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James Gunn defends Zendaya's Spider-Man casting

Published 21/08/2016

James Gunn
James Gunn

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has defended Zendaya against critics who have blasted her casting in the new Spider-Man movie.

James Gunn has hit out at critics who bemoaned Zendaya's casting in the new Spider-Man movie.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the latest Hollywood reboot in the Marvel movie franchise, with British actor Tom Holland starring as the web-slinging superhero and his alias, Peter Parker.

Former Disney Channel star Zendaya was recently announced as the new Mary Jane Watson, the love interest of both Spider-Man and Parker, in the upcoming Jon Watts directed movie.

However, fans have expressed their disappointment at her casting, which has previously been portrayed by Kirsten Dunst.

Now, Guardians of the Galaxy director Gunn has waded into the row, and defended Zendaya's casting in a lengthy Facebook post.

"People get upset when something they consider intrinsic to a comic book character changes when adapted for a film. I get this. (But) I do not believe a character is the colour of his or her skin," he wrote.

"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 (Mary Jane) is her alpha female playfulness, and if the actress captures that, then she’ll work," Gunn continued.

He concluded his post with a message to Hollywood, imploring them to acknowledge society as being diverse, and to stop casting white actors and actresses in white superhero roles.

"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 explained.

"Perhaps we can be open to the idea that, although someone may not initially match how we personally conceive a character, we can be - and often are - happily surprised."

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