According to IMDB, actress Rebecca Buller is appearing in Zack Snyder’s highly anticipated Superman relaunch Man of Steel as “Jenny Olsen.” Hmmm, okay… but here’s the kicker… there is no listing for anyone playing Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s staunch “Pal” of nearly 75 years! This comes on the heels of some other outside-the-box casting choices, including red-haired Amy Adams as Lois Lane (traditionally a brunette, although Noel Neill sported titian locks in the 1960s show The Adventures of Superman) and African American actor Lawrence Fishburn as the usually Caucasian editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, Perry White. So has Snyder opted to recast the role of star photographer and Superman’s best buddy as a woman? It would certainly seem to be the case, as Buller does appear in the most recent Man of Steel trailer, running alongside Fishburn from some wreckage.
You can view the trailer here. Buller appears at 1:53.
It’s an unconventional choice to be sure, but is there anything wrong with that? Certainly purists cry foul at any casting choices that aren’t perfectly in-line with established continuity, especially in cases where characters’ races are altered, but I think this is the first time that a comic book character’s gender has been swapped for a live-action adaptation. But it’s not unprecedented, because Clark Kent already had a female best friend, Chloe Sullivan on Smallville. And the “Aw shucks” Jimmy from years ago does seem a bit dated, as illustrated by Sam Huntington’s portrayal in Superman Returns, which some panned.
It would be interesting to see Clark have a female friend that isn’t a romantic interest. That’s a relationship that you don’t typically see in any medium, so it would be fresh at the very least. Many complained that Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was too much of a retread of the earlier Superman movies of the 70s and 80s starring Christopher Reeve. So the fact that Snyder is taking so many chances and changing things up should make people happy… or is he going too far?
What do you think? Are you intrigued? Outraged? Indifferent? Please comment below!