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Michael B. Jordan addresses the racial controversy regarding Fantastic Four

05.22.2015

I have always looked at working for this website as a privilege and an honor. I love being able to share movie news with my fellow Schmoes out there. But, it also means that you have to have a thick skin when readers disagree with you. But, I have never had to endure the level of vitriol and trolling that has been thrown in the direction of Michael B. Jordan. The actor has reached a level of acclaim for his performances in FRUITVALE STATION and on The Wire that has gotten him one of the dream gigs every actor wants these days: being a superhero. But, when that character was conceived as being Caucasian, you would expect some comments about a change in race for the big screen but nothing to the level we have seen with Jordan's casting in FANTASTIC FOUR.

As production moved forward, each new tidbit about the casting and changes to the Johnny Storm character were met with negative reaction from a contingent of fans online. It would be easy to write these folks off, but Jordan has instead decided to face them head on with an editorial shared by Entertainment Weekly. You can read the entire piece on their site, but please check out the selection below.

Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.

To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.

Again, you can claim that the character was not conceived as being African-American, but does race truly matter for how the character is portrayed on screen? I understand the issue that folks have with Miles Morales being Spider-man on the big screen, but if Peter Parker were actually to be played by an actor of a different ethnicity, would it have any negative effect on your perception of the character or the movie as a whole? I sincerely hope that answer is no.

Whether FANTASTIC FOUR is any good or not rests primarily on the shoulders of Josh Trank. The movie will sink or swim based on his writing, direction, and the selection of the cast. If Jordan sucks as Johnny Storm, then we can blame him as an actor, but it should have nothing to do with the color of his skin. For now, I will simply say bravo, Michael B. Jordan. F*ck the haters.

FANTASTIC FOUR opens on August 7th.

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