DC Films exec allegedly refused to cast a black actor as Superman’s grandad in series that Rege-Jean Page auditioned for

Geoff Johns has denied accusations of wrongdoing

Annabel Nugent@annabelnugent
Wednesday 07 April 2021 10:11
Man of Steel: Superman speaks

A DC Films executive allegedly refused to cast a black actor to play Superman’s grandfather, a role that Regé-Jean Page had auditioned for.

The character is the lead part in Krypton – a 2019 TV adaptation of the comic book series of the same name – that focuses on Superman’s grandfather Seg-El. He was portrayed on the show by Cameron Cuffe.

Multiple sources have told The Hollywood Reporter that the show’s creators had been “passionate about doing some nontraditional casting” for the part of Superman’s grandfather, but were allegedly shut down by the former DC Films chairman Geoff Johns. 

One of the actors who reportedly auditioned and was rejected for the role is Page, the breakout star of Netflix’s period drama Bridgerton

THR also reports that Johns allegedly turned down the creators’ requests to make one superhero character – Adam Strange – gay or bisexual. 

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A representative for Johns told the publication that Henry Cavill’s long-standing reputation as Superman influenced the casting decision for the superhero’s grandfather as fans “expected the character to look like a young Henry Cavill”.

In response to the allegations, Johns’ representative also said: “Geoff celebrates and supports LGBTQ characters, including Batwoman, who in 2006 was re-introduced as LGBTQ in a comic book series co-written by Johns.”

Nadria Tucker, a black writer for Krypton, also accused Johns of objecting to a black female character’s hairstyle being changed in scenes that occurred on different days. 

“I said black women, we tend to change our hair frequently. It’s not weird, it’s a black thing,” she told the publication. “And he said, ‘No, it’s not.’”

On 24 February, Tucker appeared to reference the incident,  tweeting: “I haven’t spoke to Geoff Johns since the day on Krypton when he tried to tell me what is and is not a Black thing.” 

A representative for Johns has called Tucker’s accusations “personally offensive to Geoff” as Johns has “seen firsthand the painful effects of racial stereotyping” invoking the fact that he was previously married to a black woman and that his second wife is Asian American.

They said: “What were standard continuity notes for a scene are being spun in a way that is not only personally offensive to Geoff, but to the people that know who he is, know the work he’s done and know the life he lives, as Geoff has personally seen firsthand the painful effects of racial stereotypes concerning hair and other cultural stereotype, having been married to a Black woman who he was with for a decade and with his second wife, who is Asian American, as well as his son who is mixed race.” 

The allegations were part of a broader report on issues that actor Ray Fisher says he experienced and witnessed on the set of the 2017 superhero film Justice League

Krypton was cancelled in August 2019 after a two-season run on the American cable channel Syfy.