Here’s some sad news as reported by The Associated Press: Actor Michael Clarke Duncan has passed away at 54.
Duncan was probably best known for his role in “The Green Mile,” but I always think of him as Wilson Fisk, the Marvel comics crime boss known as Kingpin, in the Ben Affleck “Daredevil” movie.
Duncan also provided the voice of Kilowog in the “Green Lantern” movie.
Duncan, who some reports pegged as six-five and 300 pounds, had been in a Los Angeles hospital since a July heart attack.
There were a number of … off … elements about the “Daredevil” movie, although I think it gets more right than it gets wrong.
But one of the things that it got right was casting Duncan as Kingpin. It was a controversial move considering that Duncan was black and Fisk/Kingpin had always been portrayed as white in the comics.
This wasn’t a case of the character being changed in latter-day comics, as Marvel has gradually morphed Nick Fury into the image of Samuel L. Jackson, first in its Ultimates line of comics and now in the everyday Marvel world, where the original Fury’s son, who is black, has taken the name Nick Fury Jr.
At the time of the “Daredevil” casting, some people online complained that Duncan shouldn’t have been cast. Kingpin, who is also a Spider-Man enemy, shouldn’t be black, they said.
But there’s no reason besides the way the character has been drawn to rule out the color-blind casting.
And Duncan himself was good in the role of the dapper NYC gang boss.
Interestingly, we’ll see Laurence Fishburne as Perry White in next year’s Superman saga “Man of Steel.” There hasn’t been a lot of controversy about it and it’s possible that Duncan’s casting can be credited with paving the way.