The topic of race and casting in Hollywood resurfaced in the weeks since Entertainment Weekly published an essay by actor Michael B. Jordan on May 22.
In the essay, Jordan wrote about breaking down barriers with his role as the Human Torch, a character originally written as white with blue eyes and blond hair, in the forthcoming “Fantastic Four” film.
Jordan’s commentary prompted a response from actress Zoe Saldana, who supported the star’s thoughts in a Facebook post. In the post, Saldana posed a question to critics who were against Jordan playing the role.
If we question why Michael has been cast to play the Human Torch in Fantastic Four then we must also question why Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra, why Angelina Jolie played Mariane Pearl in a Mighty Heart, why Laurence Olivier played Othello, Burt Lancaster in Apache, and the list goes on....and on....
Saldana has faced similar criticism herself. In reaction to her casting as Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic "Nina," some fans and critics suggested the actress was too light-skinned to portray the role.
“I didn’t think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again, I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either,” she said in the interview. “An artist is colorless, genderless… It’s more complex than just ‘Oh, you chose the Halle Berry look-alike to play a dark, strikingly beautiful, iconic black woman.’ The truth is, they chose an artist who was willing to sacrifice herself. We needed to tell her story because she deserves it.”
For more of Zoe Saldana’s interview, check out the July 2015 issue of InStyle one it hits newsstands on June 15.