Supergirl’s Mehcad Brooks talks unconventional casting at London’s Heroes and Villains Con
Mehcad Brooks has spoken out about his unconventional casting in the CW’s Supergirl at his panel at Heroes and Villains Con in London’s Kensington Olympia this weekend.
Brooks portrays James “Jimmy” Olsen in the television series, a character who in the original DC comics was illustrated as a white, red-headed photojournalist.
When asked if he was surprised to receive the gig, Brooks admitted: “The traditional Jimmy Olsen from 1940… doesn’t look like me. So when I went to audition for it and my agent-manager called me and was like this character’s Jimmy Olsen and I go wait…. ‘Jimmy Olsen?’ They go ‘yeah’, and I go ‘I’m not redheaded though. They know I’m… they know I’m bald. I’m not… Scandinavian either. What’s happening?’
“I get to the audition and I see the girl auditioning some other different types of people. A lot of the time in Hollywood when this happens is they do that to be nice. So I kind of went in, flannel shirt, little bit like a hipster, had my tattoos out, had my nose-ring in, got my earrings in, so I just did it however I wanted. And I got a call back, and I was like, ‘aw, that’s nice. That’s great’. And then I got another callback and I was like, ‘oh, you serious’.”
Brooks went on to praise the progressive nature of Supergirl and the show’s penchant for including representation of all kinds of people.
He continued: “I really found out that just because a character was created 75 years ago in a very monotone existence, does not mean that we can’t change who that person is now. I realised that our show was doing something a lot different and we wanted to change some of the wrongs that had happened in the past… because not to point the fingers, but in 1940, Jack Larson [who portrayed Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s series Adventures of Superman] probably did not know people who looked like me. And so if Jimmy was created five years ago, he might have looked like me.”
He continued to send out an inspiring message to all those who did not look like the norm – and encouraged fans not to allow others use being a minority against them.
“I realised that they really liked me, and I realised they were looking past race. So let that be a lesson, if somebody says you can’t be something, you don’t look like this person – or you’re a man, or you’re a woman – whatever someone wants to use [against you], just be like nah, sorry.”