In the opinion of Belfast star Jamie Dornan, the tendency for audiences to prejudge casting announcements is “a disease in all our culture.” 

Source: Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Universal Pictures

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Best known for his starring role as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, Dornan shared his frustrations with this cultural phenomena during a recent interview with Esquire writer Justin Kirkland.

Reflecting on the backlash to his casting in the lead role of the major Hollywood book-to-film adaptation, which saw “thousands of fans [take] to the campaigning platform Change.org to object to the casting,” Dornan bluntly opined, “Prejudgment is such a f–king disease.”

Source: Fifty Shades Darker (2017), Universal Pictures

“It’s a disease in all our culture,” said the actor. “In my line of work, sure. But in general, people prejudge people based on f–kng anything really, and it’s very sad.”

“Look at the reaction when [Robert Pattinson] got cast as Batman,” he continued. “It was like 90 percent negative. Daniel Craig got cast as James Bond—I mean that was 100 percent negative. It was vile what was written.”

Source: Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Universal Pictures

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“It was actually disturbing when you see the f–king venomous anger that people have over casting decisions,” Dornan then asserted, before concluding, “And then guess what? Daniel Craig is fucking brilliant, and it changes the whole energy of Bond. All the naysayers love what Rob has done with Batman.”

Source: The Batman (2022), Warner Bros. Entertainment

While there is some truth to Dornan’s words, as numerous casting choices in recent memory have been rejected by a variety of fans due to their protective attitudes towards a given property, there are just as many – if not more – examples of such negative prediction’s being right on the money.

For every Pattinson Batman or Tyler Hoechlin Superman, whose portrayals eventually won over audiences, there also exists a Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor, a Michael B. Jordan Human Torch, and a Seth Rogen Green Hornet, all of whose castings gave way to rather abysmal interpretations of each character as well as near-universally panned end products.

Source: Fantastic Four (2015), 20th Century Studios

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While such failures partly rests on the shoulders of a project’s writer and director, as an actor can only work with the material and direction they are provided, the accuracy of fans’ warning radars towards such projects suggests that fan instinct is not always as unwarrantedly negative as Dornan surmises.

After all, some prejudgements made against a product due to its distinct distancing from the source material – such as Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie or Warner Bros.’ original Joss Whedon-led cut of Justice League – have given way to some ideas that were taken into consideration and eventually implemented to make a better end result.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

Ultimately, while it is true that some fans take prejudgement of casting decisions to an adamantly negative degree, the act itself is borne from fans’ love for the characters and their desires to see them faithfully recreated – rather than subverted – on the big screen.

What do you make of Dornan’s opinion on “prejudgement”? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

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  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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