Over at The Mary Sue, Jill Pantozzi passes along a cool rumor. Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, who already switched the race of Clark Kent’s Daily Planet editor Perry White from white to black with the casting of Laurence Fishburne, may have turned Jimmy Olsen into a woman:
Actress Rebecca Buller is listed as Jenny Olsen on the Man of Steel IMDB page. You can’t always trust the information there but when you add in this still from the trailer of Fishburne running with Buller, things get a bit firmer. She doesn’t have red hair but then, Lois does this time around so I guess a swap was in order there too. Perhaps Snyder is trying to make a point that we need to start breaking the mold when it comes to comic adaptations.
Jimmy Olsen has had a lot of interesting character morphs in old Superman comics and while he’s dressed up as a woman for undercover work several times, he’s never actually been a woman. Again, this whole thing could be totally off. Buller could be any Daily Planet employee, or just a friend of Perry’s, there’s no way to know for sure since neither Warner Bros. or Snyder have mentioned Jimmy Olsen but what do you think of the possibility?
I wouldn’t be surprised by this. Snyder, whose wife Deborah is his long-time producer, had always seemed more interested than a lot of his action-directing brethren in female characters. He managed to get the underrated Sucker-Punch made at a time when there was an unofficial Warner Brothers’ ban on movies with female main characters in place. The performance he got out of Lena Headey in 300 is the best thing in that arguably racist mess of a film, and he did a nice job with Malin Ackerman, an actress I’ve never found particularly compelling in other circumstances in Watchmen, too. And Man of Steel is also rumored to feature a Kryptonian supervillainess in addition to General Zod.
None of which is to say that I think Snyder has all of his ideas about women worked out in a particularly coherent way. And it doesn’t exactly help that some of his earlier projects were adaptations of sexually violent source material by authors — Frank Miller and Alan Moore — who have significant issues of their own to sort through. But I keep coming back to his work because at least he’s thinking about things like women and self-sacrifice, and friendship, and loyalty. He’s no Joss Whedon. But if Jimmy Olsen’s become Jenny, and Snyder’s become one of the only superhero directors willing to tweak a fandom with a decision that questions the invoilate nature of canon, it’ll be another reason to keep an eye on Snyder if only because I want to see what his female characters are eventually going to evolve into.