On the Entertainment Weekly website, writer Darrin Franich sparked a lively debate by suggesting that Beyonce play the lead in a yet-to-be-greenlit Wonder Woman movie. It’s not an entirely new discussion: In 2008, the megastar herself said that she’d love to rock Diana’s tiara, and that a black Wonder Woman would make a powerful, 21st-Century statement.
We at G3 are not Beyonce haters. She’s a gorgeous, talented entertainer, and no one would be happier than me to see a black woman in a superhero film. Not that one of the world’s biggest stars needs my stamp of approval, but even with all of B.’s assets, I can’t get behind this idea.
She’d certainly look great in the costume, and I know our society is supposed to be all post-racial now. (And let me know how that’s going, because there seems to be plenty of hostile, openly racist commentary on this topic.) However, Wonder Woman is an iconic figure who has been white for 70 years. In order for Jane and Joe Moviewatcher to get past that, any nonwhite actress who played the lead would have to be amazing. Kenneth Branagh was criticized for casting Idris Elba as a Norse deity in the upcoming “Thor” movie, but guess what? Idris Elba is an established actor, and a really good one. He isn’t a singer who’s still learning the acting craft.
Beyonce’s acting has gotten better, but it’s still not good enough to take on one of the best-known superheroes of all time — especially one who is so woefully overdue for a major, live-action movie. Besides, every time B. gets a juicy film role, I can’t help but think that someone with better chops was cheated. It’s not like Hollywood has that many brown actresses on speed-dial to begin with, and Beyonce doesn’t exactly need the work or the exposure.
Alas, life and movies aren’t fair, I wouldn’t boycott a Wonder Woman movie just because I disagreed with the casting. Plenty of filmgoers — including my husband — would happily buy a ticket to see Beyonce in that tiara, and her acting ability probably wouldn’t have much to do with it.
What’s your take on the casting debate?