Now, in many ways, taking a stand against racism and sexism in the film industry isn't all that astonishing a thing for an actor to do - it's not as though anyone's really up against them arguing in favor of it, after all. Oddly, though, it remains a surprisingly rare thing for many industry professionals to do - perhaps suggesting that they're more aware of a lingering cadre of influential and prejudiced insiders than we are.
If there is indeed an underlying reluctance to stand up and call out racism, however, it doesn't seem to be something shared by Ryan Reynolds, soon to hit our screens in the eagerly-anticipated Deadpool. Instead:
Ryan Reynolds Just Slammed Hollywood for the Way It Treats Black and Female Actors
Now, while speaking to GQ recently about the number of exciting young actors who're finding themselves tied to superhero and action franchises at a young age, Reynolds was initially very positive, pointing out that...
"A lot of them are incredible artists, and they need to have a franchise in order to pursue a lot of the other interests that they may have. It works as a bit of a conduit to the material that they want to be pursuing when they’re not shooting the big franchise."
In fact, he even went on to argue that the rise of major female-led franchises like The Hunger Games has played a part in improving Hollywood's deeply problematic gender imbalance:
"[I]nterestingly, thank God, there’s more and more opportunities for women now than there was. Obviously there’s a pay gap and an age gap in Hollywood that’s kind of insane and at some point needs to be remedied, inch by inch or mile by mile. But, you know, Jennifer Lawrence, she’s a movie star. I personally would go see a movie based exclusively on the fact that she’s in it."
However, That Optimism Doesn't Seem to Have Blinded Reynolds to the Problems That're Still There
The conversation, y'see, soon turned to the recent critical and box office failure of Fantastic Four, and the comparative impact that lack of success could have on each of the film's main cast members. After the interviewer noted the potential damage the movie's poor showing could have on Miles Teller, Reynolds jumped in with:
"But I’m more frustrated about the Michael B. Jordan aspect than Miles Teller. You know, Miles Teller’s gonna recover. Miles Teller’s gonna go on to do amazing things, you know. It’s important that Michael B. Jordan continues to go on and do amazing things."
To which, after being asked whether he felt "they" - presumably meaning Hollywood as a collective entity - would make it harder for Jordan - who's African American - than Teller - who's very much a white Caucasian - to recover from Fantastic Four's box office failure, Reynolds added:
"I know it’s not easy for a black actor. It’s not easy for a female actor. It’s not easy for a lot of people that are... That entire cast is amazingly talented. And I wouldn’t wish that [box office failure] on anybody. I mean, I know what that feels like. It doesn’t feel good. And it also is difficult, because you don’t feel like you can control that outcome. You know, as much as you want to. You can’t really."
Which, in the wake of the oddly frenzied online opposition to the non-caucasian Jordan playing the Human Torch, and centuries of evidence that true racial and gender equality are still a whole lot further away than they should be, is a pretty obvious point to make - but no less important a one for that.
It'll take a whole lot more than a handful of actors speaking out about the problem to fix it, of course - but in the meantime, it's a start...
What do you reckon, though?