[UPDATE: Yes, I did have to add in the caption a few hours later.]
Please, if I didn’t make this joke, someone in the comments would have. But we’re not talking about Lois Lane. We’re talking about Perry White.
That’s him, in case you don’t know who he is, in which case welcome to planet Earth. Perry White is almost as iconic as Superman. In fact, all of Superman’s main supporting cast, including Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, are well known, so obviously if your doing a new Superman movie, maybe calling it Man of Steel or something, you want to find somebody who not only acts the part, but looks it as well. Wasn’t that why the thought of Nicolas Cage playing Superman/Clark Kent made many of us Superfans huddle in a corner begging God that he doesn’t get the part? So who would you choose for Perry White?
Hi, Zack Snyder, welcome to the BW Media Spotlight.
I know what the negative response is going to be because I’ve seen it in numerous comments sections and at least one forum. “Tronix,I thought you didn’t care about skin color. Wasn’t that what you said in the video last week? What difference does it make? Samuel L. Jackson does a great job as Nick Fury.”
Skin color to me is no different than hair or eye color, it’s a description. But then that’s my point. Imagine Superman being played by a blonde, Jimmy Olsen bald, and Lex Luthor with hair…OK, the last one is a bad example. Still, Fishburne looks nothing like Perry White, even going past skin color. Let me give you another example.
That’s jolly Jonah as portrayed expertly by J.K. Simmons. (And before anyone asks, we will talk about Ultimate Spidey tomorrow.) However, they went the extra mile, giving Simmons a believable version of JJJ’s hairstyle and the mustache. It’s not Jonah without the mustache, or at least the right mustache. Don’t believe me?
That’s Robert F. Simon as Jameson between 2 and 3 minutes in. He took over for David White, who played him in the pilot and looked and sounded less like Jonah than Simon. Who you get in a role is very important. But it’s not just the fact that Fishburne doesn’t resemble White in any form. Someone will point out previous Perry Whites that didn’t look the part. Well, let’s have a collage.
Only two of these Perry’s really look the part, although I probably should have found a more accurate picture of Jackie Cooper (bottom left). And I think I lost one when I remembered to add in Fishburne. Plus, I’m not sure Fishburne is the right guy had Perry been black. He’s one of those guys who can kick your butt and sound cool doing it. Even in IMDB’s bio…
…Fishburne, who is sometimes mistaken for another tall, gap-toothed, mercurial, immensely talented African-American actor, Samuel L. Jackson…
Perry White is no butt-kicker, unless your working for him and there’s a deadline to get the next edition out. He’s good natured but stern, which is the only thing Fisburne could pull off, but he doesn’t scream “old warhorse newsman” the way White does. I don’t think Fishburne would have had the same experiences since while race doesn’t matter to me the rest of the world is still trying to realize I’m right. (Being a rare event and all.) So that will and should have an impact on the character to a point.
But let’s get into the real reason he was hired, not because of his skin but because of his name. Have you seen the current cast list for Man of Steel?
|Henry Cavill||…||Clark Kent / Superman|
|Amy Adams||…||Lois Lane|
|Russell Crowe||…||Jor-El (rumored)|
|Diane Lane||…||Martha Kent|
|Kevin Costner||…||Jonathan Kent|
|Laurence Fishburne||…||Perry White|
|Michael Shannon||…||General Zod|
|Julia Ormond||…||Lara Lor-Van|
|Antje Traue||…||Faora (rumored)|
|Harry Lennix||…||General Swanwick (rumored)|
(Wait, who’s General Swanwick or Faora? And why isn’t Lara using her married name?) Even the rumors are big names like Russell Crowe. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are Clark’s Earth parents. (I will say this for Smallville. John Schneider was the best Jonathan Kent. So naturally Pa died long before the comic did him in.) Snyder isn’t going for the best actors for the role but the biggest names he can find. Does he really think that’s the only way he can sell the movie?
Right, they have no clue at all, do they? Actually, he looks pretty good, but apparently he needs a better laundry detergent to get those bright colors their brightest.
Not sure if that’s better or worse, actually.