A few weeks ago news surfaced on the internet of a possible casting choice in the upcoming reboot of the Fantastic Four. The role up for grabs was that of Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch. The man rumoured to be up for this particular role was Michael B. Jordan, a talented young man probably best known for his work on Friday Night Lights and Chronicle.
Jordan, at least in his acting roles, is cocky, confident and has a slight playboy swagger about him. This makes him perfect for the role of cocky, confident and playboy type Johnny Storm right? Of course it does, any open-minded person who wants the best person cast in a role would agree, would they not?
Well apparently open-minded people are hard to find on internet forums and in the comments sections on some sites. The problem, for some people, is that Johnny Storm (a creation in a purely fictitious world) is white and Michael B. Jordan is black. This possible casting choice is incomprehensible to some folk.
I tend to look at a few sites to find my movie news and reviews, some are well-known established sites like IGN and ComingSoon, others are fellow bloggers I have found since I started blogging and thoroughly enjoy their work. However, when this rumour first started circling I knew it would cause a reaction, so I took to some of the more established websites and started reading their comments section.
It’s an act I wish I had never carried through, as some of the blind ignorance on display was astounding. There were, of course, some rays of hope in among the stupid and empty-headed comments. I understand that sometimes people will let go and post a quick fire reaction without thinking, but some comments were simply depressing.
The fact that people are so upset over a fictitious character, who exists mainly in comic books and movies, is worrying. They have no problem believing a man can set himself on fire, control said fire and fly whilst doing this, but change his skin colour and they lose their shit.
Here is one example: ” Nobody will watch it if they make the human torch black. He was white as white as a person could be in the comics. blonde hair, blue eyes. COME ON! There are black superheroes. why can’t we just keep them their race? I am not racist. one of my favorite super heroes is black. and you don’t see people making him white!”
So nobody will watch this film if they make the Human Torch black? Idris Elba and Laurence Fishburne are both phenomenally talented actors, they are both black and have both appeared in movies as characters who were originally envisaged as being white. Thor took, roughly, $181 million at the US box office alone. But nobody will watch if they make the Human Torch black. Marvel even rebooted their Ultimate Spider-Man comic line with Spidey being half black/half Latino.
Elba put it brilliantly when questioned about the fanboy reaction to his casting in Thor: “We have a man [Thor] who has a flying hammer and wears horns on his head. And yet me being an actor of African descent playing a Norse god is unbelievable? I mean, Cleopatra was played by Elizabeth Taylor, and Gandhi was played by Ben Kingsley.”
Another example was this beauty: “Lets reboot Blade and have Jay Leno play the day-walker……….. Lets have a Hitler biopic staring (sic) Will Smith as the fuhrer.”
The idea of Adolf Hitler being played by a black actor is completely counter-intuitive, as Hitler wanted a master race, a pure race where Blacks were at the bottom of the ladder and white Europeans were at the top. So to cast a black actor as Hitler would be senseless and hamper the true story being told.
One comment was actually well thought out and went thusly: “I dunno, but it’s worked for Lucy Liu playing Dr Watson. And that was a male role filled by a woman. Have you made a similar complaint about Laurence Fishburne playing Perry White in Man of Steel. Does it really matter what colour the actor is? No. Who cares?”
Then came this response: “You should care. You can’t have a white Sue Storm and a black Johnny Storm if you don’t makes (sic) sure that the story makes sense since they are supposed to be siblings.”
One of my favourites was this one: “A Black Human Torch and black Electro? Dafuq… I absolutely have nothing against black people, they are just people like you and me, but in a movie comic adaptation the actors MUST LOOK LIKE THE CHARACTER FROM THE COMICS!”
There is something brilliant about the idiocy on display here. Saying you have nothing against black people is almost admitting your comment has a racist edge to it but you want to put a warning up first, just in case anyone takes offence. Also, who is to say that the actor must look like the character from the comics? Never mind that Jessica Alba never really looked like Sue Storm in the original Fantastic Four movie until they made her hair blonde and put in some blue contact lenses.
Now, this comment I am just going to put down as trolling, as I would hate to believe this was backed up with any kind of belief from its author: “It just sucks because the more reason black people have to go see the movie in theaters, the more I’ll have to deal with people walking in late, smuggling in meatloaf and chicken wings, answering their phones during the movie, and repeating all of the film’s dialogue.”
The very fact that people can get so upset over a fictional character in a fictional universe baffles me. They are ok with the idea of seeing people fly, getting superpowers in experiments gone wrong, aliens invading earth, gods falling from the sky, people turning into green rage monsters but when a black man is approached to play a character they believe to be white, their world implodes.
Michael B. Jordan was interviewed recently about him possibly playing the Human Torch and he had this to say: “Things change and time goes on, It’s 2013 right now. The characteristics of The Human Torch are his name is Johnny Storm, he’s charismatic, and he’s a playboy. That’s it.”
He is correct of course, and these characteristics are what defines Johnny Storm, not his colour or ethnicity. As film lovers we should want the best actor possible cast in a role, their skin colour should not matter and the fact that it does in this day and age saddens me greatly.