in Batgirl, Grace did have some ideas for what a Gotham flavor could taste like, should Häagen-Dazs ever decide to do another City Sweets collection.

"It definitely has to have some chocolate and some vanilla in it," Grace said. "There's a lot of rain in Glasgow and there's a lot of mud and stuff, so almost like a rocky road vibe? You need some crunch in there or something because I like crunch."

Of her sweet indulgences, Grace said, "At some point you gotta reward yourself, right?" Now that is a superhero mantra we can get behind.

Batgirl will premiere on HBO Max later this year.

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