Being a Marvel property, and one of the more popular ones to boot, you wouldn't think that 20th Century Fox would resort to controversy in drumming up publicity for their impending reboot of the The Fantastic Four franchise. But that's exactly what happened with the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, also know as The Human Torch. The character has always been portrayed as European-American in the comic books and past feature films. Now, an African-American actor is stepping into the role, and the move has drummed up a fair amount of criticism.
It's a fire, not unlike the one surrounding Johnny Storm, that just won't die down, and it seems to be the only question Michael B. Jordan is facing at the moment. He also courted a lesser-scale race controversy on the NBC drama Parenthood, where he played a black soup kitchen worker who falls in love with the lily white Haddie Braverman. So the actor is becoming quite well spoken and adept at answering questions about the color of his skin in relation to any role.
Two weeks ago, Michael B. Jordan made the quick comment that no matter who was playing The Human Torch, audiences would go see it anyway. Now, he is sharing more of his thoughts, addressing a large crowd at an event in Rome. And he actually sides with some of the fans that claim it's an issue over continuity and not race. But that they're making something new that doesn't quite fall in line with what has come before it.
""It was expected. You kinda know going into it that people are used to seeing something one way, it's a continuity thing more than anything. People don't like change too much. But annoyed? Eh, you just kinda accept it, it is what it is. You can't make everybody happy. You just gotta accept that and know. I'm an actor; I have to do my job. I'm going to do my job the best I can and the way I've been doing it my entire life, my entire career. I grew up a comic book guy, I read comic books as a kid growing up, and the Fantastic Four/Human Torch is one of my favorite characters so I'm going to give it my everything. I can't wait. I don't really let it bother me at all. I just want to go into it and do the best job I can. We'll see what happens."
The actor also revealed for the first time why he decided to take on the role, knowing that it would spark controversy and conversation.
"The Human Torch is, 'yknow, that's fun. That's going to be a good time...To play a superhero? That's dreams coming true. It's not going to be hard. It's going to be fun to kind of show a side of me that I don't really get to show on screen, to be a little bit lighter, funnier, just more personality. It's going to be fun."
20th Century Fox knew what they were doing in casting Michael B. Jordan. Not only is he one of the better actors of his generation, his joining the film has indeed brought more news to the project than it would have garnered otherwise. The studio will definitely use this to their advantage. People who weren't interested in, or didn't know the reboot was happening certainly know it now. So, from a marketing standpoint, the casting has already worked. I mean, we're talking about it, aren't we? And the movie isn't out for another year and a half.
You can watch the entire interview here: