‘SPIDER-MAN’ DIRECTOR DEFENDS CASTING OF BLACK ACTRESS ZENDAYA AS MARY JANE



It didn’t take long for critics to find their way to the internet after news about Zendaya’s role in Spider-Man: Homecoming was revealed. 
The actress is reportedly playing Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s love interest. And some have taken issue with the casting because MJ has been portrayed as a white woman in the comics and in Sam Raimi’s trilogy.
Director James Gunn, while cleverly not actually confirming that Zendaya is playing Mary Jane, responded to critics on his Facebook page:
YESTERDAY, A RUMOR BROKE OUT THAT THE CHARACTER OF MARY JANE WAS BEING PLAYED BY A YOUNG BLACK WOMAN, ZENDAYA, AND ALL HELL BROKE OUT ON THE INTERNET (AGAIN). I TWEETED THAT IF PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES COMPLAINING ABOUT MARY JANE’S ETHNICITY THEY HAVE LIVES THAT ARE TOO GOOD…
FOR ME, IF A CHARACTER’S PRIMARY ATTRIBUTE — THE THING THAT MAKES THEM ICONIC — IS THE COLOUR OF THEIR SKIN, OR THEIR HAIR COLOUR, 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.
WHATEVER THE CASE, IF WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO MAKE MOVIES BASED ON THE ALMOST ALL WHITE HEROES AND SUPPORTING CHARACTERS FROM THE COMICS OF THE LAST CENTURY, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET USED TO THEM BEING MORE REFLECTIVE OF OUR DIVERSE PRESENT WORLD. PERHAPS WE CAN BE OPEN TO THE IDEA THAT, ALTHOUGH SOMEONE MAY NOT INITIALLY MATCH HOW WE PERSONALLY CONCEIVE A CHARACTER, WE CAN BE — AND OFTEN ARE — HAPPILY SURPRISED.
SOURCE: The Independent

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