How to Handle Criticism of Your Acting Role Without Being a Sh*t Weasel
I don’t want to name any names, but there is a certain actor making the rounds with his new show. This show is being criticized for having a white character play—fuck it; I’m talking about Iron Fist.
There’s the problematic history of the character, Danny Rand, in the comic universe that is being carried over to the Netflix series. Then there’s the revelation that critics are hating the series and are calling it Marvel’s first failure. Star Finn Jones has not been handling anyt of this very well in interviews.
“I’m playing a white American billionaire superhero, at a time when the white American billionaire archetype is public enemy No. 1, especially in the US,” he said. “We filmed the show way before Trump’s election, and I think it’s very interesting to see how that perception, now that Trump’s in power, how it makes it very difficult to root for someone coming from white privilege, when that archetype is public enemy No. 1.” - via A.V. Club
Uh huh. That’s why Iron Man is so hated. Batman is really getting screwed since this whole election too, am I right?
At any rate, between the criticisms of the show and his casting, Jones is clearly frustrated. He got the lead in a Marvel show, which are consistently hailed as amazing, and he’s dealing with all of this baggage. I get it. You think you’ve got it made but then people start attacking you. It sucks. However, what you don’t do in that situation is toss blame all over the place. I’ve got some advice for Jones, or anyone in a situation like this: DEFLECT, BE GRACIOUS, BE OPEN, DEFLECT SOME MORE.
Instead of responding to a question about the show being handed its ass (and 14% on Rotten Tomatoes) like this:
“Well I think there’s multiple factors. What I will say is these shows are not made for critics, they are first and foremost made for the fans. I also think some of the reviews we saw were seeing the show through a very specific lens, and I think when the fans of the Marvel Netflix world and fans of the comic books view the show through the lens of just wanting to enjoy a superhero show, then they will really enjoy what they see. I think it’s a fantastic show which is really fun and I think it stands up there with the other Defenders’ shows without a doubt” - via Metro
“Well, I think that the critics are well within their rights to review the series as they see fit. However, I really think that the fans of the Marvel Netflix world and fans of the comic books view the show through the lens of just wanting to enjoy a superhero show, then they will really enjoy what they see. I think it’s a fantastic show which is really fun and I think it stands up there with the other Defenders’ shows without a doubt.”
Instead of responding to questions about the character being a white male instead of an Asian character, avoid talking about Trumpy and try this instead:
“I think that Marvel made the choice to stick to canon with this particular character, where you have a white man who learns Kung Fu while mourning the death of his parents, and encounters a mystical dragon that turns him into the hero Iron Fist. [laugh here] I think it’s an interesting story, especially after Dr. Strange shifted the MCU focus to the more outright mystical side of things. I also think that we have a lot of diversity in the show, as well as in The Defenders, which teams Iron Fist and Luke Cage again as in the comics.”
No, but seriously, why is Iron Fist a white dude? Maybe go with:
“I think Marvel has done a lot with recasting popular characters based on the best actor for the job and not necessarily a hair color or a race or ethnicity. You can see that with Thor, the new Spider-Man, and I’m sure that will continue in the future of the MCU.”
Do you see? Graciousness is quite helpful. DEFLECTION IS KEY HERE. You sound like someone who understands, but doesn’t have any control over the whole thing. You are excited about the series and want to talk about it, but you acknowledge the criticism. You can still be dismissive while hiding it behind a facade of agreement. Call me. There’s more bullshit where this came from, Jones!