Ray Fisher says Cyborg represents the marginalized
Actor says Justice League superhero resonates with fans who feel underrepresented, and it's a mantle he carries with pride and integrity.
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What’s it like playing Cyborg, the technologically enhanced human superhero of Justice League? Ray Fisher compares his excitement to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“It’s like someone handing you the keys to the chocolate factory and saying, ‘Go ahead, it’s yours now,’” says the 30-year-old actor.
Before he was a superhero, Cyborg was Victor Stone, a sports-obsessed young man who was cybernetically reconstructed by his scientist father after a nearly fatal car accident. Cobbled together with technology that allows him to weaponize his arms and mind, he becomes a reluctant superhero.
Fisher first played Cyborg in a cameo appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and audiences took notice.
“Fans have reached out,” he says. “There have been some who are amputees. There have been kids who have implants. For Cyborg to be able to represent the underrepresented in that way is a very special thing. I didn’t know the full scope of what he would represent when I took on the mantle.”
Fisher says he’s inspired by the fact that his character gives voice and power to those who feel marginalized.
“Cyborg represents not just people who are differently abled, he is also a representation of the Black community and people of colour within the Justice League. Being able to don both those mantles with the integrity which that character would need to be portrayed and was adhered to was something that was very important. I never felt that I was in too much danger of becoming a stereotype. I never felt like I was in danger of offending anyone with that particular portrayal because it could go wrong in so many ways.”
Growing up, he thought Cyborg was a “funny character but he didn’t resonate with me.” Live action heroes did, however. “I remember watching Wesley Snipes as Blade,” he says. “I watched Michael Jai White as Spawn. I even watch Shaquille O’Neal as Steel. I felt like seeing a physical representation, a non-cartoon representation affected me in a much different way.”
Although he didn’t read comic books growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, Fisher says he was a huge fan of the animated series and movies.
“It wasn’t until I booked the role of Cyborg that I was sent literally everything Cyborg-related from DC comics. I was able to fall in love with the original iteration of Cyborg from the Teen Titans. For me to be able to bring the character into the same sphere as the shows and the animated series I loved as a kid is coming full circle.”
Fisher, who made a name for himself playing Muhammad Ali in the Off-Broadway production of Fetch Clay, Make Man says he hopes his take on the character will make an impression on DC fans.
“Hopefully it resonates with people in a positive way,” he says. “I think there is definitely a message behind Cyborg that is needed for people to hear and what he represents and the resilience of the human spirit. I hope it means as much to people watching it as it meant to me to do it.”
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