Samuel L. Jackson (and Michael Clarke Duncan, were he still alive) most likely empathizes with Michael B. Jordan. The young actor is portraying Johnny Storm for the upcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot movie set for release this Friday. Why would Mr. Jackson have empathy for Mr. Jordan? Because he’s playing a role in which his character’s racial template is different from his own. In the comic, Johnny Storm and his older sister Susan are White. In the upcoming film adaptation, Johnny is written as an African-American with Susan (played by Kate Mara) being his adopted White sister.
Many fans believe that a deviation of this magnitude is unrealistic, even for an adaptation. Some just want it stay true to the book, some don’t care, and some have issues with the casting choice and adaptation that have “racial” written all over them.
When Michael Clarke Duncan portrayed Wilson Fisk in 2003’s “Daredevil”, I was surprised, but not put-off, by the casting. I was surprised that the filmmakers chose this kind of dichotomy between character and actor, but I still wanted to see how it translated on-screen. Clarke’s performance wasn’t bad. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury had been implemented long before the first “Iron Man” film was even released. For Marvel’s Ultimates comic line, the creators chose to make that universe’s Nick Fury in Mr. Jackson’s likeness, and this was back in 2001. The point is, if it works on screen, then who cares? One radio host in Atlanta seemed to.
In the video below, the Young Turks show and comment on excerpts from a “Fantastic Four” promotional interview that the aforementioned host conducted with Mr. Jordan and Ms. Mara. During which, he asked questions about the racial dynamics between characters portrayed by both stars. Either he wanted to piss the interviewees off and/or get a soundbite out of them, or he was really ignorant. Either way, he came off as a dumb southerner who never considered the concept of adoption to answer his question. He also asked Ms. Mara about her hairdo and awkwardly criticized her for it. To their credit, both actors played it cool without giving anyone anything to use of against them. See the video below.