X-Feels: X-Men Casting Feels, to Be Specific
That guy who makes these things, the X-Men movies, I mean, tweeted yesterday:
Tye Sheriden, who’s been in some things, Mud and Tree of Life (get thee behind me, Terrence Malick) among them, is our new Cyclops.
Sophie Turner, who’s killing it as the perennial unfortunate, quietly angry Sansa Stark, is our new Jean Grey.
And Alexandra Shipp who’s… made a bunch of bad movies (Aaliyah? Drum Line 2? Oh dear.) is our new Storm.
I’ll be honest with you, X-Men: First Class was where I tapped out for good on this franchise, but the WWAC crew is full of feels.
I assume Sophie Turner wasn’t just cast because both she and Jean Grey have red hair. Because we wouldn’t want to cast an actor just because they look the part, right? We want them to know how to act the part too, right? Actually, I’m perfectly fine with Sophie Turner and am currently rolling in my Sansa Stark and Jean Grey feels. I’m sure she’ll do just fine, assuming the character is well written (please do not give me another Emma Frost wasted experience). I have not seen this Alex Shipp person act, but the word on her roles in Drum Line 2 and the Aaliyah movie is not positive. I thought I could give her the benefit of the doubt and just pray that she won’t Halle Berry this. But it looks like I’m out of luck on both a good actress and one that actually looks the part of an African goddess. My only hope now is that, as a young actress eager to prove herself, she will at least make the effort to review the source material to find out just how incredibly powerful Storm is as a person, not just as a mutant superhero, and what she means to her fans. Perhaps Shipp will approach the character with much less contempt than her predecessor. As for Cyclops? Meh. Anyone can play Cyclops. The actor doesn’t have to be good. He just has to show up. (I’m just kidding. Sort of. Okay, I just don’t like Cyclops, so I really don’t care.)
Thumbs up for Tye Sheridan on Cyclops. Loved his work in Mud. If anyone can make Cyclops broody but add some dimension through acting, I think Tye can. Similar for Sophie Turner as Jean. I feel like she can pull off the older Jean Grey calm, but add a little wild, craziness when needed.
As for Storm, thank goodness — a chance to wipe Halle Berry Storm out of my memory. Or at least push it back a bit. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with Alexandra Shipp’s work, so I’m still nervous. OMG that photoshopped photo of Lupita Nyong’o as Storm.
I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so I can’t say how Sophie Turner is going to do as Jean. She’s pretty, and as long as she has a better attitude than Famke Janssen, who said “I just have to hold up my hand and squint” or something to that effect, she’ll be fine.
I’m way less happy about Alex Shipp. I looked up her history. Aside from the Aaliyah movie and Drum Line 2 and their bad reviews, the other things I recognize from her resume are House of Anubis (one season on Nickelodeon) and one of the Chipmunk movies. She looks like a younger version of the previous person who had the role of Storm (I will not speak her name), but on a black superhero angle — they went with someone very, very light skinned. Which feels like, in light of #OscarsSoWhite and the Selma snub, “we refuse to show a really brown skinned person with Storm’s level of power” to me. Not that the Singer movies have ever done great work with their women characters.
This franchise has been a hideous disappointment for me. Rogue and babby Mystique are the only female characters who’ve been allowed enough screen time to complete a credible development arc, and all of the more powerful female characters have been utterly sidelined. It’s probably worth noting that Rogue and babby Mystique occupy similar roles in their respective films: young girls with developing sexuality, rescued and surrounded by older men with whom they often share awkward, and on some level, somewhat disturbing sexual tension. Meanwhile, Jean, Storm, and Emma Frost shuffle listlessly around the background, or, when the films are feeling generous, scream inanities in the foreground.
Maybe this will be the one to turn things around? Well. Good for you, Sophie Turner. You get that paycheque.