Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ironic Imagination Shortage

Ok, so they want to re-make Spider-man?  Um, the first two movies were good, third was ok, so why not a fourth?  Too old, I guess.  So, the powers that be want to start over.  Whatever.  But now we have an interesting controversy--can Peter Parker be Black?  Donald Glover of Community has become the center of this controversy as some folks offered up his name.

The fanfolk seem opposed.  Why?
One of the core truths about many fanboys is that they have a very limited imagination, which seems odd when you consider that they are drawn to works of fiction that are all about imagination.  People get hung up on the strangest things when it comes to new versions of the things they like, and when you start talking about casting, and especially when race becomes a factor in that conversation, things can get ugly.  And fast.

As is pointed out in the linked piece, there is nothing to Peter Parker's tale that is inherently white.  So, what is the problem?  Well, the real one may be international and not domestic as is pointed out in the piece:
For the past few years, I've been dealing with international financing on a film I wrote, and the main character has been incredibly difficult to cast.  He's an ex pro-wrestler, and we always knew we needed someone of a certain size and heft.  At one point, we got Michael Clarke Duncan to say yes to the role, and as far as we were concerned, that was a completely victory.  I think he's exactly right for the role physically, but beyond that, he has a vulnerability that would fill the character out in the right way.  Unfortunately, we were told that the financiers wouldn't accept him in the part because... and I quote... "there's no international audience for black actors."
That, by the way, is the real reason Donald Glover won't be playing Spider-Man.
Big action movies need international audiences, so my question is: is Will Smith an African-American?  Um, yeah.  Has his movies, superhero and otherwise, made buckets of cash?  Yes.  Even when he had an inter-racial romance with a hot married South African woman who was playing an American one?  That would be Charlize Theron, by the way, in Hancock.  It made enough cash for a sequel.

So, perhaps it is a problem of imagination--that people have an image of Peter Parker and cannot accept much change.  Anyhow, as a fan of Spidey, I just want to see the character get good lines, full of snark, as he engages in the amazing acrobatics that our current generation of special effects can capture.  I don't really care about this race.   Changing the gender of the character would alter the tale much more, although that might be interesting, too.

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