Leslie spoke with Shadow and Act’s Managing Editor Trey Mangum to talk about what it’s been like playing Batwoman with the fans’ support.
“It was really cool because you’re on this journey by yourself and with your team, but really it’s just you in these auditions. It’s you on this journey by yourself and the moment that the casting happened, I felt like it was no longer just me, I felt like it was us,” she said. “…It felt like everyone rallied with [me] and I felt that family, I felt that support, I felt that love and it gave me the strength to go fearlessly into this without feeling nervous or scared about coming into a role that was originally played by a completely different actress but also a role that no other Black person has played in, wearing the [Batwoman] cape and wearing the cowl.”
When she was cast as the second Batwoman after Ruby Rose’s departure from the role, the world was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. On top of that, America saw the uprising of a new civil rights movement after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and others. Leslie said that while the importance of a role like hers was known to her, she said she felt like the role gave her much-needed light during a dark moment in American and world history.
“For me personally, I just looked at it as an opportunity to do what I loved doing…I feel like I manifested this role,” she said, saying that in May of 2020, she declared that she wanted her next role to be a superhero, and her next role ended up being Batwoman. “It was more like a spiritual thing for me,” she continued, adding that she feels she has put in the effort to give the role what it deserves.
“I have put in the work…making sure that I show up every day for myself and my craft. When there were moments I wasn’t working, I was constantly back taking classes. Just making sure that I was completely prepared to take not only the role but the lead of a television series,” she said. “And [I was] also making sure I was physically where I needed to be–taking bo staff classes, taking Muay Thai classes. It was such a dark summer for us, for our world. And it brought for me some light in the midst of a lot of darkness.”
Watch the full interview below, beginning around the 6:00 mark: