While the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League has been the main big news in the DCEU fandom in the past year, an important side-story was the accusations of abusive behavior that Cyborg actor Ray Fisher has leveled at filmmaker Joss Whedon from their time spent together on the sets of 2017’s Justice League. In a new interview with VanityFair, Fisher described Whedon’s attitude as being responsible for “gaslighting” the film’s cast and crew.
“What ended up happening, I think, was a bit of a collaborative gaslighting that we got from Joss. We ended up getting an email prior to the reshoot, I think it was sent out to the entire cast. It was an email saying, “Hey, we’re really trying to pull this together. Obviously this is a tough situation. Any questions, comments, blah, blah, blah, feel free to pass them along.” We learned pretty quickly that that was not the case at all. That was just the niceties for what was really going to be happening, which is, well, I’m not going to get too much into that. The thing is, there’s an ongoing investigation with respect to that, and we’re trying to get everything back on track with that.”
While the initial email seemed promising enough, Ray Fisher goes on to state that it was apparent early on that Joss Whedon was still upset over the poor reception to his previous superhero movie, Age of Ultron, which ended up informing his decisions on the sets of Justice League.
“You can see it in some of the scenes that were produced. Flash falling on Wonder Woman’s [chest] is something that he yanked out of Age of Ultron and just copy-pasted here. In my first conversation creatively with him, he kept accidentally calling “Diana” “Natasha,” which is crazy stuff. This was in the conversation that they made me have with him prior to giving me the script. There was a lot of belittling on set. There was a lot of mocking, both of previous work and of actors and people.He compared me at one point to Robert Downey Jr. And said, “Listen, I don’t like to take notes from anybody, not even Robert Downey Jr.” And I said, “Well, okay. Be that as it may…”
It seems from Fisher’s account that Whedon saw Justice League as a way to make up for the reception to Age of Ultron, even though the two franchises are wildly different in terms of themes and tone. After that dig regarding Robert Downey Jr., Fisher explains that he realized filming the movie was not going to be the kind of collaborative experience the initial email had promised.
“That was the first phone conversation he and I had had about the actual script. And so, two notes in, he cuts me off flat out and goes, boom. This is what it is. And I go, “Okay, the email that you sent was not what I’m getting right now. So I’ll take the cue and just back off it.” But you can tell he had a lot of resentment for what the situation was with the Marvel side of things. It just felt weird and odd. But we ended up getting the brunt of a lot of whatever he was going through at the time. I don’t know what that was, but whatever it is, can’t continue…. This kind of stuff can’t keep going. I mean, I said it before: If this is the only film I’m blessed to do, I’ll take it and go, because there’s never going to be another film that happens like this.”
Zack Snyder’s Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ray Porter as Darkseid, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. The film arrives on HBO Max on March 18. This news comes from Vanity Fair.