The Philippines-born transgender actress, Ivory Aquino, will be Barbara Gordon’s best friend in the upcoming film, Batgirl.
The record is set as the Filipina actress, Ivory Aquino has officially been cast to join the Batgirl film cast, making her the first transgender character to appear in DC Comics Extended Universe (DCEU) film. The star will be featured in the HBO film directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah who recently worked on Bad Boys for Life. Aquino will join her cast members who were also recently announced: Leslie Grace, J.K. Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Michael Keaton and Jacob Scipio.
While the storyline for the film is kept under wraps, we know the story should revolve around Gotham City police commissioner Jim Gordon’s (Simmons) daughter, Barbara (Grace) and becoming a caped crusader. Aquino will be playing the titular character, Alysia Yeoh—the best friend of Barbara.
It has already been revealed that Fraser will be the big bad for the film, playing the villain, Firefly, while Keaton will be reprising his role as Batman. Of course, we know Keaton played Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and Batman Returns in 1992. But will Keaton be reinventing his previous performance to a more modern take like the upcoming film, The Batman is going, or will it be a little campy like the Burton films? We will have to see. Scipio is going to be playing an unknown character as details have not revealed anything.
Going back to Aquino and her character, Yeoh is also transgender and made her debut as the first major transgender character in a November 2011 DC comic book in Batgirl #1. Many comic book fans may recall Batgirl #45 where the first transgender wedding took place. There was already a lot of speculation in casting Aquino for her role because a photo of her and Grace was shared on Grace’s Instagram where they were both holding hands and crossing the street as part of the film. The post was captioned, “Barbara and Alysia 😍🦇”.
Aquino did not have an easy time before being cast for her Batgirl role as she told PEOPLE magazine back in 2017, that she was struggling to find roles that she could do. She was only 26 years old when she moved to the United States and underwent gender confirmation surgery. Aquino said about the transformation, “My outsides finally felt like my insides. The first thought that came to mind was, ‘I can act again!'”
Aquino is best known for her role as the transgender activist, Cecilia Chung, in the film, When We Rise. She commented on her new role in Batgirl, “You spend your whole life dreaming of these things… And it’s really humbling when your dreams come true.” Batgirl is set to premiere on HBO and HBO Max later this year with no official release date.