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The Batman’s Jeffrey Wright Responds To Person Who's Angry About A Black Actor Playing James Gordon

Jeffrey Wright in The Batman
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

When The Batman comes out later this year, Jeffrey Wright will become the latest in a line of actors to play the iconic role of commissioner Gordon. Of course, by virtue of being a person of color, Wright has brought something new to the role before anybody has even seen the performance. Some people have a problem with this change to the character, but Jeffrey Wright isn’t here for that. He’s seemingly irked about people being critical of his casting, though he’s still got a good sense of humor.

Somebody on Twitter, the word ”fan” probably isn’t appropriate here, came out and asked Jeffrey Wright if the role of Commissioner Gordon was right for him, by virtue of the character traditionally being portrayed as a white guy. Wright responded publicly, with no words, just a short video clip of Peter Sellers destroying a piano. I think the message is clear. 

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I think we can understand why Jeffrey Wright may want to go smash a piano after a comment like that. It’s surprising that the comment is so blunt, as most criticism of casting Jeffrey Wright in The Batman hasn't actually brought his race into it. But this unfortunately the sort of thing is something that often circulates around the internet when a person of color is cast in a role that was historically white. This despite the fact that in cases like this the race of the character is irrelevant to the performance.

Jeffrey Wright is probably tired of hearing this. Actors in his position hear it all too often and it has to get frustrating. There’s more focus on this than any other project Jeffrey Wright has coming up, which just as to be annoying for any working actor. At least his use of a Peter Sellers video indicates he’s trying to keep a sense of humor about it all. 

While it’s certainly true that the DC Comics character of Jim Gordon is traditionally white, that has more to do with the character being introduced in 1939 than it does anything of substance to the character. People of color were generally not allowed to be police commissioners  in the late 1930s. There’s no reason Gordon needs to be white, and Jeffrey Wright knows this. And with DC Movies not limiting themselves to one universe, this isn’t even the only Jim Gordon we have, making the criticism even more strange.

In the end,  Jeffrey Wright is a fantastic choice to play Commissioner Gordon for the simple reason that he’s a great actor. The Batman has a remarkable cast and Wright is only part of it. He’ll no doubt do the job well and that’s what matters. And perhaps, by being a Black actor, he’ll bring something new to the role that we never knew it needed. Of all the challenges that The Batman will have to face, including separating itself from the pack of Batman movies, its choice of police commissioner is top notch. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.