Beyonce As Wondy?

Well, damn.

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?

15 thoughts on “Beyonce As Wondy?

  1. I find it hard to believe that the folks who are Pro-Beyonce-as-Wondy are regular readers of Wonder Woman comics, or comics at all.

    Quite obviously, Beyonce isn’t Greek. Fine. Whatevs. I’ve given this a lot of thought, probably more than the topic deserves. But, I was trying to put my Lilly-white finger on why B. as Wondy irritated me so. It’s not that she doesn’t “look” the part. The word that came to mind was “campy.” (The hemlines and color choices in the House of Dereon say it all.) Diana is so not that.

    B. would most certainly wear the hell out of some star-spangled panties, but the live-action cheesecake factor would be too high. Didn’t we all learn our lesson from George Clooney in Batman & Robin?

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  2. Like you I have nothing against B.
    However WW is an icon that should be kept the way she is.

    Australian Megan Gale really looks the part.
    (It’s the acting I’m not sure if she could do)

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  3. I’m all for suspending disbelief (especially in movies about flying metahumans/benevolent aliens), so the issue for me isn’t her skin; it’s her acting. Even if we were discussing a movie about a super-heroine who happened to be brown, I wouldn’t automatically think, “Beyonce!”

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  4. oh hell no. this woman couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. I mean they could go all Red Sonja with it, and only have her say simple lines, and focus more on action, but Wonder Woman deserves more than that. she’d look good in the costume, and would put more asses in seats than say a Charisma Carpenter, but she’s not ready yet.

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  5. I find Beyonce to be too much, it just wouldn’t work, her role as Etta James really pissed me off! She is not a good actress although she was good in Obsessed, then again that role was written specifically for her. I would like to see someone new play Wonder Woman, I think they should pick someone with an Athletic build and serious guns. Nothing over the top but I wanna see a woman with Muscles not just a Woman who looks good in the outfit. I mean guys have to have muscles to play super heroes, I think girls should too! Not a woman that takes steroids, but someone who can do a fair share of Pull Ups.

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  6. I agree that a black wonder woman wouldn’t bother me, but Beyonce doesn’t strike me as the right person. It would definitely need to be someone who truly fit the role and could hit all the right acting points, not just a name for show. Also, like you though, I would still see it, and it would still make an important statement, I just think another established actress might be more deserving of the statement

    Rosalind
    Girls Are Geeks

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  7. Eh. I’ve been hearing about the “upcoming” Wonder Woman movie for my entire adult life. I championed Madeline Stowe, Terry Farrell and Salma Hayek in the ’90s. Angela Bassett would have been FANTASTIC circa Strange Days. I’d choose Beyonce over Gina Torres, if only because Torres is always too wry to sell the earnestness of Princess Diana. As far as current names, Jessica Biel would slit throats for the role. Honestly, I have no confidence, but I’m less worried about good acting than someone who comes across as genuinely nice and decent. Beyonce can do that, and it’s not like Linda Carter was any great shakes as a thespian.

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    • I watched the Wonder Woman TV show reruns as a little girl. I would sing along to the theme song, spin around in the living room with hopes of becoming super-strong, and throw a “lasso” around my German Shepherd demanding that she talk. In my 4 year old brain, I adored the concept of what Wonder Woman was. I was, of course, to young to give a damn about Carter’s acting chops. These days though, I’m not really a Linda Carter as Wonder Woman fan.

      Gina Torres. Meh. Not really. Remember Cleopatra 2525? I do.

      Beyonce definitely doesn’t strike me as as “nice and decent.” Perhaps I’ve been reading too many conspiracy theories.

      I don’t know who could play the role of Diana … not that it matters. I don’ think the movie is going to get made.

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  8. I don’t think Beyonce can do it. She needs a little more experience, and a little less over-the-top attitude, before she can pull it off. It’s true that Diana is a larger-than-life character who can punch a black hole through a star, but she doesn’t act it. She’s a hundred-to-thousand year old (depending on which origin and writer you’re looking at) princess and foreign dignitary. I don’t think Beyonce has the gravitas to pull that off.

    Honestly, I think they need to find an unknown. Casting big-name actors as superheroes is hit-and-miss. Robert Downey Jr.’s success as Tony Stark was a fluke. And for every RDJ, you have several Ben Afflecks, Halle Berrys, and Val Kilmers. So, go with an unknown. And if they do decide to go with a known actress, then I hope to god that they go for talent over who looks best in the suit.

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  9. I think that Beyonce is not right for the part. She is an okay actress. This part should go to someone that will have time to make a franchise. She wont. They need a up and coming actress no matter what the race is.

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  10. Seriously? A black actor as a Norse God? The pantheon of Nordic people?…the whitest of white people on the planet?…

    I can’t stand it when Hollywood uses established characters (Jim West for example) to make a political/social statement. Make a movie about a black hero if you want to cast a black actor as a hero. Why is that so hard?

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