Early this morning, Jeff Sneider at TheWrap filed a story that Michael B. Jordan (best known as Wallace in The Wire) was “in contention” to play The Human Torch in Fox’s Fantastic Four Reboot. It’s hard to know what “in contention” or “being considered” even really mean as it relates to casting, but Fantastic Four is being directed by Josh Trank of Chronicle, which also starred Michael B. Jordan, whose star is sure to be on the rise after starring in the critically acclaimed festival darling Fruitvale (now Fruitvale Station), so I guess it would make sense. Sure, why not, he’s a good actor. Either way, in and of itself, this news item is still a few facts away from me giving a shit.
But of course, this wouldn’t make Kerfuffle Watch without a kerfuffle, or at least a fracas with a whiff of hubbubelry. OH MY GOD, A BLACK GUY MIGHT PLAY A WHITE CHARACTER! Just search “human torch black” on Twitter if you want to see some pissed off people. But I wouldn’t recommend it, because let’s be honest, if you go snooping around pond bottoms, you’re going to find scum. It’s not a surprise. The age old argument in play here is, “Wouldn’t black guys be pissed if a white guy was cast as a black character?!” Probably, but I don’t feel like playing make believe in order to predict whether people might be offended by something. They probably will. Someone, somewhere, will be. All things being equal, yeah, a white guy could play a black guy from a comic book and vice versa, and everyone would be fine with it. But all things aren’t quite equal yet, there’s still the memory of minstrel shows and black people being underrepresented and blah blah blah. Maybe some day it will be just as okay for a white dude to play a black dude as vice versa, but we’re not quite there yet. So in the meantime, maybe just shut up about it because who really cares anyway.
Let’s not forget, we’re talking about The Human Torch here, a character named “Johnny Storm,” who is literally flaming. The people worried that the character might be black don’t seem at all troubled by the fact that he’s super duper gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best friends are gay superheros. Look, all I’m saying is, if a black guy playing The Human Torch is something that legitimately troubles you, I’m going to wedgie you with your own Klan robes, you tumbling, tumbling dickweed.