With the early August release date for Fantastic Four swiftly approaching, actor Michael B. Jordan has taken to the web to give yet another response to all the critics who insist a Black actor can’t take on the role of Johnny Storm.
More than a year has passed since Jordan was confirmed for the role, which meant a Black star would be taking on the role of a traditionally white character.
Many critics openly expressed how uncomfortable they were with one of the Fantastic Four being Black, but Jordan has continued to brush off such backlash. When TMZ cameras caught up with the actor in the past, he gave a grin before insisting that even those who are complaining about the casting are still going to go see the movie.
This time around, however, he wasn’t in the mood for jokes or lighthearted responses when he wrote a short essay for Entertainment Weekly about why he has dedicated this part of his career to “torching the color line.”
“Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of ‘Black Film,’ “ he wrote. “Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.”
Jordan reminded his critics and the Internet trolls that the collection of superheroes on the big screen and in the comic books were about unity, which is exactly what makes his casting so important.
“This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team,” he continued. “That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.”
But as a celebrity, Jordan sees the opportunity to take on a certain amount of social responsibility.
“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,’ “ Jordan continued. “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.”
It’s no suggestion that race and color lines should be ignored but rather an optimistic suggestion that maybe in the future, the world of Hollywood and other industries will be so diverse that there won’t be such shocking reactions every time a Black actor makes their way into a film that isn’t perceived as a “Black film” or maybe people won’t mind the idea of a Black superhero coming to save the day.
For those who say Jordan’s casting just isn’t “true to the comic book,” Jordan also used the essay to remind them that he has already garnered the support of the iconic comic book creator himself, Stan Lee.
“I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books,” he wrote. “But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, ‘You’re good. I’m okay with this,’ who am I to go against that?”
So his message to the trolls, critics and closed-minded is a simple one.
“Get your head out of the computer,” he concludes. “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.”