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Fox Wouldn't Allow Fantastic Four Director To Cast A Black Actress!

Fantastic Four Black Actress Racism

Guys, you won’t believe this… but there’s a lot of racism in Hollywood!

Yes, in the midst of ongoing protests of police brutality and systemic racism, several voices in the industry are using the Black Lives Matter momentum to point out hidden racism in their own jobs.

Gabrielle Union pointed out NBC‘s far too recent history with blackface in her new America’s Got Talent complaint, multiple actresses on The CW addressed their position as diversity propsFaith Stowers spoke up about her treatment as the only black cast member of Vanderpump Rules.

You can add the name Josh Trank to that list. You may not have heard the name in a while (or ever), but he was the wunderkind director of Chronicle who was given the reins on 20th Century Fox‘s second attempt at making a Fantastic Four franchise.

If they remember it at all, most people will know that film as a huge disaster in which clashes between the studio and the filmmaker made for a complete mess with all-too obvious reshoots (hello, wigs!) of half the biggest scenes of the film. Trank infamously tweeted out his disgust at the finished product.

Related: Miles Teller Blamed The Script

But there was another early battle he didn’t even mention, one he definitively lost. The studio would not let him cast a black woman in the role of Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman.

He told Geeks Of Color over the weekend:

“There were a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind-the-scenes on that. I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm, a black Johnny Storm and a black Franklin Storm. But when you’re dealing with a studio on a massive movie like that, everybody wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are going to be. When it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role.”

The studio ended up green-lighting his vision of a black Johnny Storm and his father, casting rising star Michael B. Jordan and the late, great Reg E. Cathey, respectively. But Johnny’s sister had to be white — so he ended up casting Kate Mara — who btw is the same age as Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Lupita Nyong’o (above, inset).

Kate Mara in Fantastic Four 2015
Kate Mara in Fantastic Four (2015). / (c) 20th Century Fox/YouTube

Trank said he regrets giving in to the studio on that fight:

“When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realization sort of hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle. Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life, and those weren’t the values then or ever for me. Because I’m somebody who always talks about standing up for what I believe in, even if it means burning my career out, and I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”

We can’t say we’re too surprised to hear the studio was adamant about a white woman in that role. No one remembers it, but they also whited up Jessica Alba when she played Sue Storm back in Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer back in 2007.

Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four Rise Of The Silver Surfer 2007
Yes, that’s Jessica Alba wearing a blonde wig, blue contacts, and lots of makeup. Can you imagine if Twitter had been around back then? (c) 20th Century Fox/YouTube

How might this have changed things? Innerestingly enough Kate Mara wouldn’t have met and had babies with Jamie Bell. So that’s wild to think about.

All that said, diverse casting could have gotten even more of a head start would execs have just listened. In recent years, the roles of Black Canary in Birds Of Prey and MJ in Spider-Man have been played by black actresses — a lot of these comic book characters were created before the civil rights movement and WAY before anyone was paying attention to things like representation. Thus, majority were white. Diversification in casting is a must these days and everyone can and should be represented!

However, it probably wouldn’t have helped the F4 movie, which seemed like it was doomed from the start. No pun intended.

[Image via Andres Otero/Adriana M. Barraza/WENN/Avalon/20th Century Fox/YouTube.]

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Jun 09, 2020 09:37am PDT