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James Gunn says Bassem Youssef’s character was cut from Superman before Piers Morgan Palestine interview

Youssef had previously claimed he was cut from the upcoming superhero movie for speaking out about the conflict in Gaza

Kevin E G Perry
Friday 16 February 2024 20:59 GMT
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James Gunn appears to criticise Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor performance

DC Studios CEO James Gunn has hit back at speculation that comedian and TV host Bassem Youssef was fired from the upcoming <em>Superman</em>: Legacy for speaking out about the conflict in Gaza.

Gunn, 57, reposted an IGN article on his X/Twitter account, which reported that the character Youssef had been approached to play was entirely cut from the script prior to his comments about Palestine.

Gunn wrote about the article: “This is accurate.”

Earlier this week, Youssef had told Salon that he believed he had been let go from the project due to a viral interview with Piers Morgan regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“In the United States of America, you can talk about Joe Biden, you can talk about Donald Trump, but you cannot criticize a foreign government which is kind of, like, very sad, you know?” Youssef said in the Salon interview. “And then because of that, I was cast in the movie Superman, and then they told me, ‘We changed the script’ after this Piers Morgan interview, and I want to assume good faith.”

“I understand maybe the people who are, you know, in charge, they took the decision, looked at me and didn’t want to have me and maybe I understand,” he continued. “If I’m Arab Muslim, I was the head of Warner Bros., I wouldn’t like a pro-Zionist or pro-Israel to be in my movie if he attacked my people. This is the thing that we need to dissect: When I attack Israel, I attack its policy, I’m not attacking Jewish people.”

DC Studios boss James Gunn (left) and comedian Bassem Youssef’

However, IGN reported that while Gunn had discussed casting Youssef as the politician Rumaan Harjavti, the character had been written out of the script entirely by September, a month before the Piers Morgan interview in October. The article states that Youssef was never formally offered the part, and the decision to cut the character was purely down to script changes.

Superman: Legacy is expected to arrive in cinemas on 11 July 2025.

It will star David Corenswet as Superman, Rachel Brosnahan as Lois Lane, and Nicholas Hoult as Lex Luthor.

Milly Alcock was also recently cast as Supergirl, although it remains unclear whether she will make her DCU debut in Superman: Legacy.

Argylle director Matthew Vaughn recently questioned the timing of Alcock’s casting.

Vaughn was extremely complimentary of Alcock, saying that he was “sad” when the actor turned down a film he once offered her.

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But the British filmmaker said he was confused by the timing of the casting considering the film currently has no director attached. At this point, it is only in the planning stages with DC bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran.

Speaking to BroBible, Vaughn said; “I’m a huge fan of Milly Alcock. Huge fan. Met with her for this other project we’re working on – she turned me down, which was sad. She’s a fabulous actress.

“Then again, I do find it very weird that they haven’t got a director. That surprised me, because you shouldn’t cast a movie –the director should be casting the movie. I don’t understand who cast it if there isn’t a director.”

When asked if he would direct the film, he said he would “consider it”, adding: “Never say never.”

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