It had been rumoured for a long time, but now Variety reports that the main cast has been pretty much set for 20th Century Fox's upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. The article claims that in addition to long rumoured Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, the film will star Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Susan Storm and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm.
Slated to open June, 2015, the reboot will be directed by Josh Trank, who previously helmed the found footage superhero film Chronicle, from a script written by Simon Kinberg, who previously penned Sherlock Holmes and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The casting of the film has been a source of controversy ever since Jordan was first linked to the role of Johnny Storm. Storm is a white character in the comics, and some fans complained that the casting of an African-American actor in the role was too far away from the original concept. I was not one of those people. I myself had no problem with Jordan's casting because he's a fantastic actor with a big career ahead of him and I can easily see him playing the role of Johnny Storm as he appears in the comics and just killing it. Johnny's skin colour seems to me in no way important to the character. He's a young, hot-headed lady-killer with an immature sense of humour. I don't see what part of that screams white or black. And such vehemence against his casting on the basis of his skin colour? I can't see how that isn't racist in some way.
|Michael B. Jordan|
You see, in the comics, Reed Richards is a grown man. He's got grey in his hair. So, I've always seen him as in his mid to late thirties. Ben Grimm is his contemporary, so he must be at or around the same age. Sue Storm must be a bit younger, so let's say mid to late twenties when the FF is formed. That leaves Johnny anywhere from his late teens to his early twenties. Their age and how that informs the characters and their relationships is far more important than skin colour to me.
All of which makes me wonder why you would take this direction, which didn't resonate with the fan base of the franchise, and base your reboot around it. The Fantastic Four is a tough concept, to be honest, having been created as a reflection of the optimistic hopefulness of the space age of the early 1960s crossed with the emergence of the realization of the dysfunctionality of the nuclear family. It's a concept that still has life in it, but is frankly dated. At this point, the thing that separates it from all other superhero books are that it's a story about a family that is also a group of explorers. I've written about this before.
|The Ultimate FF|
I think that Mara actually isn't a bad choice for Sue, and I've already said that Jordan would make a great Johnny. But Johnny and Sue are supposed to be brother and sister, so how does that work? Are you now going to have to write in some sort of clunky scene where you explain that one is adopted, or they're half-siblings or something? That could work I suppose, but it begs a larger question. When Jordan was cast, why wasn't this seen as an opportunity to cast both Storms as African-American? It would have been a huge thing for colour-blind casting, and it would have presented an opportunity for depicting a multi-racial romance between Reed and Sue, which doesn't happen all that often in Hollywood films. And are you telling me there's not one African-American actress who could handle the Sue Storm role? Not one? Instead the choice is to now have to make the difference between the two siblings a thing that has to be explained, which needlessly complicates things in my opinion.