Casting Psylocke: Jamie Cheung


Jamie Cheung wants to play Psylocke on the big screen. Who’s Psylocke, you might say? Her ↓

People may be more familiar with Psylocke in this costume (by artist Jerome Opeña):

The telepathic/telekinetic ninja known as Psylocke (aka Elizabeth Betsy Braddock) is a long time member of the Uncanny X-Men. She is also a character with a long, convoluted, and racist history which you can read about here (a writer should not just change the race of a character without at least acknowledging the new set of hardships and difficulties they would face. White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Aboriginal…the individual identities forged by people are informed by their race. The privilege accorded to a white woman would not be granted to an Asian woman, and to not acknowledge this is to sweep the issue under the rug as if other races experience life in the same way as white people. They don’t. There are also class-based issues surrounding her character given that she had an upper class upbringing). 

In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Cheung discusses her role in the upcoming movie Big Hero 6, and her love of the X-Man Psylocke:

Now, we talked about Disney love. Did you have a special affinity for anything Marvel?

Oh, I mean come on! As a kid, Marvel Comics was the only thing that I collected with my sister. We loved it so much that we — in terms of taking care of the comic books, we never wanted to read them, we just kept them in their plastic sleeves. If we wanted to read one special one… Remember when Superman died, they sold — well, that’s DC, I know! — but in terms of comic books, whenever they were sealed from the manufacturer, we would buy two, one to read and one to keep in the sleeve. But growing up, “X-Men” was my favorite Marvel property. It was Wolverine and Cyclops. I’ve always wanted to play a Jubilee or a Storm or a Jean Grey, the Phoenix series was amazing, and I was so intrigued with Mystique. But ultimately I thought the coolest character was Psylocke. I really wanted to be Psylocke.

And there’s not really been a definitive film version of Psylocke.

No. Hopefully they’ll bring her into something. But I think the fans — I kind of put it out in the universe, and the fans, some are like, “Oh my God, that would be amazing.” And the other fans are like, “No, that’s so wrong casting. She needs to be British. She needs to be this and that!” And so I just put it out there for fun.

Based on appearance, I can completely see Cheung playing Psylocke (and if it ever comes to pass, I hope they tweak her origin to eliminate her white, English roots, or barring that, they address the change in ethnicity in a respectable manner).

This is one of my favorite quotes from her, one which encapsulates much of her character:

I tell myself that if I do it… If I do take lives in the course of doing what’s right… Then at least it means other people won’t have to. Like I’m… Like I’m saving innocent souls. But that’s a lie. That’s lazy guilt-dodging bollocks. The truth is this: I rejoined X-Force because I couldn’t bear to stay away. My name is Elizabeth Braddock, and I’m an addict.

Casting Psylocke: Jamie Cheung