The news is out! Warner Bros/Discovery has cast their new Superman and Lois Lane for the upcoming Superman: Legacy, the first film for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new vision for the DC Cinematic Universe, and it’s David Corenswet (Hollywood, Pearl) as cub reporter Clark Kent/Superman, and Rachel Brosnahan (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as award winning reporter Lois Lane, and the internet is all ablaze. What makes this announcement all that more special for some fans is the fact that Corenswet is Jewish, and it’s the first time we’ve had a Jewish actor play the Man of Steel in a live action movie.
Most fans aren’t aware of this, but Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the men that created Superman, are Jewish, and put a lot of the Jewish American experience into the character, which has helped make Superman the cultural icon, and made him the shining beacon of truth, Justice, and a better tomorrow, and he’s one of the most recognizable symbols around the world. The reason why the Jewish American community is so excited by this is because Siegel and Shuster put so much of their own shared experience into him. It’s this, that shared American experience, where you can come from anywhere in the world, and become anyone you want to be. For Clark, he wants to be a shining example for others to aspire to, and that it doesn’t take someone with powers to be the best they can be. It takes character and the conviction to be so.
Superman got his start by two lifelong childhood friends who put the man of steel in the same room as Hitler, who he punched, and then skyrocketed into the air until he landed in Moscow, where he’d grab Stalin and take the two dictators to Geneva where they’d be put on trial for their various crimes all the way back in 1938. Two years before the United States would join the allied forces to combat the European Nazis, fascists, and the Japanese imperial forces that had put the rest of the world on edge.
It’s 85 years later, and the fact that the Man of Steel being portrayed by a Jewish character is incredibly important at this time, because there has been a rising tide of antisemitic fervor and violence that has been rising around the world, and it’s getting to a point that has put the Jewish community on edge. Will Superman being portrayed by a Jewish actor stem the tide of antisemitic fervor? Probably not, but it’s a welcome start. Especially in a medium that was built off of the blood, sweat and tears on the back of the the jewish community, and it’s troublesome and disheartening to see so many of traditionally Jewish characters being portrayed by non-Jewish actors, and not being given the respect that they deserve.
It’s incredibly important for Jewish fans of the medium, to finally see the most important comic book character that created the entire superhero genre that has spawned multi billion dollar movies, cartoons, video games, to finally have the chance to see themselves up on the big screen.
Superman draws inspiration from a deep wealth of Jewish folklore and mythology, like stories around Samson, or Moses, that is lost on a lot of comic fans, and non-Jewish creators, that has often linked him to another Jewish biblical figure, despite the creators not having that intention. It would be nice to see that folklore and mythology being presented on the big screen by an actor who has lived this experience that Superman’s creators intended for Clark to have, and hopefully this will be something that other studios will take into account moving forward.
David Corenswet & the Importance of a Jewish Superman
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