The rumour d'jour is something we've long suspected and heard: Michael B Jordan will be cast as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch in the upcoming Fox reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. But today SchmoesKnow.com is reporting that they have it on good authority that it's happening.
I want to believe it's true. But until an official announcement is made, all we have is one website saying "We Know."
So, is it true? Why? Why not? Why is this a great idea? And what about the race issue?
Here's why it's possible: it's a well-known secret that Josh Trank wants Jordan for the role. With Trank in charge of the reboot and having worked previously with Jordan, it makes sense. He's seen firsthand just how great Jordan can be.
So has anyone who has seen "Fruitvale Station," the story of Oscar Grant, the 22 year old who was murdered by transit cops in San Francisco after coming after coming home from New Year's celebrations in 2008. Jordan's work in this movie won him acting awards at Sundance earlier in this year and, if there is any justice in this world, net him nominations for Oscars, Gloden Globes, SAG awards, etc.
With Hollywood insiders buzzing about him but not yet having a big hit under his belt, he's a hot commodity. He's a "get" that can be gotten for significantly less money than an A-lister, a track record that has caught the attention of opinion leaders, but around whom a franchise could be developed based on his abilities: see also The Marvel Method of Movie Casting (Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, etc)
And speaking to the Associated Press earlier this week, Jordan is still talking about this being a possibility:
"Chronicle" director Josh Trank is considering him for the Human Torch in a "Fantastic Four" reboot currently in development. "Definitely interested in the project. Josh Trank is a buddy of mine," Jordan said.
Why might it not be true? As I said, Jordan is a big "get" these days. And he's been rumoured to be looking at getting cast in several major franchises. In that same AP interview, Jordan talked about being attached to several franchises:
He's set to work alongside Sylvester Stallone in a "Rocky" spinoff film, saying: "That's amazing, I can't wait to do it. ... That definitely is going on."
And Jordan may be filling Will Smith's shoes in a long-in-the-works sequel to Roland Emmerich's 1996 alien invasion hit "Independence Day." He says he's a "big fan" of Smith and the original film, so "if that came true, that would be cool, too."
Finally, there's "Star Wars: Episode 7," to be directed by J.J. Abrams. Jordan, who met George Lucas through "Red Tails," says he auditioned for an unspecified part but didn't wield a lightsaber.
"I mean, everybody's going in on this project. They're trying to figure out what they want," he said. "That's another incredible franchise. It's pretty crazy! ... We'll see how it happens. I don't know how I can do everything."
Read that last sentance again. "I don't know how I can do everything."
He can't. No way does Jordan have time to do them all. And so saying yes to Fantastic Four probably means closing the door on Star Wars. If I'm him, no matter my love for Josh Trank, I'd be trying to be in the next Star Wars movie. (And trying like hell NOT to be in the next Independence Day, regardless of my love for Will Smith)
So, what is this? Well, an unsubstantiated leak can happen a couple of ways: 1) some low level person knows something, or thinks they know something, and gabbed to a friend who has a blog; 2) someone thinks they know something and are gabbing to a blog; or 3) Some websites just make $#!t up to bait for links. (I'm looking at you cosmicbooknews.com)
I'd also like to blame something I like to call "The El Mayimbe Effect." El Mayimbe is a good guy, and I love Latino Review. I like his writing and reporting. But the guy is the Nostradamus of "exclusive" "leaks." That's not a compliment. Nostradamus didn't really predict anything, people just think he did. His writings are so full of vague imagery and symbols that his acolytes can try to say what they mean, and the 99 out of 100 times he's wrong they never bring up again. But the 1 in 100, then THAT proves Nostradamus saw the future, man! El Mayimbe has gotten some things right. But he's also been wrong more times. But people pay attention to him for the times he said he was right, when they should be paying attention to him because he generally has good taste and a passionate, fun voice. So everyone wants to be El Mayimbe, and by publishing on something that isn't necessarily confirmed and just rumor and speculation they gain everything if they are right and lose nothing if they are wrong. Hence, Schmoes Know.
Note: We here at BSR! really try to be clear when we are reporting rumor. We do have some sources and can often confirm things with them, but that's why I started this article by saying this is 100% speculation and rumor recycling as far as I'm concerned.
But Sweet Odin in Asgarrd I want it to be true. So badly.
Why we want this to be true. First, because Jordan is really awesome. Read what I posted on Facebook after seeing Fruitvale Station earlier this year:
I then got into a long argument with several geeks. (natch) I conceded some of their finer points, but I still think this would be amazing.
So what about the race issue?
This would be controversial, but my feeling continues to be that anyone for whom this is a problem IS the problem. At their core, these heroes are not a race. And I truly believe that there is not another actor of Jordan's age who would make a better Johnny Storm.
So, if Johnny Storm is black, doesn't that mean that so is Sue Storm? Maybe, maybe not. If so, why not? Zoe Saldana? Kerry Washington? Could be great in the role. In fact, I think the fact that there would be an interracial relationship between Sue and Reed would be more controversial than a mixed-race family.
But maybe the Storms are actually stepbrother and stepsister, or he's adopted? Blended and non-traditional families are nothing new in America. And after all, that is what Fantastic Four is at its core-- family. So why not a multiracial one? Again, I think anyone who has a problem with this is the problem.
We would be so lucky, especially if we get to see something where maybe Johnny Storm is portrayed as a "thug" or "dangerous" in the media because he's an actual representation of a typical black youth in America today. I mean, seriously, can you believe how Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity would lose their @#$% if there was a flying, flaming superhero who was an attention-seeking young black male with a temper?
Of course, maybe this is expecting too much of a summer popcorn flick. But who's saying we can't have some layers?
This isn't true until we see the official press release. But we can expect great things from Jordan in the future. Whether that's as Johnny Storm, in Star Wars, or someplace else. In the meantime, try to check out Fruitvale Station.
Tags: Fantastic Four