First, I have to acknowledge a rare feat, I was right. I’m not very good at patting myself on the back partially because my arms are too short, but gosh darn it I’m gonna try. Why? Because some time ago in one of my many nerdy fan cast I predicted that Kiersey Clemons would be perfect for DCEU’s version of Iris West in my Flash Fan Cast. While we all went to bed drooling over Comic-Con trailers (Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, Suicide Squad, Justice League), Variety magazine proved me right when they reported that the 22-year old rising star has been confirmed to take the role in Rick Famuyiwa’s The Flash.
Not So Whitewashed
Famuyiwa and the DC powers that be truly are pushing towards racial versatility with two African-American women portraying a character that so many of us have previously known to be Caucasian. Don't be alarmed, this isn’t just a token casting. DC has made strides in the comics by changing another big time hero's race in the New 52 we see Wally West being portrayed as black. Plus CW’s The Flash's Iris is also portrayed by a black woman, Candice Patton.
Kiersey Clemons has an opportunity to do great things with a character that had some fans on the fence. This was a savvy and smart move by DC, especially with the clamoring for more racial equality on the big screen and the "whitewashing" Hollywood is known for. I'd imagine some long term effects of Clemon's hiring on the entire Flash franchise, if we're lucky enough to get multiple moves. This will undoubtedly have a much larger impact with the impending debut of Wally West on the big screen who will be played by an African-American actor (Young Justice or Teen Titans PLEASE). Anywho we've already gotten our first taste of the New 52 Wally CW's The Flash played by Keiynan Lonsdale, who has a sick costume, by the way. Kudos to DC and Rick Famuyiwa for this casting choice!
DC Director Replicating Coogler's Success at Marvel
Rick Famuyiwa was named director back in June a pretty bold move by DC, but they were just one step behind their rival. Like Marvel, DC decided to go with a relative "upstart." Marvel made the same bold move when they chose Creed's Ryan Coogler to direct Black Panther's feature film. Together they are the only two African-Americans manning a directors seat for big budget hero films. Like Coogler, Famuyiwa has only directed small budget projects. Both men made their names with critically acclaimed Sundance films, Coogler had Fruitvale Station (2013) and Famuyiwa had Dope (2015).
Famuyiwa, with the approval from DC, may have taken a few ques from his peer by working with a familiar and talented face. Cooger directed Jordan in a few movies, including the critically acclaimed Creed and Fruitvale Station before inviting Jordan to join the Black Panther franchise. Like Coogler, Famuyiwa is doing the same with Kiersey Clemons, who he also directed in Dope. This was a smart move by Famuyiwa becuase Clemons has all the makings to play the sexy, feisty Iris West.
So, Who is Kiersey Clemons?
Kiersey Clemons spent quite some time making her rounds at Disney, where she mostly had reoccurring roles on shows like Shake it Up, Austin and Ally, and Good Luck Charlie. On Shake it Up, she played the ditsy, snobby and popular cheerleader, Danielle. She got a bit more screen time on Austin and Ally as a reoccurring love interest of Austin, playing Kira Starr, who was lovable, a bit goofy, and more likable. Her most prominent role while with Disney came in 2014 as Skye in Cloud 9, a snowboarder with a bit of an attitude. I'm a big fan of variety and versatility and Clemons displayed that by jumping off the screen in each scene, even if it was just for a moment.
Bigger and Better Things: Clemons in the DCEU
Since moving on from Disney, Kiersey has spread her acting wings. Her star has been shining bright since her breakout performance in Dope alongside Shameik Moore as the homosexual, bike riding geek Diggy. In May of 2016, she co-starred in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising as Beth, a ganja-smoking feminist teaming with her sorority sisters on a mission for equality. Oh, but the train hasn't stopped moving since then, as she's been cast in Niels Arden Oplev's Flatliners (2017) as Sophia. Obviously she's a hot commodity and Kiersey's short acting resume lends itself very well to the role of Iris.
Per multiple sources, Iris West is described in the breakdown as having Christiane Amanpour’s brains and Carrie Bradshaw’s style — an over-caffeinated doe, a reporter at The Central City Citizen.
The feminist qualities needed for Iris is in Clemon's resume, and the sweet loving kind-heartedness needed for the inevitable romantic connection between Iris and Flash is also there. Add that up with a little attitude and designer clothing and you have Iris West. If you couldn't tell already, I am very pleased with this latest casting, though DC still has an uphill battle. Here is to hoping Ezra Miller (Flash) and Kiersey Clemons's chemistry is on point and we get a fantastic movie. We may even be lucky enough to get a glimpse of her as Iris in Justice League (2017).
Is Kiersey Clemons the Best Choice for Iris?
The Flash is set to hit theaters March 16, 2018