Sunday , 23 June 2024

After “Spider-Man” Casting Backlash, “Guardians” Director Backs Zendaya

ABC/Greg Gayne(LOS ANGELES) — Marvel director James Gunn is responding to the race controversy surrounding Zendaya’s rumored role as Peter Parker love interest Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming, after some on social media attacked the idea that MJ, a white character in the comics, could be played by a person of color.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Gunn — who directed the Marvel mega-hit Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel — writes in part, “I do not believe a character is the color of his or her skin. When Michael B Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm I didn’t understand the uproar,” he writes, referring to the recent Fantastic Four movie reboot.

While being careful to neither confirm nor deny Zendaya’s casting as Mary Jane, Gunn goes on, “For me, if a character’s primary attribute — the thing that makes them iconic — is the color of their skin, or their hair color, frankly, that character is shallow and sucks. For me, what makes MJ MJ is her alpha female playfulness, and if the actress captures that, then she’ll work. And, for the record, I think Zendaya even matches what I think of as MJ’s primary physical characteristics — she’s a tall, thin model — much more so than actresses have in the past.”

Zendaya, who was initially, officially, said to play a character named “Michelle,” has yet to publicly respond to the discussion.

Starring Tom Holland as the web-slinger, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May and Michael Keaton as the villain the Vulture, Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters July 7, 2017 from Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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