- A recent piece from The Hollywood Reporter claimed that actor Regé-Jean Page auditioned to play Superman’s grandfather in a DC series but was turned down after a DC executive said the superhero could not have a Black grandfather.
- Page seemingly responded to the article Wednesday, tweeting, “Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”
- A representative for the DC executive claimed the report was false and added that they went down a different path because “the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill.”
Regé-Jean Page Loses DC Role
“Bridgerton” breakout star Regé-Jean Page seemingly responded Wednesday to reports that he lost out on the role of Superman’s grandfather because he is Black.
This week, The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive piece about issues with executives, toxic behavior, and diversity at DC Films. One project discussed was “Krypton,” a series that follows Superman’s grandfather. Multiple sources told the outlet that “the show’s creators were passionate about doing some nontraditional casting.” Before the popular period drama shot him to stardom, Page auditioned for the role. However, those sources claimed that DC Films co-founder Geoff Johns said that “Superman could not have a Black grandfather.”
Johns also allegedly vetoed a proposal to make one of the superhero characters in the show gay.
The news caught the attention of many online, as Page has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after actors following the success of the Netflix hit “Bridgerton.” In the past several months alone, Page has hosted “Saturday Night Live,” been cast in upcoming blockbusters, and is even rumored to be a contender for the next James Bond.
Many were quick to slam DC for dismissing Page since nothing about superhero shows and films are realistic in the first place.
if we can suspend our disbelief when it comes to Superman, I’m sure we could buy @regejean as his grandfather.— niisha.xo🏒🇨🇦 #StopAsianHate (@niisha_xo) April 7, 2021
hate to break it to the exec but superheroes aren’t exactly realistic, bruv.
Page Addresses News
On Wednesday, Page seemed to address the controversy himself.
“Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then,” he wrote. “The clarifications almost hurt more tbh.
“Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”
He got support from actors like Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the “Justice League” films and has been open about his criticisms of executives at DC. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter‘s piece about the studio largely focused on Fisher and his experiences.
“I feel for you @regejean. If ever you need I’m around,” he tweeted. “Keep flying.”
DC Executive Denies Claims
A representative for Johns denied the allegations in The Hollywood Reporter report with a statement to E! News.
“Geoff never said Superman can’t have a Black ancestor or be Black—there have been diverse versions of Superman throughout the comics for decades so he does and can be diverse,” the representative said.
“However, the expectation for KRYPTON was that it would initially be perceived as a possible prequel to Man of Steel by the fans and the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill.”
The representative also said that the accusation that Johns did not let creators make a major character part of the LGBTQ community is “categorically false.”
See what others are saying: (E! News) (Los Angeles Times) (Entertainment Weekly)
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.”
YouTube Shorts Hits 1.5 Billion Monthly Logged-In Users
The company says the success of Shorts is bringing more viewers to its long-form content.
YouTube Shorts Reaches Milestone
YouTube launched its Shorts feature to compete with TikTok, the social media app that has taken over the internet with its bite-sized content. Its effort appears to be successful, as these new numbers put YouTube Shorts on track with the Gen Z-beloved app.
In September 2021, TikTok announced it had reached one billion monthly users. It has not released updated data since, but analysts projected it could reach 1.5 billion sometime in 2022.
While Shorts were created to rival the trending content on TikTok, YouTube has remained committed to the long-form content that has served as the platform’s bread and butter. In its announcement, the company touted that Shorts served as an entryway for viewers to watch more of this long-form content and discover new creators along the way.
In a release, YouTube said the synergy built by this expansion has allowed for “the rise of the multiformat creator.”
“Long-form content remains the best way for creators to deeply engage and develop long-term relationships with their audiences,” Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube’s Vice President of the Americas, said in a statement. “But Shorts offer an exciting, new way to be a part of a viewer’s journey and to introduce themselves and their whole portfolio to new audiences. This approach is yielding real results; channels uploading both short and long-form content are seeing better overall watch time and subscriber growth than those uploading only one format.”
The Competition Posed by TikTok
For its part, YouTube put a lot of effort into making Shorts thrive on its platform. Among other measures, the company created a $100 million fund incentivizing creators to make the quick videos.
The Google-owned video giant is far from the only social media company to try to wrestle with TikTok’s success. Facebook and Instagram began rolling out Reels two years ago while TikTok was experiencing a surge of pandemic users.
In turn, TikTok has also made changes to its app to keep up with other social platforms. Recently, it extended its maximum video length to ten minutes, meaning its short-form content may not always be so short.
By using short videos to drive more power behind longer content, YouTube is hoping to cover both bases. Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, said that even though the company is only at “the beginning” of its journey with Shorts, he knows “the product will continue to be an integral part of the YouTube experience moving forward.”