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Laurence Fishburne is Editor-in-Chief Perry White for 'Man of Steel'

by
August 2, 2011
Source: EW

Laurence Fishburne / Daily Planet

While I've been a strong advocate of "House M.D." star Hugh Laurie taking the role, plenty of other people have had their own ideas as to who should step into the shoes of The Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White for Zack Snyder's forthcoming comic book franchise reboot Man of Steel. However, I don't think anyone had this casting choice in mind as EW has learned The Matrix franchise star Laurence Fishburne will be bossing around intrepid reporters Lois Lane and Clark Kent in the thriving city of Metropolis. It's not such a bad gig for the actor's return to the big screen after leaving his starring role on "CSI" back in July.

Fishburne has a commanding presence on screen, and his voice should be quite intimidating bossing around the bustling office of The Daily Planet. In the history of the Superman film adaptations, Jackie Cooper took the role in all four of the Christopher Reeve films, while Frank Langella played Perry in Superman Returns. Comic book purists may be disappointed to see the film turning the character into an African-American man, but it's the 21st century, and if a black man can be president, then one can sure as hell run a fictional newspaper. And in case you haven't heard, the new Ultimate Spider-Man is half-Hispanic and half-black, so if you're really upset about an African-American Perry White, well, you have some deeper issues to resolve.

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  • a-dolo
    terrible.
    • HG
      racist
    • Anonymous
      Why?  Care to give an honest reason?
  • http://twitter.com/Rocker22 Stephen
    Huge Laurie can be Jonah Jameson now whenever they need him in the Spider-Man movies!
  • Anon
    this is brilliant casting. hugh laurie would have been the most terrible choice in the world.
    • Anon
      "lois, write that report on the metropolis bank robbery,and dont forget to mention that it was lupus"
  • guest
    Experiments..well..lets see..but personally..i hate this choice..
  • stfugtfo
    interesting
  • http://www.facebook.com/SuperChef85 Vreeland Holt
    Absolutely Terrible choice. Hate it
  • Carlo
    This movie just keeps getting worse and worse. 
  • Anonymous
    I agree I don't like it, and that's because Jackie Cooper's boisterous, composed, and fumbling Perry White was perfect. While Frank Langella and Fishburne are good actors capable of terrific performances I think they are just too mellow. For anyone who (tragically) can't remember Cooper's Perry White, think a G-rated Ari Gold, minus the volcanic temper. Edit: And now that I think about it, Fishburne would've been a perfect choice to step into Brando's shoes and play Jor-El.
    • Manofthehour83
      I agree that I miss the style of Jackie Cooper's Perry White but I really appreciated and enjoyed Frank Langella. And while I am interested to see Fishburne's take I would have loved to see him step into the role of Jor-El or even Luthor.
    • Poncho
      Langella was terrible. Then again that whole movie was terrible. What is extra odd, is that Langella is a really tall big guy in real life. Standing next to him made Routh look even thinner and smaller than he was. Routh got a ton of criticism for being too skinny and small to play Superman, and I bet some of that criticism came from standing next to the huge Frank Langella.
    • Anonymous
      Well, I thought Lane Smith came close to Jackie Cooper's performance as Perry White, but.... Lane Smith has passed on, and so has Jackie Cooper.  Besides, the newspaper environment of the 1978 Superman film has, well, changed a lot since then.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that while JC was awesome as Perry--hell, I was a kid when I saw the first Superman film in the theater, and he was just damned great--why don't we just wait to see the movie to determine whether Fishburne works or not?
  • BigMike23
    knee -JERK reactions as usual, i guess it is really hard for people to come to terms with any change, i for one will wait to see Fishburnes performance before passing judgement. I think they were going for presence, and Fishburne has lots, and also at the time most comics only had all white characters,(sorry to tell most of you this, but we don't live in that kind of world), so they were probably just goin for a more realistic world view, so just relax till 2013 then you can all rip away
  • Anonymous
    Im always up for diversity, but not for the sake of shaking things up. If he was the best choice, so be it. Comics 75 yrs ago had to be white protagonist if they wanted to sell big. Could you imagine action comics # 1 With a black superman? Never would have made print, or a black Batman beating up white gangsters in the 40's and 50's?
  • Rand Paul
    The Tea Party racist in me says this is wrong.
  • watch and see
    lol this movie will be shelved that stickershock price tag is just setting in with the eggheads they are going to pull the plug
  • Nate
    So will Perry White be known as Perry Black now? Sorry had to get it get that in.... But honestly I have no problem with Fishburne taking on this role, a talented actor and does have that big presence about him to be the boss of a newspaper company. It's kinda like Michael Clarke Duncan playing the Kingpin.
    • Hahaha
      You got the time machine to go back and get that actor? Because what we got now is Zombie Fish, who has already mentally checked out.
    • Anonymous
      Well Nate...in truth, the idea of a black Perry White is nothing new.  When the TV series LOIS AND CLARK was being developed in the 1990s, there was talk of making Perry White an African-American. The late Lane Smith was cast as Perry White (and did a damned fine job, as far as I'm concerned), but it seems that this bit of history has gone down the memory hole. And I'm okay with Fishburne being cast as Perry White.  It's sad, though, to see the usual knee-jerk nonsense about how it's all about "political correctness".
    • Anonymous
      I hope your being serious, as I thought MCD was the perfect Kingpin... until the goofy laugh at the end. Better director, slightly better script and DD woulda been amazing.
  • Ceazar_s
    I'm a big Supe fan and have been looking forward to seeing him again on the big screen.  All I can do is keep an open mind and try to be thankful that this film is even being made. Fishburne as White doesn't bother me at all, and I think that this movie is being made to try and bring new fans in. Still looking forward to this.
    • Anonymous
      Same here, Ceazar....same here. I mean....Fishburne is a fantastic actor, so why the fuss?
      • Littlecorrection
        Fishburne hasn't been a good actor in years. Sad but true.
  • Ken7eleven
    I'm hyped !!
  • Blue Silver
    .....and there they go, straying from the original source material. I am not racist, I just believe there shouldn't be too many liberties taken with material that has been around for decades-material that we all grew up with reading! ...Another thing Ethan, your condescending tone: "a black man can run for president, he SURE AS HELL run a fictional newspaper." and "if you're really upset.....you have deeper issues to resolve". --already shows an already aggressive shift towards covering your ass while setting up a potential "racial" backlash!!! THIS IS UN-CALLED FOR! How dare you freakin' talk AT your readers as if you're a perfect, morally superior person!  And AGAIN, I am not racist. I just hate when filmmakers take damn, creative license with the source material and do whatever the hell they want with it. Kudos to Fishburne, as I think he is a good actor, but AGAIN why couldn't the producers just bring back Frank Langella? He's an equally good actor who did a hell of a good job in, "Superman Returns"!
    • http://www.facebook.com/ayotunde.afolabi Ayotunde Afolabi
      I agree, "creative license" has ruined a potentially good/amazing films. But I think some of the points have come to this; if the original creators they had the option to make PW any nationality from the get-go would he have been white? Maybe... and for a character that is of emotional and presence-based importance, as long as the actor conveys both those traits...it shouldn't really matter too much. The original vision was constricted by sigma and social norms of the time. Really weird situation this...
      • Anonymous
        "Maybe... and for a character that is of emotional and presence-based importance, as long as the actor conveys both those traits...it shouldn't really matter too much." Exactly.  Well said, well said....
    • Anonymous
      "...Another thing Ethan, your condescending tone: "a black man can run for president, he SURE AS HELL run a fictional newspaper." and "if you're really upset.....you have deeper issues to resolve". --already shows an already aggressive shift towards covering your ass while setting up a potential "racial" backlash!!!" Actually, I see the point he's making but he could've been, well, a bit more clearer. Look, I'm a black guy.  And I guess that I'm looking at this the same way Ethan did--when an actor of color is cast as a character that was originally Caucasian, the screams and yells of "political correctness!!" drown everything out.  Remember the casting of Idris Elba as Hemdall in THOR? Or going back further, the casting of Tim Russ as Tuvok in STAR TREK: VOYAGER? And to me, some of it does reek of, well, racism.  Perhaps unintentional, but.... As for ".....and there they go, straying from the original source material. I am not racist, I just believe there shouldn't be too many liberties taken with material that has been around for decades-material that we all grew up with reading!" ....Well, sorry to bust your bubble, but there have been so many changes to Supes done over the years--both in the comics and movies and TV shows--that your complaint, I'm sorry to say, is invalid.  Back in the 1980s when John Byrne rebooted Superman, there was a lot of moaning and groaning, because 1) Johnathan and Martha Kent were still alive, they were not dead, 2) "Superman" was just a disguise, something that Clark Kent used in order to hide his true identity while he was out saving the world; 3) Clark wore regular glasses, not specs made from his spacecraft; 4) Lex Luthor was no longer a genius criminal--he was a CEO of his multi-billion dollar company. And there were a lot more changes and revisions made by Byrne that I'm not going to go into here. Needless to say, it didn't mean a damn, because Byrne's reboot of Superman was one of the best comic events of the 1980s. So much so that a lot of elements he introduced are still being used today. They've strayed from the "source material" many, many times.  And as for this one, well...as I mentioned above, a black Perry White is not a new idea; LOIS AND CLARK had toyed with that idea during its development in the 1990s.  So....how about we just tone down the screaming and just wait for the film to come out BEFORE passing judgement?  Can we all just do that, please?
      • whfastus
        I agree with Scopedog.  It's been pointed out in the thread previously, but it bears repeating:  When Superman debuted, the social norms in the U.S. would not have allowed Perry White to be depicted as a black man, at least not with white subordinates.  Segregation was in full force in the South then, for goodness sakes!!  So I for one will give Laurence Fishburne a chance to prove to us, the audience, that he can play the part.  And btw, I'm white ... if that makes any difference.
        • Blue Silver
          I understand the norms from back then, but tampering with the characters extremely, from what we grew up with and know distinctively is something I'm not a big fan of. Be sure to read my post above and I hope I've expressed myself accordingly!
      • Blue Silver
        First and foremost, I made myself clear about not being racist. Don't go judging me based on my post or assume that I'm screaming when I am not. There have been many updates, yes UPDATES, to the source material: in the form of character modifications, story, casting, obviously. DO NOT go read more into this than what I've expressed. I understand your point of view and I admire Fishburne's work! I have no choice but to wait for the film, and I WILL go see it! What if Perry White was a Mexican actor without the accent or an actor of another nationality. This would illicit tons of outcry and mud slinging of epic proportions because it is a central and important character in the, 'Superman' universe (unlike Rachel Dawes in TDK). A character we all grew up with and RECOGNIZE distinctively!  In the end, it would depend on the actor's interpretation on the screen. I knew some would take my comment as one with semi-insensitive,  racial undertones! It is not! It's my POV. ...and yes Idris Elba rocked in 'Thor', although a 3rd tier character, again. .....But, if say, Mario Lopez was cast as 'Thor' or even William Levy(blond Hispanic J-Lo's supposed squeeze)or let's say Michael Jai White, what consensus would the fanboys reach! You see the point I'm trying to make? I hope so as I'd hate to type a full page with tons of examples and notes to explain every single point!
  • ...............
    I liked Jackie Cooper's portrayal as well as Lane Smith's (shout to Scopedog, that took me back) and if it's one thing I learned from M:I:III it's that Fishburne can play a secondary character well. But my gripe is now and will always be......if this isn't a period piece then why is he still working at a newspaper? No disrespect to journalism, but it's just not as prevalent and "happening" as it once was when Superman burst onto the scene. Let's be honest  Spiderman works at a gossip rag which is adaptable to today's society(TMZ). But nobody's still waiting for their reliable news from the Daily Planet's morning and evening edition anymore.....Keep It Real
  • http://twitter.com/illthoughts eugene
    I agree that "creative license" messes up the source material to a degree but I would like to point out that most whites yell and scream when an actor of color takes on a part that is white but those same people have nothing to say when it's the other way around. I remember when Mortal Kombat came out they replaced all the Asian characters with white characters. Anybody remember Kung-Fu? Well, Bruce Lee created that story and character but the studio  replaced him with a more European looking David Carradine. How about The Last Airbender? Angelina Jolie played two characters that were originally black. Wanted, A Mighty Heart. I heard rumors of Mickey Rourke playing Attila the Hun. I can go on and on. So you complainers only complain when it happens to you but not when it happens to others?     
  • Falcon
    I wonder if anyone would complain if "The Falcon" is played by a white guy, in the Avengers movie? How about Nic Cage? Sorry. They'd burn the theater down before they let that happen.....

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