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People don't want Zendaya to play Mary Jane Watson

And 'Guardians of the Galaxy' director James Gunn isn't having any of the racist comments against her

By Verinia Khoo | Published: 22 Aug 2016

Zendaya might be MJ
Photo: Splashnews

Rumour has it that Zendaya will play Mary Jane Watson, aka Peter Parker's love interest in the upcoming Spiderman: Homecoming film opposite Tom Holland. Disappointingly, many were not in favour of seeing Zendaya in the iconic role (no guesses why; racism again). It prompted Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn to address the issue publicly.

"People get upset when something they consider intrinsic to a comic book character changes when adapted for a film. I get this," he wrote on Facebook. "There are movies I dislike because I think there's a basic misunderstanding of the story or the character when the comic is transferred to film (I still hate how in the first Batman movie the Joker was revealed as the murderer of Bruce Wayne's parents, for instance.)"

"For me, if a character's primary attribute – the thing that makes them iconic – is the colour of their skin, or their hair colour, frankly, that character is shallow and sucks. For me, what makes MJ MJ is her alpha female playfulness, and if the actress captures that, then she'll work," James continued. "And, for the record, I think Zendaya even matches what I think of as MJ's primary physical characteristics – she's tall, thin model – much more so than actresses have in the past."

"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," he said.

That said, James isn't confirming that Zendaya is playing MJ. 

"For those of you who think this means I'm confirming that Zendaya IS playing MJ, realise that although I've read the Spidey script, and I've met the actress in question, I have no idea what her role is," he continued. "I'm going to find out when I go into Marvel this afternoon, but I feel free to speak until that time because it's about the concept about a black woman playing Mary Jane, not the actuality or hypothesis of it."

Read his full post below.

And why shouldn't Zendaya play MJ? She and Tom are already getting along so well. Here they are, dancing with Deja Carter.

Related: All eyes are on Darth Vader in new 'Rogue One' trailer
Related: Meet the awesome all-female cast of 'Ocean's Eight'


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