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Fan Expo Canada Interview: Ray Fisher Talks ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ and On-Screen Diversity

October 22, 2021Ben MK

In the science fiction and fantasy genres, cyborgs are often portrayed as robotic, emotionless beings, if not straight-up killing machines. But in Zack Snyder's Justice League, the character of Cyborg doesn't just have a heart and soul, he actually is the heart and soul — not only of the titular group of superheroes led by Ben Affleck's Batman, but also of the film itself. It's a testament to the caliber of Snyder's writing and direction, and, of course, to actor Ray Fisher's memorable portrayal of Cyborg as well. And with Fisher making an appearance at this weekend's Fan Expo Canada, DC and comic book fans alike will have an opportunity to meet the man behind the machine, and to find out just what went into bringing such an iconic character to the screen.

I caught up with Ray Fisher ahead of his appearance at Fan Expo Canada: Limited Edition to chat about the fandom, Zack Snyder's Justice League, and much more. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

First of all, what's it like being back doing conventions again, after the pandemic put everything on hiatus? And what have you missed the most about interacting with the fans?

Fisher: I miss the energy of the people. There's nothing like being in the same space as comic book fans, especially when there are so many in costume and we're all geeking out about all the stuff that we love. I don't think that you can replace that buzz that you feel when you're on the main floor of a comic con. Nothing else really compares to it. There's so much to see, there's so much to listen to, to look at.

You're best known for your role as Cyborg in Zack Snyder's Justice League. Is there a scene in Zack's definitive cut of the film that's your personal favorite?

Fisher: Every time I watch the movie, I end up seeing different pieces of things that I had not seen before, just in how certain shots are laid out. I've always been a big fan of the G.C.P.D. rooftop scene, to see all the characters come together in Gotham City, of all places, near the bat signal, of all things. It's something that just makes me go, "Whoo!" every time. I also really enjoy the Atlantis stuff, the fact that we get a much clearer look at the world of Atlantis. And when Steppenwolf is looking for the second Mother Box, and he's interrogating the Atlantean soldiers by bringing them up onto the surface. It's like, "Now you're the fish out of water. Let's go!"

Since working on Zack Snyder's Justice League, you've had recurring roles on True Detective and the upcoming Women of the Movement. Can you talk about the current direction of your acting career and what kinds of roles you're looking at taking on these days?

Fisher: I'm actually in a little bit of a place of flux right now. Generally, I like to take time off of a project to just recalibrate, see how that project felt, and then figure out where I'm at in relation to the world. But I wanna do stories, I wanna be a part of stories that mean something. There's actually a piece that I'm working on right now that we're in the process of developing — a limited series. And when I can talk more about that, I definitely will be putting it out there on social media.

Insofar as superhero films go, the gravitas and the weight that Zack's films have mean something. They mean something deeper than shoot 'em up and crack a couple jokes. There's human condition within every single one of his films. So for me, what's next is focusing on this limited [series], and then seeing what other opportunities exist out there. Usually, I'll know it when I see it. It's hard for me to go, "I wanna do a biopic, or this or that." It has to be the right thing with the right people, and that takes time to find.

Diversity in film has been a big topic for a while, and it's come up again recently with all the talk about who should be the next James Bond, for example. Where do you weigh in on the debate about whether or not we should be beholden to stereotypes about certain characters?

Fisher: It depends. I think there's something to be said about changing things up, of giving a fresh take because you've had something for so long. James Bond has been around for decades upon decades. Casting James Bond in a different way isn't going to kill the franchise, it's not going to kill James Bond. There will always be another James Bond, the same way that there'll always be another Batman. I'm fine with mixing things up and trying something different, but sometimes the fandom can get a little bit in the way of that.

Ultimately, it's about letting things shift and letting things evolve, and getting a different spin. It's one thing if you're doing it because you have a story to tell, it's another thing to do it simply because you want to fill a quota or hit a certain demographic. And that's where I think the corporate meeting the casting side of things ends up rubbing people the wrong way. But for me, it's about finding the right story for the people that you're casting. Because then you have to specify it to certain experiences, if that's what you're going for.

Of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been taking big strides in on-screen diversity lately, with movies like Shang-Chi and Eternals following in the footsteps of Black Panther. Have you ever given any thought to returning to the genre, and is there a Marvel character that you would like to play?

Fisher: When Zack pitched Cyborg to me in Zack Snyder's Justice League, I had already seen Man of Steel, and I was like, "Okay, this is the kind of movie we're making, this is the kind of movie I wanna be a part of." [For me to play a Marvel superhero,] it would probably have to be something that just has a crazy spin to it, to differentiate it from [what] I've already been a part of. But I don't think right now there's a specific hero in Marvel that I'd wanna tackle. It would be story-dependent and, obviously, writer-director-dependent.

Last but not least, do you have a message for all your fans who are coming to Fan Expo to see you?

Fisher: I'll see you there. Make sure you stay safe. Keep those around you protected. Wear your mask. And let's have some fun!

Fan Expo Canada: Limited Edition runs October 22-24 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

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