by Brett White
“Guardians of the Galaxy” has a number of Academy Award nominees rounding out its supporting cast, including Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Benicio del Toro, and Djimon Hounsou, but being part of Marvel’s first space epic comes as an honor to Hounsou in particular. The actor has stated that he took the role of Korath the Pursuer to show his young son that there is room for diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“The lack of diversity, specifically in genre films and the superheroes our kids grow up watching and emulating, they can’t really identify with,” Hounsou said in an interview with Collider. “When you see the same thing, over and over again, and it seems not to speak of you and your heritage and your culture, it leaves you out of this world, a little bit. It gives a certain social distance with your world. So, it was very shocking when my son said that. It shocked me, but at the same time, it was not a surprise. It’s one of those things that even I have been looking for. I’m looking for a hero of my kind, and I’m looking for a shero of my kind. Now, we have Zoe Saldana, who is a shero for minorities, and that’s kind of nice.”
Saldana plays Gamora in “Guardians,” an alien assassin often referred to as the ’deadliest woman in the galaxy.’ The actress is also the first woman of color to play a lead or supporting role in any Marvel Studios film. Hounsou went on to praise the Marvel films, saying that “families can go see them together.”
“They’re entertaining,” Hounsou continued. “They aspire to inspire, and that is cool. At the same time, not all of us can identify and connect, necessarily.”
Hounsou is speaking to the exact point that has led many, many fans to champion characters like Black Panther and Captain Marvel as leading characters in upcoming Marvel Films. Despite their differing power sets and realms of origin, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor all have one thing in common: they’re white dudes. A character like Black Panther has a rich history, unique world perspective, and loyal fanbase that would definitely allow Marvel to specifically reach out to an audience that has not been represented in superhero films in a long time. Anthony Mackie has said very similar statements when he talks about Falcon, the superhero he plays in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
The actor, whose name regularly comes up when a Black Panther film is mentioned, has actually already played the Wakandan king in one form. Hounsou voiced Black Panther in his BET animated series, which he said pleased his son.
“I so desperately wanted to do ’Black Panther’ because I felt like it was time for it,” said Hounsou. “If you look at the world of comic books, Black Panther is one of the characters whose continent and country was always being invaded and he was always trying to defend it. He’s kicked everybody’s ass, really. All those superheroes who have come, at one point in time, to try to invade his country in Africa for minerals, he’s kicked most of their asses. But, that’s part of the story we don’t want to tell yet. I thought it was fun, and that it would be great for my son to see that. He did see it and he said, ’Papa, that sounds like you! That’s your voice!’ It’s fun.”
You can check out the full interview over at Collider.
What other heroes would you like to see Djimon Hounsou play? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!