‘The Fantastic Four’ Reboot: Michael B. Jordan Talks Playing Human Torch

Published 4 months ago by , Updated March 7th, 2014 at 5:27 am,

Michael B Jordan Talks Human Torch in Fantastic Four The Fantastic Four Reboot: Michael B. Jordan Talks Playing Human Torch

Since it was announced that Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch in Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, the project has faced disapproval for casting a black actor in an originally white role.

The last time Jordan responded to the criticism, he seemed assured that detractors would get over their issue with him, saying, “They’re still going to see it anyway.” In Rome this week for the Italian premiere of Fruitvale Station, he once again took questions regarding the supposedly controversial casting.

But this time, according to Coming Soon‘s transcription of a Cinefilos post, his response was much less brusque and much more diplomatic.

First, Jordan addressed the issue of cranky fans who don’t like the idea of him playing a character they might have envisioned differently. Said Jordan:

“It was expected, you know? You kinda know going into it that people are used to seeing something one way, it’s a continuity thing more than anything. People don’t like change too much. But annoyed? Eh, you just kinda accept it, it is what it is. You can’t make everybody happy. You just gotta accept that and know.

“I’m an actor, I have to do my job. I’m going to do my job the best I can and the way I’ve been doing it my entire life, my entire career. I grew up a comic book guy, I read comic books as a kid growing up and the ‘Fantastic Four.’ Human Torch is one of my favorite characters, so I’m going to give it my everything. I can’t wait. I don’t really let it bother me at all. I just want to go into it and do the best job I can. We’ll see what happens.”

Really, it just sounds like Jordan is looking forward to the opportunity to play the role and, like any actor, no doubt embraces the chance to expand his abilities and try something different.

Michael B Jordan Responds to Human Torch Criticism 570x294 The Fantastic Four Reboot: Michael B. Jordan Talks Playing Human Torch

Jordan continued:

“The Human Torch is, y’know, that’s fun. That’s going to be a good time. To play a superhero? That’s dreams coming true. It’s not going to be hard. It’s going to be fun to kind of show a side of me that I don’t really get a chance to show onscreen, to be a little bit lighter, funnier, just more personality. It’s going to be fun.”

These are smart comments on Jordan’s part; he’s clearly not trying to anger any fanboys. If anything, his calm and thoughtful reply shows his respect for the project and is yet another sign that those opposed to his hiring are probably overreacting.

As we’ve said before, casting a superhero movie these days is about business, and this Fantastic Four reboot seems to be in the business of throwing the widest possible demographic net. If a movie makes radical changes from its source material, it doesn’t necessarily mean disaster at the box office. But we’ll have to wait another year to find out what it means for Fantastic Four.

Are you looking forward to the Fantastic Four reboot?

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Fantastic Four is scheduled to hit theaters March 6, 2015.

Follow Casey on Twitter @CaseyCip

Source: Cinefilos via Coming Soon

TAGS: fantastic four

71 Comments

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  1. He’ll knock it out of the park.

    • I’m sure he will, his acting ability was never the issue with his casting. I’m sure if we put him in the 100 metre dash at the Special Olympics, he’d knock that out of the park as well, still doesn’t mean he should be there.

  2. Nothing new. He’s been talking about fan backlash since last year.

  3. and the ridiculous comments begin in 3…2…1…

    • Looks like you beat everyone to the punch.

      You know on any forum there will be a variety of opinions and each think theirs is right. You want a medal for predicting that is about to happen?

  4. unlikely but if they have him in torch form the whole time them problem solved. how come we don’t see the same amount of fan backlash whenever a caucasian plays characters that are suppose to have a minority ethnic background.

    • Just…STOP. That makes no sense. STOP.

    • Agreed.

    • I’ve been asking that same question for years.

    • Because it seems the door only swings one way?

  5. Unless they make Human Torch wreathed in black flames or something, who cares what his skin color is.

    I mean where was the fan backlash when Jessica Alba was chosen to play Sue Storm (she’s half Mexican).

    • Same lame comment that others have made. She is half white and played the character as White. Not the same thing at all. The character wasn’t changed. The actress changed to fit the role.

      • And how exactly has the actual character changed? Apart from being black instead of white, what else has changed? What difference does it make if someone is black or white? It isn’t a character trait of Johnny Storm, there’s no reason for him to be of any certain race. They have the best actor for the role. Character isn’t just skin deep.

        • Except he is sue’s sister, which means one of them has to be adopted, which could change their background substantially.. Not that I wouldn’t personally find that more interesting..

    • Where was the fan backlash for Alba? Guess you missed it because there was. She was supposed to be Evans sister and they even dyed her hair but the fact remains they looked nothing alike.

  6. the producer of the film said it wasn’t going to be a comedy.. confused as his last remarks….

    Either way, I’ll wait and see the trailer and judge for myself.

    • Whether or not it’s a comedy is beside the point. Johnny Storm is naturally a lighthearted guy who enjoys cracking jokes. They don’t have to be funny, but he tells ‘em anyways.

  7. 364 more days of “debate” over this……

  8. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a black man playing the human torch. One word… Adopted (Sue or Johnny). Problem solved. What really cheesed me off about the previous Fantastic 4′s was the film makers truly screwing up the Marvel Universe.

    Dr. Doom, the iconic and complicated nemesis of the FF on the same exploratory ship with them when they got their powers?! AND he gets arbitrary electric powers?!

    Marvel movies have done pretty well so far. There are some changes that must be done for the film medium, which is understandable, but the most important thing is that they respect the confines of the Marvel Universe.

    • First off…there was not a consistent Marvel Universe back then… The fase 1, 2 and 3 were not in effect yet. But what really bugs me is that people have that one word solution…ADOPTED. That is not the issue here. The issue is that a character that is in factualy a white character is not being portrayed as an african american. This is beside the point that Michael B. Jordan is a great actor.

      Just make Black Panther white and see what happens. Marve i dare you. Characters are white or black….thats a part of who they are. So i can understand the controversy. I will still see it of course and if the film is done right i have no problem with it but i will be sceptical until i see it. Still gonna give the movie a chance.

      • sorry i meant…a white character is being portrayed as an african america. (take the NOT word out lol)

  9. The only thing I remember him being critiqued for was his flippant and dismissive comment.

    For some this just isn’t the FF as we know it. If Trank knows what he is doing and makes a great movie then it won’t matter.

  10. Good luck to you man have some fun :)

  11. Can anyone see Kevin Spacey as Dr. Doom?

    • It has to be a very pretty man from the start if you are to really address the Dr. Doom scenario. Based on John Byrne era of the FF, Victor Von Doom’s vanity is what causes his horrendous scars.

      Kevin Spacey is not unattractive, but I think the extreme needs to be met.

    • I can’t. But I never bought Spacey as Lex Luthor, largely because he does not convey “menacing” or “diabolical” to me. For Doom, the disconnect would be even greater. But that’s just me.

      • I……yeah exactly this

  12. No disrespect intended towards Mr. Jordan as an actor or as a person, but I know that if I personally were asked to play a role that far away from canon (and here I guess I refer to all 4 actors on the team), I would have to refuse the part on principle. And that does not even necessarily refer strictly to a racial difference, as i have to bias towards anyone irregardless of their ethnic background. But this is so far away from the Fantastic Four of established tradition that it really is not even the Fantastic Four. I personally think if all these radical knock-em-out-of-the-park-and-they’d-better-love-it changes are that necessary, then they need to cancel the plans for the movie entirely.

    • Do you mean that you would refuse specifically on the grounds of your casting being a departure from canon, or on the grounds of the film as a whole being a departure from canon?

      • Well, actually, probably a little bit of both. I am a big believer in canon (yes, I would allow slight departures here and there, but not as earth-shaking and far-flung as some movies go). This film just seems way too far away from the original to be worth making, and then trying to tie it in as an FF reboot. This is definitely far and away not anything remotely resembling a honest reboot of FF. And I am really disappointed.
        I also saw what was done to Green Hornet and Dark Shadows. The series from the 60s or 70s for GH was excellent, as was the original Dan Curtis Dark Shadows with Jonathan Frid, etc., but what was done to those two movies, call it reboot, parody, satire, farce, or as I call it, disaster, was inexcusable and an insult to the original fans and the original series’ memories. What a travesty and a besmirchment! I can see Fantastic Four getting dragged down a similar lane here. I can’t find anything to like in any of the four characters such as they are being presented here in this new version. The studio is gonna shoot themselves in the foot intentionally so bad here that they deserve to take a wash on the film, profit-wise and reputation-wise.

        • but u have YET to see any pics or see a clip of anything. you have a vague description, and pics of the actors, but really have no idea how they are presenting this film. none. u can’t even wait for a trailer to pass judgement? thats pretty narrow-minded don’t ya think? but you have the right to think how you wish.

    • Well if every CBM was just a carbon copy of a graphic novel, the film industry would be rather boring indeed. It’s better to have lots of options than only one across various mediums. But if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.
      As an actor myself, I think it’s stupid to suggest he turn down the role because it departs from ‘canon’, whatever that even means. We haven’t seen the film yet. It could be a shot- for- panel. Unless, of course, black skin is just too darn distracting for you.

      • Interesting how some people automatically “play the black card”. Is it insecurity, or do some people just like to try and make a big hue and cry? I have nothing against “black skin”. Never said anything remotely like that here or anyplace else, either. Some people try to make it out to look like anyone not agreeing with them is some kind of bigot or biased? I am not bigoted or biased at all against blacks or any other ethnic background. I was not originally commenting solely on a black actor playing a part originally depicted by the original creators as a white person. However, I do feel that white actors should play white parts, black actors should play black parts, Asian actors should play Asian parts, Latino actors should play Latino parts, etc. This is not a slam or slur at any racial background in any way, it is just conforming to what the original authors wrote. Yes, I have seen some excellent actors and actresses play characters originally written for a different racial background, and I do not take anything away from them at all. But I still go back to keeping “what is, as is”. Being shrill about it, and trying to take comments out of context, just demonstrates that the only ones with a hangup over race are the ones trying to make that the central issue.

        If you think this comment is long, you should have seen it a couple minutes ago when I was writing it…an accident on the keyboard inadvertantly caused me to erase a big potion of it, or my argument would be even stronger. Suffice to say, you should get the point from what is left of this comment.

        • Nobody is saying that you’re a racist. Yet don’t act like the issue at hand here is because of the actors race. I can probably bet that you are not racist or prejudiced against any race of people, but you are on a message board commenting your disapproval of a black actor portraying an originally white character. What LiamJames was saying was that if you have a problem with Michael B Jordan, an actor with black skin, and you feel like you wont enjoy the movie because he’s playing johnny storm who was originally white then you don’t have to see it. There is no race card being played when the whole discussion itself is about the actors race…

        • This is exactly how I feel about the movie. Also I feel the same way when someone uses the “racist card” as their argument. I am neither racist or a bigot. I just care about my comics.

  13. I’m excited to see Jordan in this role. As an aside, though, I have to comment on the following statement from this article:

    “…throwing the widest possible demographic net.”

    Hardly. I mean, I guess that I can see how that statement *might* be applicable. They are trying to find the right mix of actors to draw the widest *audience demographic possible. But the casting itself is not anything truly extreme or intrepid, or really all that diverse.

    • Of course not. That’s just Hollywoods version of diversity. The let’s just add a black character. It’s insulting in every aspect. “Now they think we’re open minded!”

      • And yet people criticise for lack of black characters. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Don’t like it, don’t watch it. Which would be petty to do because of a characters race.

        • Hollywood has a bigger Asian problem. Smaller demographic sure, but way more underrepresented.

        • But there are no black characters in the Fantastic 4….if Marvel really wanted to make a black actor centre stage they should have made a black panther movie first instead of this movie

          • Marvel, is not making this movie. fox is. same company that has the rights to the x-men.

  14. Personally I feel that the original creators have to be respected. I don’t care if it was a differnt era or “this is for a modern audience”. If you are choosing to adapt a work then you are choosing to adept it as is. Now I realize the transition to film requires some changes (like the colors and cut of costumes). However, I think that the characters should be as written/drawn. The age and origin changed are bad. Making other changes can be even worse. I know people defend the changes and say look at the Ultimate version. But that is a photocopy of the original. Do we really want a copy of a copy?

  15. I don’t care that the part is going to be portrayed by a black actor, I just don’t understand why they didn’t cast Sue Storm as black too.

    • BECAUSE ONE OR BOTH OF THEM ARE ADOPTED. This is not that hard.

    • Because they can’t have a black woman married to a white man, silly. Same reason they didn’t just make Reed Richards black instead of changing up the sibling dynamic, which would have been far less of a canon change, because they couldn’t have a really smart black man married to a white woman.

      Hollywood doesn’t mind casting a large demographic net, but they don’t want to rip the darn thing on an interracial marriage reef.

  16. As much as I dislike the change, I hope he does a good job in the role. I’d like for the role to be as it was, but this is going to happen and I at least hope he does a good job.

  17. damn he was a total bro as Steve and really sweet as Wallace, I’m sure he’ll do a good job, I hope he plays human torch as a cocky bastard and we get to see him playing a different role.

  18. I just love how every actor says the role of the character they will be portraying claims it is a favorite of theirs. The comic book closet isn’t big enough for all the fan claims.

  19. Wow ok. Two of my comments aren’t being shown. Unless there is a glitch, I’m done with this site.

  20. I discerned from previews that Disney’s The Lone Ranger was going to suck a$$ without wasting the money or time to bother even seeing it & as the subsequent reviews following its release made it apparent I was correct in my assessment.
    With The Fantastic Four however, I don’t even need to see 10 seconds of footage to already tell this movie is a major $hit bomb in the making. All you easily entertained, politically correct race panderers knock yourselves out eagerly eating up the slop Hollywood feeds you.

  21. Seems like a real pro. I like how he didn’t insinuate that everyone was a racist like Anthony Mackie did in a recent article. I like Mackie, but it seems like Jordan knows how to play off of the media better.

  22. Seems like a real pro. He handles the questions about the race change a lot better than Mackie did that interview the other day.

  23. Yeah I an disappointed that they are changing who the Fantastic Four suppose to be. The Fantastic Four is suppose to be about Family and their relationships that interfere with their super power’s responsibility. Their family ties is what keeps them together. The original cast was not the problem at all, even thou we know Johnny Storm is now Capt America. The story could of been a lot more epic, more connections to the Marvel Universe and an upgrade to CGI of the Thing. I think the Fantastic Four story should be more of a drama in the fashion of Twilight just like Capt America is suppose to be a political action film as its going to be, and the Punisher is suppose to be like a Bourne Idenity/007 film not a dam gore horror/Hostel film smh.

  24. Michael B Jordan is an amazing choice for Johnny. Why anybody is upset about this is beyond me.

    Now, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm…

  25. They don’t even have to be adopted.. They could just be step-siblings…

  26. looking forward to both Jordans portrayal of johnny and the movie! chronicle is all the proof I need that he’ll pull of this one. :D

  27. Mark me down as one who will not see this at theaters. I’d rather do LSD.

    • thanks for letting us know…I’ll make sure to put you on the list

      • Better get a lot of paper cause that list is gonna be huge.

  28. Well I’m glad this is more articulate than they’ll see it anyway.

    Still not planning on see it, but not because he was cast, but because I don’t really like the f4.

  29. I don’t blame Jordan for accepting the role. I blame the guy who cast him.

    It’s not about racism. Racism is someone not wanting a black actor to get ANY role, ever.

    It’s about changing an adored comic TOO MUCH. And the frustration around not getting it right the second time around. Some of us just aren’t going to like it. In the same vein fans would have gone into an uproar bigger than this on if the on screen version of DOFP’ s Bishop were anything but black.

    But to each his own. This is happening. The only real way to show Hollywood this isn’t a good idea is to not buy a ticket.

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