2015’s “Fantastic 4” added a twist of diversity by casting a Black actor, Michael B. Jordan, as Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, even though the character as originally conceived in Stan Lee’s iconic comic books was Caucasian.
However, if the film’s director had his way, Johnny’s sister Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman) would have likewise been Black. Instead, the character was played by Kate Mara (the difference in the characters’ races was explained by Sue being adopted).
In an interview with Geeks of Color, director Josh Trank revealed those plans were scuttled when he received some “pretty heavy pushback” from studio, 20th Century Fox.
“There were a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that,” said Trank.
“I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm, a black Johnny Storm, and a black Franklin Storm,” Trank continued.
“But when you’re dealing with a studio on a massive movie like that, everybody wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are going to be. When it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role,” he added.
“When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realization sort of hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle,” Trank admitted.
“Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life,” he added. “Those weren’t the values then or ever for me. Because I’m somebody who always talks about standing up for what I believe in, even if it means burning my career out. I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”