The Suicide Squad Director James Gunn Defends Racebending White Characters

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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

As superhero flicks continue to dominate cinemas, Hollywood is taking steps in striding for representation. Racebending has become a part of such films, taking previously established characters to be represented by people of color within the medium. The Suicide Squad director James Gunn has defended this by sharing his thoughts on David Ayer casting Will Smith as Deadshot in 2016's Suicide Squad.

In a comment on Gunn's recent Instagram post, the director was asked to share his insight on Smith's casting, with the fan pointing out that Deadshot, whose real name is Floyd Lawton, is white in the comics and in the Arrowverse.

"Again, that's pretty simple - people aren't making movies about unknown superheroes," Gunn responded under the post. "In addition, it's innately discriminatory to think what makes a character a character is his or her ethnicity and not his or her personality."

"What is it, if not racism, that David Ayer, for casting Will Smith as Deadshot, and John Watts, for casting Zendaya as Mary Jane, got thousands of times more shit for those choices than I did for making Drax and Mantis aliens instead of humans in Guardians?" the filmmaker continued.

Gunn added that these are "great casting choices," that Smith is "a lot like" his character in the comics, and that the actor "just happens to be black." The filmmaker also pointed out that this isn't done for any reason other than choosing the best actor for the part, regardless of race, and to "effectively reflect our world."

As Gunn simply put it, casting actors for a specific character is associated with his attitude and how well and similar that actor could portray the part and doesn't focus on how the character appears in the source material.

The Suicide Squad is set for release on August 6, 2021.

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