Amid years of taking a stand, Ray Fisher is opening up more than ever.
In a new feature at The Hollywood Reporter, the “Justice League” star gets candid about his allegations of unprofessional behaviour and abuse from director Joss Whedon and executives at Warner Bros.
The film’s writer Chris Terrio says, “With a white writer and white director, we both thought having the perspective of an actor of colour was really important. And Ray is really good with story and character so he became a partner in creating [the character].”
After original director Zack Snyder left the project and filming was taken over by Whedon, Fisher says that he had “to explain some of the most basic points of what would be offensive to the Black community.”
Along with dramatically cutting back the focus on Fisher’s character Cyborg in the film, Whedon was also allegedly unreceptive to notes from the actor.
“’I don’t like taking notes from anybody–not even Robert Downey Jr.,’” Fisher recalls him saying.
Despite the originally intended serious tone of “Justice League”, concerns were raised about Cyborg not smiling enough, with one exec saying they could not have “an angry Black man” at the centre of the movie.
In another encounter, then-DC Films exec Geoff Johns told Fisher he should play Cyborg less like Frankenstein and more like Quasimodo, which the actor did not find appropriate for the character.
“It was like he was assuming how Black people would respond rather than taking the advice from the only Black person—as far as I know—with any kind of creative impact on the project,” Fisher says.
Other actors on the film had clashes with Whedon over the depiction of their characters, including Gal Gadot.
According to the report, Whedon forced the actress to say lines she did not approve of and “threatened to harm Gadot‘s career and disparaged ‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins.”
A source added, “Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.”
Gadot took the on-set troubles up the ladder, leading to a sit-down with herself, Jenkins, and the chairman of Warner Bros.
“I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner,” she told THR.
Following clashes over an internal investigation into Fisher’s claims, the actor has harsh words for the executives at the studio.
“I don’t believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership,” he says. “I don’t want them excommunicated from Hollywood but I don’t think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people.”
He adds, “If I can’t get accountability, at least I can make people aware of who they’re dealing with.”