Two long years after Warner Bros. announced New Gods — a film adaptation of Jack Kirby's big book experiment for DC Comics — fans may have uncovered the first star attached to the movie. And they're an acting heavyweight with serious accolades to their resume.
What Happened? — On Saturday, a fan-run Brazillian Twitter account for DC, @_DCBRASIL, discovered that a locked, secret Twitter account, @newgodswb which may be reserved for New Gods is following celebrated actress Kathy Bates.
Originally in Portuguese, the tweet reads in English via Google Translate: "In addition to Ava DuVernay and Tom King the alleged New Gods account also follows actress Kathy Bates. Could she be Grandma Kindness?"
You can bet "Grandma Kindness" to be a goof in A.I. translation. It is certain @_DCBRASIL is referring to Granny Goodness, a menacing villain in Jack Kirby's mythology. Further evidence to support Bates' possible casting as Granny Goodness is that director Ava DuVernay has tweeted about "taking some notes" on fan castings, which have often made mention of Bates as a candidate to play Granny Goodness.
Who Is Granny Goodness? — Contrary to what her name suggests, Granny Goodness is anything but milk and cookies. In Jack Kirby's New Gods mythology, Granny Goodness is the ruthless figurehead of Darkseid's training facility on his planet Apokolips. On that sulfur and brimstone hell world, she employs brainwashing and violent torture to transform children into fanatical soldiers in Darkseid's army.
Two of her students were Scott Free (who later took on the superhero name Mister Miracle) and Big Barda (a star pupil destined to lead the Female Fury Battalion until she fell in love with Scott). The two team up, rebel against Darkseid, and reject Granny Goodness' influence over them.
The character Granny Goodness was envisioned by Kirby as a sort of parody on abusive orphanages. In his 2011 book Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, comics scholar Charles Hatfield said that Granny was "a monstrous parody of motherhood, perversely alternating between cream-puffery … and despotic 'discipline.'"
Why Kathy Bates is a popular choice for Granny — Besides the fact Kathy Bates is a decorated thespian with numerous accolades to her name, including the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the 1991 psychological thriller Misery, Bates has a visible and tangible intensity that would be perfect for Granny Goodness.
It doesn't take much to see why Bates is worthy to wield Granny's mega-rod. You could watch her Oscar-winning performance in Misery, where she plays the rabid fan of a romance novelist she kidnaps to force him to write a sequel to her favorite book. Or you could pick any of her roles in the FX horror anthology American Horror Story; a stand out is Bates' performance as real-life serial killer Delphine LaLaurie, a New Orleans socialite who tortured and killed slaves in her home.
Spend just a few minutes watching either Misery or American Horror Story and it becomes abundantly clear just how suited Bates is to play controlling, sadistic individuals whose outward appearance as harmless women only emphasizes the inhumanity of their actions.
The Inverse Analysis — It would be wise not to place too much stock into a locked Twitter account that has a vaguely official handle and is following creative talent attached to New Gods. Although the @newgodswb Twitter is, in fact, following Ava DuVernay, writer Tom King, and Kathy Bates, that is no confirmation that Bates is playing Granny Goodness in New Gods nor is it confirmation that the account is any way official.
Still, it is promising that Ava DuVernay has allegedly observed popular fan-castings for New Gods, because fans recognize just what kind of performance Bates could deliver as a sadistic, elderly supervillain. Let's just hope those in charge recognize that potential too.
There is no release date for New Gods.