James Gunn Defends Zendaya's Reported Casting as Mary Jane in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'

The 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' helmer weighs in on the 'racist' controversy surrounding the reported casting of the black actress as MJ, saying, 'If the actress captures that, then she'll work.'

AceShowbiz - Filmmaker James Gunn has weighed in on the "racist" controversy surrounding the reported casting of Zendaya Coleman as Mary Jane Watson in Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Homecoming". The "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" helmer defended the casting in a lengthy Facebook post published on Friday, August 19 following the social media backlash from fans.

"People get upset when something they consider intrinsic to a comic book character changes when adapted for a film. I get this," Gunn began. "I do not believe a character is the color of his or her skin," he added, before addressing the report about MJ being played by the young black actress.

"If a character's primary attribute - the thing that makes them iconic - is the color of their skin, or their hair color, frankly, that character is shallow and sucks," he explained, "For me, what makes MJ MJ is her alpha female playfulness, and if the actress captures that, then she'll work." Gunn also did note he was speaking hypothetically as he couldn't confirm the casting report.

He added, "Whatever the case, if we're going to continue to make movies based on the almost all white heroes and supporting characters from the comics of the last century, we're going to have to get used to them being more reflective of our diverse present world. Perhaps we can be open to the idea that, although someone may not initially match how we personally conceive a character, we can be - and often are - happily surprised."

James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" hits U.S. theaters on May 5, 2017 and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as the titular heroes. Meanwhile, Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Homecoming" arrives on July 7, 2017. In the upcoming film, Zendaya stars alongside Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei.

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