In America’s film industry we’ve seen many of our favorite characters reinvented over and over. From our favorite comic book characters to a lovable orphan with red curls. America film industry has managed to keep all iconic characters present and fresh. Recently, director and writer, Ryan Coogler brought back to life an American classic: Rocky. However This film focuses on another iconic character, Apollo Creed, hence the name of the new film: Creed. This is a great film with award winning performances by Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallion, & Tessa Mae Thompson. In addition, America’s audience accepted this movie with open arms and enthusiasm. Creed came out Wed. and made $6 million midday. By Thanksgiving (Day 2), Creed made higher than $30 million in the box office. For a revamp of a movie, Creed has done an amazing job at reviving an iconic story.
In contrast to the success that Creed has achieved, some movies have fallen flat and received negative feedback. One way that America seems to be reviving films are through skin color. It’s not so much as a spin-off similar to what Creed has done but, the ethnicity of the main characters change and most of the story line has stayed the same. Of course, some people hate this idea and don’t want to see their favorite characters changed in any shape. For example, some fans were in an uproar when Marvel’s Fantastic Four character, Johnny Storm, was cast as a Black man.
If you haven’t been paying attention, the new Fantastic Four film starred Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm), and Jamie Bell (The Thing). The filmed starred actors and actresses from various backgrounds. However, it was actor Michael B. Jordan who received the most hatred. Some fans became upset that Jordan was cast as The Human Torch because he is Black. Fans couldn’t understand the concept behind the switch. Sue Storm is biologically related to Johnny Storm. In the 2015 version, they are still brother and sister but by different circumstances.
Director Josh Trank had his own reasons for casting Michael B. Jordan as the new Johnny Storm and it wasn’t because he is a Black Man. It’s because he has a fresh face, tons of talent, “it” guy in Hollywood, and can bring people to the box office. Michael B. Jordan expected the ignorance of some people about a Black man being cast for a “White role.” Jordan quoted in his interview with Variety, “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.’ 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.” The 2015 Fantastic Four was a complete flop in theaters and it wasn’t because of Jordan, but the story didn’t go well with fans. The film only grossed 168 million worldwide. Personally, I’ve never seen the film. Many people have told me not to waste my time going to see it. I don’t think Hollywood should have revived Fantastic Four. The first two were enough.
Another movie that the film industry has revived is 1982’s Annie. We all know that Annie is a lovable little girl who is infamous for her big red hair. However, in the 2014 version, the curls are no longer red. The new cast of Annie features Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis. Some of the producers are Will & Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z. To some, maybe the cast of directors explains why Annie was been cast as a Black girl. Or maybe, it was just time to put a fresh face and spin to an old classic.
The revamped Annie was a success grossing 133 million and was nominated for 2 Golden-Globes. However, the film did receive negative reviews before coming out, many of which came from Twitter.
I don’t believe these comments to be racist. I do believe they are ignorant and uncalled for. Annie is a fictional character and it’s not about what she looks like although, she is well known for her red bouncy curls. People fell in love with Annie because of her story and not her skin color. At least I hope it wasn’t her skin color.
Quvenzhané Wallis wasn’t the only young Black girl bashed for playing a “White” girl role. Remember Amandla Stenberg who played lovable Rue from the big box office hit the Hunger Games? Believe it or not, Stenberg’s skin color left many upset because, for some odd reason, people thought Rue was White.
If you’ve read the Hunger Games, then you know that the character Rue is a Black female. The book clearly states:
…And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor… (pg. 45)
The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there. He’s one of the giants, probably six and half feet tall and built like an ox.
Now it is true, just because she has dark skin doesn’t mean she’s Black. However, you can infer that isn’t White. Although, if I take a step back and try to understand from a different perspective, maybe people thought she was tanned. However, even if people thought that, it makes me question their perceptions of “dark brown skin.” In addition, I really think it’s interesting how so many thought she wasn’t a female of “color”. How else could people have envisioned her? It’s clearly written in the book.
The comments written about Rue are very ignorant. I don’t know if these people actually meant what they said or if they were just following a trend. The comments weren’t directed at Amandla Stenberg but more so the character she played.
In Hollywood, the overwhelming theme with reviving films is to change the surroundings, keep the plot, but make it fresh. Making it fresh doesn’t mean adding Black people or making the main character(s) Black. It means having a brand new idea/ view on certain films. Some films are more accepted but of course, the ignorance of skin color still exist.