All smiles, but no questions, please

Although unexpected, a cast member of Marvel's Iron Fist from Netflix broke out with some Singlish words during their press meet. They also spoke of the casting process and lead actor Finn Jones gave an update on The Defenders series.ST VIDEO
The cast of Iron Fist (from far left) Finn Jones, Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup at the press event yesterday.
The cast of Iron Fist (from left) Finn Jones, Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup at the press event yesterday.ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM

The Singapore media were not allowed to ask the cast of Marvel's Iron Fist any questions, at the press conference to promote the superhero series

It is not as though the new Netflix superhero series Marvel's Iron Fist needed more brickbats.

The show featuring a Caucasian who is highly skilled in Asian martial arts has been accused of committing cultural appropriation, as well as being plain awful.

Yesterday, a poorly handled "press conference" held in Singapore to promote the show left the local media fuming after they were not allowed to ask any questions.

Actor Finn Jones, who plays the lead character, and supporting cast members Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey attended the event with Iron Fist creator and showrunner Scott Buck.

The ban at the press event was presumably to protect them against tough questions.

But The Straits Times asked a question anyway, despite attempts to stop it: How do they deal with bad reviews?

Jones, 29, said: "From what I'm experiencing, people have been loving the show. From the people that I see on the street, there's been a hugely, overwhelmingly positive response from the fans and I'm very grateful for that."

Iron Fist, which is adapted from a Marvel comics series, has a 17 per cent approval rating on rottentomatoes.com and a score of 37 on metacritic.com.

Variety said: "Not one element of this plodding piece works. The action scenes lack spark, snap, and originality. None of the flat, by-the-numbers characters makes any lasting impression. And as origin stories go, the tale of Danny Rand, at least as rendered by this creative team, is about as exciting as a slice of Velveeta cheese left out in the sun too long."

Jones plays the role of Danny, who was presumed to have died in a plane crash at 15. Not only did he survive, but he also becomes a martial arts expert who is able to call on the power of the Iron Fist.

Fifteen years later, he returns to New York to find that his childhood friends Joy (Stroup) and Ward Meachum (Pelphrey) are less than thrilled to see him back.

While doing press in the United States, Jones and actress Jessica Henwick, who plays Rand's ally, have had to talk about whether a white gongfu superhero - and one mangling the pronunciation of Mandarin words at that - amounted to the misappropriation of elements of Asian culture. But here, the two emcees hosting the event lobbed soft questions and steered clear of anything negative or controversial.

Jones said: "I love the comics, they're really beautifully written. I like the fantasy and mystical elements and they go there a lot more.

"I've got a huge stack of them at the end of my bed and, every now and again, when I go to sleep, I would just grab one."

Unfortunately, the local press did not get a chance to ask him if he found the narrative problematic.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2017, with the headline 'All smiles, but no questions, please'. Print Edition | Subscribe