Despite not being particularly wowed by Fantastic Four (2005), I’m still generally of the opinion that maybe we shouldn’t remake movies that are only a decade old. But since movie studios continue to make these decisions without consulting me personally, we’ll be seeing a reboot sometime next year.
And today we have our main cast.
Miles Teller as Reed Richards
I have virtually no opinion about this one way or another, considering I’ve never seen The Spectacular Now, the remake of Footloose, or anything else Teller’s ever been in — save a small guest role in a single episode of The Unusuals. Ioan Gruffudd was pretty bland in the original film, though, so it’s hard to imagine Teller has anywhere to go but up. (Although good God, how old is this kid? I know they’re going for a younger team here, but Jesus. He’s practically a baby.)
Kate Mara as Sue Storm
Ditto above on the *shrug* reaction. I’m mostly familiar with Kate Mara from a couple of episodes of Everwood and the first season of American Horror Story, which I never even finished. I don’t have a great sense of her range, but like Teller, I think she’d have to be an improvement over Jessica Alba.
The main reason Kate Mara’s casting is raising some eyebrows?
Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm
Chris Evans was clearly the best thing about Fantastic Four, but since he’s fairly busy right now being Captain America, I’m pretty happy with this casting. I liked Michael B. Jordan in Chronicle quite a bit, and I’m happy to see him in more nerdy superhero things that I can enjoy.
As far as Mara and Jordan playing siblings . . . my first reaction was like . . . huh. You know, I was surprised. I won’t say I wasn’t. But then I got past it because it’s not like all siblings have the same skin color. Maybe they’re the children of biracial parents, or maybe they’re adopted siblings, or maybe they’re step-siblings. Honestly, I’m not sure the movie even needs to address it, unless it somehow plays into the plot. After all, it’s not like Chris Evans and Jessica Alba come from the same ethnic background, and they played siblings in the original films. (I guess you could argue Alba’s dyed hair and blue contacts were an attempt to make her look more Caucasian, but I never really took it as such. Did hate those contacts, though.) Anyway, it just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.
The casting that continues to startle me, though:
Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm
I love Jamie Bell and will never complain about his casting, ever, but . . . I’ve gotta say, I always pictured the Thing as someone . . . . well, someone more like Michael Chiklis and less like a 5’7″ skinny boy from the U.K. But I’m willing to be convinced. (And if he could just go ahead and keep his natural accent, I’d be okay with that too. No, I don’t care about authenticity. I care about pretty accents, okay? There is nothing wrong with that.)
Still waiting to see who’s cast as Dr. Doom. (I just assume.) Any speculations? People you wish were cast as the Fantastic Four instead? Don’t rely on telepathy — leave me a comment.
6 thoughts on “In Geek News Today: The Cast of the Fantastic Four (Again)”
Okay, yeah, Johnny Storm is white. Imagine if there were any good black superheroes and, in the movie version, they decided to cast a white actor. People wouldn’t be so fine about that. They wouldn’t be fine with a black version of a white character if they were first string, either, which Johnny Storm isn’t. Black Wolverine? Black Professor X? Black Thor? They made Heimdall black, but not Thor, wonder why? Same reason in Ultimate X-Men they made Colossus gay and not Cyclops.
There are lots of people who aren’t okay with casting black actors in historically white roles, whether they’re second string heroes or not. Heimdall may be a minor character in Thor, but there was quite the initial (and ridiculous) backlash about Elba’s casting.
It’s a little funny what you’ve said there: “Imagine if there were any good black superheroes . . .” This is exactly why it doesn’t bother me to cast a black man as Johnny Storm. There ARE black superheroes, of course, but how many? In comparison with how many white superheroes, I mean — I’m all for making these films too, but it seems ridiculous to say that black actors can only have the opportunity to star in this very small handful of roles when there are so MANY white ones.
To jump in here, given how difficult it is to find more than token, often racial minorities in blockbusters, I don’t think people of colour playing traditionally white characters and white actors playing traditionally PoC characters is exactly the same thing. Because it’s not like white actors are the ones hurting for roles, or being massively underrepresented even in uber-diverse cities like New York, or defined by stereotypes, you know?
So when there’s a good, big, traditionally white role that then goes to a black dude, or whatever, what does it matter? There are a gazillion other roles out there just like it. But if a good, big, traditionally black role goes to a white guy, then it’s one of the few good, large roles for black men being handed to someone who, demographically speaking, really doesn’t need it.
When someone’s race doesn’t affect their chances of being cast in major roles, I don’t think this shit will matter much, either way. But Hollywood isn’t there yet. Not even close.
Yes, you said that much better. That’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to say.
Yes, you said that much better. That’s pretty much exactly what I wanted to say.
I actually think you said it better. Teacups was just more longwinded, not clearer. I at least expected you to have the opinion on it that you do, but I believe you both to be wrong. One, it’s a spineless thing to do because, yes, they obviously never would make a first string character black. Only characters no one really cares that much about. Johnny Storm is the least interesting of the group, although Sue’s not far behind. So it’s safe. I can’t say I agree with throwing black actors a bone like that, and were I a black actor I wouldn’t appreciate charity.
I remember in ER when that black surgeon found out he only got in because of Affirmative Action and bumped a white candidate who was actually more qualified. He didn’t like it. That’s fictional of course but I suspect they don’t like in real life either.
As far as that goes, it’s not just black actors who are underrepresented in Hollywood (I would suggest maybe black writers, directors, producers, etc. start creating more good stuff for black actors…). Why not make Sue a Native American. Reed a Hispanic dude. Ben Grimm a Chinese guy. White actors have so many parts to choose from it seems a bit ridiculous a white actor should get a part in this movie about a team of white superheroes.
Well, I’m glad my point seemed clear, even though you disagree (and even though I disagree with you on Teacups being more longwinded). I guess I also disagree with you on Johnny Storm being the least interesting Fantastic Four character, although it’s probably fair to say that I’m not nearly as familiar with them as I am with other superheroes. Actually, after the last movie — which, admittedly, was not the best movie in the whole world — Johnny Storm was definitely my favorite character. Regardless, he’s a main player in this particular series, so I don’t think switching his ethnicity is really equivalent to charity. Like, I might agree with you if Michael B. Jordan had been cast as some minor hero outside the group who’s only there to get killed off or something like that. That would probably feel cheap to me. But this doesn’t feel like that to me at all — I certainly wouldn’t call it spineless, not when we live in a world that still produces all this horrible racist shit on a depressingly frequent basis.
You’re obviously right that there are many minorities who are underrepresented in Hollywood. But your suggestion that ‘maybe black writers, directors, producers, etc. start creating more good stuff for black actors’ . . . that reads a bit insulting to me, like black writers, directors, producers have never had that idea to just create better material for black actors. I don’t believe that’s necessarily how you intended your comment, but the suggestion does come off as fairly naive to me — because minorities aren’t just underrepresented in casting. It’s behind the camera too.
We do need more stories from non-Caucasian creators. I absolutely agree with that. But I think we also need Caucasian creators to really think about their default settings when they make stories with every important character as white.