By Arturo R. García
Good news from Racebending yesterday: Marvel Studios responded to questions over the casting of Nico Minoru in the best possible way.
As you’ll recall, the character is one of the core characters of Marvel’s Runaways comic-book series. But the original open call, while specifically asking for African-American actors to audition for Alex Wilder, left Nico’s description open, aside from the problematic description of “uniquely beautiful.”
But as posted on Racebending Thursday, the company sent them this statement:
Thank you for reaching out regarding your concerns over Marvel’s recent casting notice for THE RUNAWAYS. We appreciate your interest in our production and with Marvel Entertainment.
To address your concern over casting for the role of Nico, as we do with all of our films, we intend to stay true to the legacy and story of the comic when casting these parts. Thus, our goal is to cast an Asian American actress as depicted in the comic series and the casting notice will be adjusted accordingly.
We thank you again for your correspondence and the opportunity to clarify our process.
And it’s true: the film’s casting call website now specifies that the “Girl 1″ character is not only “uniquely beautiful” (whatever that means), but Asian-American. Also, the audition deadline has been pushed back to Sept. 15 to give applicants more prep time. So why does this matter? As we did in the case of The Last Airbender, we’ll let Racebending break it down:
By Arturo R. García
Thanks to the folks at Racebending for the heads-up on this one: Yesterday a casting call went out for a film adaptation of the Runaways comic-book series, and there’s a red flag as regards the casting Nico Minoru.
The series follows Nico, a Japanese-American – that’s her in the black coat and pink shirt – and a group of teenagers who run away from home after discovering their parents are supervillains, and inherit their powers. Later in the series, Nico, a sorceress, assumes leadership over the group. But here’s the open call breakdown for “Girl 1,” who is presumably based on her character:
Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded
Female, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011
By Site Lead Arturo R. García
DC Comics went back to the racial well this week in an interview with Comic Book Resources, which featured this exchange between CBR News Editor Kiel Phiegly and DC co-publisher Dan Didio:
CBR: There’s been a lot of discussion – and a lot of angry discussion, I’d say – coming out of some of the recent DCU storylines, specifically the death of Ryan Choi in the “Titans” Brightest Day launch…
Didio: And if I could jump in here for a second, I’d ask “What past that?” There seems to be a concern about us pulling back in diversity, and we identify Ryan Choi, but we don’t identify what more than that. If you’re talking about a single character, we can’t run backwards from the way we act and behave with our characters because we’re afraid of addressing characters of different race or putting them in stories that are bigger or more exciting, I’m sorry to say. This is an interesting thing to me, because since I’ve been here, we’ve been extraordinarily aggressive in trying to bring racial diversity and diversifying our cast of characters as much as possible. That’s been part of our agenda for the last five to eight years since I’ve been here. We’re talking about a single character with Ryan Choi, but I’d love to know about examples past that, because at the same time that we’ve got Ryan Choi, we’ve got a Great Ten series running. If you look at every team book and everything we’re doing, we go to extraordinary lengths to diversify the casts and show our audience in our books.