- Actor Ray Fisher has opened up about some of the toxic situations he found himself in on the set of the 2017 film “Justice League.”
- In an interview published Monday by The Hollywood Reporter, Fisher said many of the issues stemmed from white executives telling him how a Black character would act.
- In one instance, after Fisher voiced concern about some of his character’s scenes, director Joss Whedon reportedly told him, “It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr.”
- “I don’t believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership,” Fisher told THR. “I don’t want them excommunicated from Hollywood, but I don’t think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people.”
Fisher’s Initial Accusations Against Whedon and Others
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actor Ray Fisher said he had “to explain some of the most basic points of what would be offensive to the Black community” while under Joss Whedon’s leadership on the set 2017’s “Justice League.”
Fisher, who plays the half-man/half-andriod known as Cyborg, previously accused Whedon of creating an abusive and unprofessional work environment after he took the reins from Zack Snyder, who left the project midway through its completion because of his daughter’s death.
Fisher added that Whedon was enabled by executives Geoff Johns and Jon Berg. He also accused DC Films President Walter Hamada of interfering with misconduct investigations on reshoots. Warner Media has since said it doesn’t believe Hamada interfered.
Meanwhile, a former federal judge who conducted a probe into the company has said that during interviews with more than 80 witnesses, she found “no credible support for claims of racial animus” or racial “insensitivity.”
Fisher Opens Up About What Happened Between Him and Whedon
In his interview with THR, Fisher revealed more details about what life was like for him on the set.
The issues first came when much of Cyborg’s backstory and arc was thrown out the window as Whedon stepped onto the project. In fact, HBO Max’s recent premiere of the 4-hour “Snyder Cut” reveals just how much of Cyborg’s story was clipped from the film’s theatrical release.
The problems on set grew after Fisher said he had a call with Whedon where he gave several recommendations for handling issues related to Cyborg’s representation. During that call, Fisher claims Whedon dismissed his concerns.
“It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody — not even Robert Downey Jr,” Whedon said in reference to his work as director of 2012’s “The Avengers.”
As THR noted, other sources have also made similar claims about Whedon’s response to lines that actors Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa questioned during “Justice League’s” filming.
In another situation, Fisher said executives pressured him to record the line, “Booyah,” which is a catchphrase that was popularized by an animated version of Cyborg on Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans.”
Fisher said since no one else in the film used a catchphrase, “It seemed weird to have the only Black character say that.”
Ultimately, Fisher recorded the line after continued pressure. As he arrived on set to film the take, he said Whedon mockingly quoted Hamlet at him, saying, “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you.”
“Joss — don’t,” Fisher replied. “I’m not in the mood.”
Fisher Says Executives Wanted Cyborg to Appear “Servile”
Fisher also said executives found it problematic that Cyborg only smiled twice in the movie and were worried because they couldn’t have “an angry Black man” at the center of the film.
That’s when Johns allegedly told Fisher to play Cyborg more like Quasimodo from The Hunchbach of Notre Dame, rather than like Frankenstein’s monster. In fact, Fisher even said Johns told him to hunch over in a position that he later described as “servile” in his interview with THR.
“I didn’t have any intention of playing him as a jovial, cathedral-cleaning individual,” Fisher told the outlet.
“It was like he was assuming how Black people would respond rather than taking the advice from the only Black person — as far as I know — with any kind of creative impact on the project,” he added.
Notably, Johns has also received similar criticism from some coworkers on other projects, though others have since stepped forward to defend him.
“I don’t believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership,” Fisher ultimately concluded in the interview. “I don’t want them excommunicated from Hollywood, but I don’t think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people. If I can’t get accountability, at least I can make people aware of who they’re dealing with.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Vulture) (Screenrant)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Variety) (The Atlantic)
Chris Evans Says People Upset With Same-Gender “Lightyear” Kiss Are “Idiots”
The kiss was previously removed from the film until a surge of backlash from Pixar employees prompted Disney to reinstate it.
Chris Evans Supports “Lightyear” Scene
“Lightyear” star Chris Evans is standing against people who have criticized the same-gender kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film.
“The real truth is those people are idiots,” the actor told Reuters this week when discussing negative reactions to the scene’s inclusion.
“The American story, the human story is one of constant social awakening and growth and that’s what makes us good,” he continued.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and more have banned the release of “Lightyear” over the kiss, which is between two women. Right-wing pundits in the U.S. have also slammed it, and user reviews for the picture on websites like IMDB have claimed that movie-going has “become an avenue for political propaganda.”
Evans argued those opinions are outdated.
“There’s always going to be people who are afraid and unaware and trying to hold on to what was before. But those people die off like dinosaurs,” he said. “I think the goal is to pay them no mind, march forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”
“Lightyear” hits theaters on Friday starring Evans as the titular Buzz Lightyear. Evans, however, is not playing the action figure made famous in the “Toy Story” movies and is instead playing an animated human astronaut who inspired the toy.
Kiss Scene Almost Never Made it to Big Screen
According to outlets that have reviewed the film, the same-gender kiss is between Alisha Hawthorne, a character voiced by Uzo Aduba, and her wife.
Multiple reports have stated that Disney was always supportive of depicting a gay couple in the picture, but was more hesitant about showing an on-screen kiss between the two. The studio previously had the scene removed from the film until a swell of backlash prompted it to reinstate the kiss.
The decision came in March amid criticisms over Disney’s slow response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, a group of Pixar employees wrote an open letter claiming that they have pushed for more inclusion in their films, but “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest.”
Now that the scene made the final cut of “Lightyear,” it has been a large topic of conversation leading up to the film’s release. On Monday, Evans told Variety that the inclusion of the scene makes him “happy,” but he hopes one day, scenes like this will be considered standard.
“It’s tough to not be a little frustrated that it even has to be a topic of discussion,” he said. “That it is this kind of ‘news.’ The goal is that we can get to a point where it is the norm, and that this doesn’t have to be some uncharted waters, that eventually this is just the way it is.”