Regé-Jean Page auditioned to play Superman's grandpa in "Krypton," according to THR.
But sources told THR that DC exec Geoff Johns nixed the idea of Superman having a Black grandpa.
A rep for Johns told Insider he "never said Superman can't have a Black ancestor or be Black."
Regé-Jean Page of "Bridgerton" fame reportedly auditioned for the role of Superman's grandfather on SyFy's show "Krypton" - but a DC executive overseeing the project didn't want a Black man to play the role, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The allegation appeared in a new interview with "Justice League" star Ray Fisher, who last year accused director Joss Whedon of "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" behavior on set.
Fisher also spoke out about the experiences he said he had with DC executive Geoff Johns. Johns, a comic book writer and screenwriter, produced films like "Justice League," "Aquaman," and "Birds of Prey."
Johns also oversaw the SyFy series "Krypton," which follows Superman's grandfather, Seg-El, in the decades before the birth of Superman.
According to THR, the creators of "Krypton" were interested in nontraditional casting for the show, which ran from 2018 to 2019, with Page auditioning for the role of Seg-El before he got his big break on "Bridgerton" last year.
But multiple sources told THR that Johns shut down the idea, saying that Superman couldn't have a Black grandfather. Ultimately, the role went to white actor Cameron Cuffe.
Page seemed to address the controversy in a tweet on Thursday, writing, "Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh."
-Regé-Jean Page (@regejean) April 7, 2021
"Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly," he added.
When reached for comment by Insider, Johns' publicist Howard Bragman said that Johns "never said Superman can't have a Black ancestor or be Black."
"There have been diverse versions of Superman throughout the comics for decades so he does and can be diverse," Bragman wrote in an email.
"However, the expectation for 'Krypton' was that it would initially be perceived as a possible prequel to 'Man of Steel' by the fans and the lead was expected to invoke a young Henry Cavill," he added.
Additionally, according to the report, a "Krypton" writer, Nadria Tucker, tweeted in February that Johns once "tried to tell me what is and is not a Black thing" on set, elaborating to THR that Johns objected when a Black female "Krypton" character had different hairstyles in scenes set on different days.
"I said Black women, we tend to change our hair frequently. It's not weird, it's a Black thing," Tucker told THR. "And he said, 'No, it's not.'"
In response to Tucker's claim, a representative for Johns told THR: "What were standard continuity notes for a scene are being spun in a way that are not only personally offensive to Geoff, but to the people that know who he is, know the work he's done and know the life he lives, as Geoff has personally seen firsthand the painful effects of racial stereotypes concerning hair and other cultural stereotypes, having been married to a Black woman who he was with for a decade and with his second wife, who is Asian American, as well as his son who is mixed race."
Sources also told THR that the "Krypton" creators wanted to make one character, Adam Strange, gay or bisexual, but that Johns "vetoed the idea" as well.
A spokesperson for Johns denied this claim to THR, stating that Johns "celebrates and supports LGTBQ characters."
Regarding the allegation that Johns didn't want the "Krypton" character to be gay or bisexual, Bragman told Insider via email, in part: "Geoff finds it unbelievably offensive that someone would ever suggest he said, 'I'd rather kill the character than have him be gay.' It is categorically false and horrific."
"Krypton" isn't the only series to approach the story of one of pop culture's most iconic heroes in a new way.
In February, news broke that acclaimed essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates had been hired to write the script for a new Superman movie that's reportedly being set up as a "Black Superman story," with Michael B. Jordan rumored to star.
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