About Casting to Match an Image

Ben Affleck Batman

Ben Affleck will be Batman in Batman vs Superman

Casting a role is an art. Knowing when to conform to a preconceived notion and when to buck the trend and turn it on it’s head is tough. Sure, the writers and directors generally know when a character that was once male would be changed into a female role. But recently, I’ve been seeing an increase in parts originally for white characters being given to non-white characters. Now this, could just be a stunning performance that overpowers an idea for a character, but it is nice to know that these people of color are gaining these often important role.

Following the Image
Many times, an image of a character is prevalent throughout the culture. We know what his character looks like because of the constructs that have been given to us. Whether that is descriptions in legends or descriptions of characters from books. The details are there and we create our own image, but there can be dispute over what I imagine and what you imagine. It is because everyone has their own image with the same constructs, it’s difficult for a person to live up to a million different expectations. There are times when a casting choice is generally approved of because of the familiarity most people feel. I remember people bring angry that Daniel Radcliffe had blue eyes rather than green. After the torturous process of making an 11-year old year green contacts for the appeasement of rabid fans, they abandoned that. It went so far that the point had to be made that it wasn’t the green eyes that were important it was that Harry had the same eyes as his mother.

With comics it is more difficult to cast against an established image. With books, the image of a character is based from descriptions and maybe a cover and interior art. Comics are a whole different beast. The image of someone is presented again and again throughout the comic, not just showing us exactly how the character was to be imagined, but then reinforcing that image to the point they become recognizable like another person. It makes casting more difficult, because you aren’t just fighting against a concept, but another image. Luckily, for Marvel and DC comics, there are so many universes with different instances of the same character that we get different images of them, even different races. Nick Fury, Green Lantern, and Spider-man are just a few characters who have major iterations(by that I mean it isn’t a one and done series) that are of completely different races.

Gal Gadot Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot will be Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman

Recent Casting Controversies
These casting controversies where people get up in arms about who will be playing a specific role are many times ridiculous. More than half the time that people complain about the calls the casting director’s made, whoever was cast turns out great. Most recently there has been controversy over Ben Affleck being cast as Batman in the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie. People raged the internet and signed petitions long before even a clip of Affleck as the caped crusader has emerged. To add to the controversy surrounding Batman vs Superman it was recently revealed that Gal Gadot will be playing Wonder Woman. I’ll admit that I’m not convinced that Gadot can pull off the iconic image of the strong Wonder Woman, but there is also no proof that she can’t pull it off. In fact, she may exceed the previous film incarnation of Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman. I don’t think people on the outside of this creative process should be making the judgment calls and condemning a production before it has been given to the audience to consume. Before the film is released, before the trailers are released a production is still just that a production. Don’t judge before you have any solid evidence to judge.

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