Ray Fisher, the actor who played Cyborg in Justice League, has fully opened up about what happened during the Justice League reshoots. And now #IStandWithRayFisher is trending on Twitter. We've heard Fisher speak, somewhat vaguely, for months about issues that, among other things, including racism and abuse, during filming from Joss Whedon, who took over for Zack Snyder after he departed the project, as well as executives Geoff Johns, Jon Berg and Toby Emmerich. Now, in a wide-ranging interview, Fisher has pulled the curtain back to tell his side of the story.
The piece is sprawling, with many new bits of information. But Ray Fisher's main issues stem from representation. As Fisher recalls, he had "to explain some of the most basic points of what would be offensive to the Black community" to Joss Whedon. Much of Cyborg's story was stripped from the theatrical version of the movie, released in 2017. As we saw in Zack Snyder's Justice League, Cyborg was, in many ways, at the heart of the movie. Of particular note, the theatrical version stripped away much of his backstory, particularly about Victor Stone's parents. "It represents that his parents are two genius-level Black people," Fisher says. "We don't see that every day." That is just one example.
Joss Whedon was tasked with making Justice League lighter in tone. Per the report, "Johns told him that it was problematic that Cyborg smiled only twice in the movie." It is also said that there were discussions where executives said they could not have "an angry Black man" at the center of the movie. It was also reportedly suggested by Geoff Johns that Fisher play the character more like Quasimodo and less like Frankenstein. "I didn't have any intention of playing him as a jovial, cathedral-cleaning individual," Fisher said.
Another major issue had to do with the catchphrase "booyah." Cyborg says the phrase in the popular Teen Titans animated series. But both Zack Snyder and Ray Fisher felt it didn't have a place in the movie. Fisher thought of other Black characters who, throughout history, have had catchphrases, such as Gary Coleman's "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" While Fisher objected, he eventually did film the line, which ended up in the theatrical cut. Whedon allegedly got Fisher to do so with a mocking tone. Per the report...
"Whedon stretched out his arms and said a line from Hamlet in a mocking tone: 'Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you.'"
Ray Fisher says, "It was like he was assuming how Black people would respond rather than taking the advice from the only Black person, as far as I know, with any kind of creative impact on the project." The actor still doesn't want to name names. The actor doesn't want to expose the identities of others who shared their stories with him and investigators, as he doesn't want anyone to lose their job. Fisher shared the report on Twitter, saying the following.
"They didn't want 'an angry black man.' They ended up with a motivated one. I'm not going anywhere. Accountability>Entertainment"
Joss Whedon declined to comment for the piece, but a representative for Geoff Johns refuted many of the claims made by Fisher. For his part, Fisher was unsatisfied with the internal investigation that was conducted by Warner Bros. Some "remedial action" was taken by the studio but it is not clear what specific actions those were. Fisher concluded by suggesting that these people are not fit for leadership roles.
"I don't believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership. I don't want them excommunicated from Hollywood, but I don't think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people... If I can't get accountability, at least I can make people aware of who they're dealing with."
Gal Gadot is said to have clashed with Joss Whedon as well. The Wonder Woman star didn't say much, only that "I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner." This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.