A few days ago from the time of publishing of this article, famed action star Michelle Rodriguez stated that actors of color should stop “stealing” white super heroes. A day later she attempted to clarify her statement, appealing to the idea of non-whites creating their own heroes, their own mythologies.
Hmpf. Sounds noble. But would she ask that of white actors? You know, demand that white actors stop stealing non-white superheroes and mythologies? Would Michelle Rodriguez tell white people to stop trying to play Noah? Jesus? This is a serious question here; I wonder if she would have the same words to break towards white actors, directors and producers who push for white actors in roles that should go to the more olive and brown Afro-Middle-Easterner. Even further to the point, this has been going on for a very long time, perhaps even predating film itself.
Even further, by her own logic, should she stop stealing all the heterosexual roles?
As a person who thinks of the representation of minorities in film from time to time, I can find space for complaint. I disagree with Michael B. Jordan taking the role of Human Torch. Why? Because that character is written explicitly to be the brother of Sue Storm who is explicitly written in as a blonde white woman — which is technically a minority in Stan Lee’s Marvel Comic’s Universe. Changing the ethnicity of Johnny Storm would directly change the ethnicity of Sue Storm, unless someone was adopted… which is, by far, a radical change. Hell, honestly I had a problem with Jessica Alba playing Sue Storm.
I didn’t care about the race-lift of Kingpin in Daredevil; in the cartoons he was voiced by black actors in the nineties, so technically he was a black guy already, and, race isn’t an essential part of the make of his character. Idris Elba baffles me on the fact that he doesn’t want to be the “black James Bond” but he then played Heimdall which is written by Norse Mythology to be the whitest character in their mythos. As I said before, James Bond is only white by way of “white defaultness”, a sociological phenomenon where people create characters as white as if white is the default race of human beings on this planet. I would then support Idris as James Bond BEFORE supporting him as Heimdall.
Anyone mad at the fact that Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury is an idiot; Marvel Comics (like most comic books) has multiple universes and Marvel Film (which became another Marvel Universe in itself) merges any collection of them. Marvel Comics decided that Ultimate Nick Fury will look like Samuel L. Jackson so literally, they asked for his permission to do so years before the Avenger movies became reality.
One thing that bothered me about her mini-rant was the fact that she speaks as if she assumes that super hero characters who are white by way of American white defaultness somehow ONLY belong to white people. I remember the days I’ve thrown many of decks of cards in the streets playing as Gambit when I was a kid. Would Michelle Rodriguez argue that I was wrong for adopting Gambit as my hero is a child? Maybe she can’t grasp it but honestly these characters, from Superman to Spider-Man, from Human Torch to Wolverine to Gambit — these are OUR superheroes too. The dominant society cannot simply dangle things in the faces of minorities and think minorities will consider these things off limits because of our skin color. That’s nonsensical. All of these characters, including James Bond, are OUR heroes too.
This video starts with a person asking about a rumor about her playing the next Green Lantern. She then goes absurd ranting that it’s ridiculous for her — a Latin woman — to be Green Lantern.
While I’m not totally spun up on Green Lantern lore to say there is a female Latin Green Lantern out there in DC Comics, I do know for a fact that the Green Lantern is a revolving character, meaning that it’s actually a mantle someone takes up. There’s multiple Green Lanterns, to include a black one, so if Hollywood wanted to Cast Michael B. Jordan as the next Green Lantern, there’s no deviation from the hero in the comics at all. From this point, Michelle Rodriguez seems to be ignorant of the fact that some heroes are identities that are past down to multiple characters. James Bond is rumored to be similar in design.
In conclusion, I just want to know does she have the same mentality towards white actors infinitely taking non-white roles. Of course I don’t expect her to speak up on anything like that, being that she certainly doesn’t want to run the risk of getting blackballed from Hollywood if she began telling the truth.