Michael B. Jordan, who co-stars in this summer’s “Fantastic Four” film, responded to the harsh criticism from fans looking for a more “traditional” Johnny Storm — the character, as depicted in Marvel Comics, is blonde-haired and white — in an open letter published by Entertainment Weekly.
Jordan opens the letter by recounting the way he broke an unspoken Hollywood rule: Don’t check the Internet after you’ve been cast as a superhero. When he did, he encountered a harsh response and cries of political correctness.
“It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore,” he wrote. “I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, ‘You’re good. I’m okay with this,’ who am I to go against that?”
“This is a family movie about four friends — two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister — who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it,” he added.
Jordan expressed a desire to “set an example,” hopefully leading to more performers of color in prominent Hollywood roles rather than being “true to the comic book.” To conclude, he addressed “trolls on the Internet” directly, saying, “Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.”
“Fantastic Four” opens on August 7.
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