Spider-Man: Homecoming will be a more modern telling of the classic Spider-Man lore from Marvel comics, and it has made significant changes to some characters. Flash Thompson, for example, has been a character in Spider-Man comics since 1963, and though he’s changed over the years, he is usually portrayed as a white jock who bullies Peter Parker. #SpiderManHomecoming put a different spin on the character, and cast Tony Revolori—who is of Guatemalan descent—to play Flash Thompson.
Certain comic book fans have been known to react poorly when the characters they love are changed for films, particularly if they're raceswapped or genderbent, and unfortunately, a small minority of fans can be vicious about it. When it was announced that Tony Revolori would be playing Flash, there was immediate backlash on social media, mostly due to the actor’s ethnicity and stature. Recently, while making the press rounds prior to the film’s release, Revolori talked about how badly some fans reacted, even going so far as to threaten his life.
Tony Revolori Talks About Getting Death Threats After Being Cast As Flash Thompson
In an interview with CBR, #TonyRevolori spoke about how people reacted when they learned he was playing Flash Thompson in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and how things escalated beyond normal fan criticism:
“I’m not what the character was in the comic books. I’m not, and we can say that clearly and easily —and there’s still people who will hate that fact. It was very disheartening to receive hate mail and death threats and things like that.”
Revolori is not the first actor who has been on the receiving end of an extremely negative fan response; recently, for example, The Walking Dead’s Josh McDermitt left Twitter after receiving death threats. Instead of being put off by the hate, Revolori chose to empathize with those harassing him—which is a feat of amazing emotional maturity:
“It’s hard, but then I realized they love this character so much… this is just their passion. I am passionate about things myself, being sports or movies or things like that. I understand where they’re coming from. Maybe they went about it a wrong way, but I took it all as constructive criticism. What can I do to do it right? Then I did what I had to, to be the Flash that they could be happy with, and sure, they won’t be happy with it anyway. But I gained 60 pounds for the role, and I did what I had to. I think that was one of the hardest things in the beginning, to be in that bubble of all this hate, and then just trying to walk out of it unscathed.”
Revolori has dealt with the hate and death threats in a positive way, but it doesn’t change the fact that people were threatening his life because he wasn’t who they wanted to be cast. Sure, Revolori isn’t the 6’3” blonde jock who physically bullies #PeterParker, but Flash Thompson was created in an era where that was the norm.
Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Flash Thompson represents a more modern take on the character, who isn't physically threatening, but throws his social status and wealth around to belittle others.
Hopefully, once people see the film, they will realize that every actor was cast for a reason, and they all work in the context of the story. It’s fine if people weren’t thrilled that Tony Revolori was cast as #FlashThompson—everyone is entitled to their opinion—but threatening his life over a movie role is unacceptable.
Spider-Man: Homecoming—which has been getting great critical reviews, by the way—will be in theaters on July 7, 2017.
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