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Ray Fisher Says Ex-'Justice League' Director Joss Whedon Didn't Want Cyborg to Be "an Angry Black Man"
Ray Fisher spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about his experience filming Justice League.
On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter posted a lengthy explanation of the accusations of racism Ray Fisher has launched against former Justice League director Joss Whedon. Amongst other things, one central point of disagreement came over the portrayal of Fisher's character Cyborg, the first Black superhero in the DC cinematic universe.
After Zack Snyder left the film to be with family following his daughter's death by suicide, Whedon took the reins. According to Fisher, co-chairman of DC Films Geoff Johns told him that it was "problematic" that Cyborg only smiled twice in the movie.
Subsequently, Johns and other DC Films executives had discussions in which they concluded that they couldn't have "an angry Black man" at the center of the film.
Fisher responded to THR's article on Twitter.
"They didn't want an "angry Black man," he wrote. "They ended up with a motivated one. I'm not going anywhere."
\u201cThey didn\u2019t want \u201can angry black man.\u201d\n\nThey ended up with a motivated one. \n\nI\u2019m not going anywhere.\n\nAccountability>Entertainment\u201d— Ray Fisher (@Ray Fisher) 1617722555
In a statement, Johns' representative told THR that once Johns mandated the film have a brighter tone, the following conversations focused on "adding joy and hopefulness to all six superheroes. There are always conversations about avoiding any stereotype of race, gender or sexuality."
According to Fisher, Johns suggested Cyborg as a character be "less like Frankenstein and more like Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Fisher objected, explaining that there was a difference between portraying a disabled character versus one that was transformed by trauma. "I didn't have any intention of playing him as a jovial, cathedral-cleaning individual," he said.
Additionally, Fisher noted that it was one thing for a non-Black person to write a Black character, but another thing for a Black actor to portray the character. "It was like he was assuming how Black people would respond," Fisher continued, "rather than taking the advice from the only Black person with any kind of creative impact on the project."
Watch the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League on HBO Max.