The talk of Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan potentially playing Johnny Storm AKA the Human Torch in Twentieth Century Fox's Fantastic Four reboot has provoked some pretty polarized reactions. While Jordan's previous work has left a lot of people excited by the prospect of him joining the superhero team, some fans of the comics are less than happy with the idea of the originally white Johnny Storm being played by a black actor.
There is a lot to be said for casting Jordan, who is the right age to play the character, has the right kind of athletic build and has already proven adept at portraying charismatic and slightly brash characters. The debate has been dragged out, however, by the fact that talk of this particular casting choice has been resurfacing for months without Jordan either officially taking the role or turning it down.
After a whole lot of maybes, there are now claims of a certainty. A "trusted source" from within Jordan's agency reportedly told Schmoes Know that the actor has signed on the dotted line to play Johnny Storm, which would make him the first actor who be firmly attached to the reboot.
A few different sites have erroneously described this casting as "official" despite the fact that the source is unnamed and, most notably, the major trades like THR and Deadline have not yet reported it. The story began spreading very fast as soon as it broke, but every other story links back to the Schmoes Know article and right now there are no other sources corroborating or confirming the story.
We'll keep a question mark next to the news of Jordan actually signing on to play the role for now, but whether pen has been put to paper or not it's already looking very likely that he's going to get the part. Rumors that director Josh Trank and Twentieth Century Fox were considering Jordan for the role have been circulating since this summer and Jordan himself recently said that he's "definitely interested" in the project. While multiple actors have been mentioned as possibilities for the other three members of the team, Jordan's name is the only one that's been connected with the Johnny Storm role.
Jordan and Trank are already old friends and both of them hit the spotlight after Trank's found footage superhero movie Chronicle. Jordan recently played the lead in true-life drama Fruitvale Station, for which he won Best Actor awards at the Zurich Film Festival, the Hollywood Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival. Jordan will also star alongside Zac Efron in upcoming raunchy comedy That Awkward Moment and will play the grandson of Apollo Creed in Rocky spin-off Creed. He's definitely popular enough to be a draw for the Fantastic Four reboot whilst still being affordable within a film that will necessarily have a big FX budget.
One of the questions raised by fans amidst the backlash is whether or not Johnny Storm being played by a black actor will affect his relationship with Sue Storm, since the actors rumored to be in line for that role - Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie and Kate Mara - are all white. There are numerous ways that this could be handled, for example by one of the Storms being adopted or by them being half-siblings or step-siblings, but a lot of fans have been throwing out their own suggestions for who should play Sue. Orange is the New Black's Samira Wiley is a current favorite, along with Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Kerry Washington (who starred in the last two Fantastic Four movies as Alicia Masters).
Consider this rumor to be unconfirmed for now, but it is definitely in line with the direction that the Fantastic Four casting seems to be taking. Since the movie was originally supposed to start filming in September, we can hopefully expect more concrete details soon as Fox moves to use the Fantastic Four rights or risk losing them.
Fantastic Four is set for release on March 6th, 2015.
Source: Schmoes Know