With all that’s going on in the world today, the discussion around the entertainment industry’s lack of diversity is once again back in the headlines, and this has even extended to one of the worst blockbusters in recent history. Ever since it was released, most of the talk surrounding Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four has been about how much of an unmitigated disaster it was, and the effect that it had on the director’s career.
However, given the current climate and the initial backlash from the more narrow-minded sections of the fanbase that had an issue with Michael B. Jordan being cast as Johnny Storm that’s become timely once again, Trank revealed that the studio rejected his request to have a black actress play Sue Storm, which then ironically led to the same people that protested against Jordan’s involvement complaining that they’d changed the origin story of the Storm siblings to make Sue the adopted daughter of Reg E. Cathey’s Franklin.
In a recent interview, the filmmaker went into more detail about his push to have more diversity among Fantastic Four’s cast, and how he felt that having the ensemble made up of people from different backgrounds would be a more authentic representation of modern society.
“So the question of diversity, it was like maybe the second thought to be honest, you know? Because it wasn’t like I didn’t think about it that much, because to me that’s by default, you need diversity in movies. I don’t want to see a movie about a bunch of white people. That’s just not interesting to me.”
When it comes to casting any movie, the focus should be on finding the best actor for the part regardless of race or gender, and the Capone director admitted that his reasoning for casting Michael B. Jordan was based simply on the Black Panther star’s suitability for the role and nothing else.
“But in terms of a story about four young people who are forever changed by these incredible events, you want to see a diverse cast. It just goes without saying. So for Mike and I, that was just a natural conclusion. Of course you’re going to be Johnny Storm, because you’re like the f**king coolest dude there is. You’ve got charisma for days. Who else would play Johnny Storm? It just made sense. I brought it up to the studio and they were just like, ‘Perfect’. There was just no question about it.”
Clearly Fox’s committal to diversity only stretched to 25% of the team given that they vetoed Trank’s casting choice for Sue Storm, but as one of the fastest-rising young stars in the industry, you’d be foolish not to cast Michael B. Jordan if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, that mattered little given the overall quality of the movie, and most people involved with Fantastic Four would probably rather try and forget that it even happened.