The bright young cast of ‘Fantastic Four’ should have no problem bouncing back from the fantastic fiasco this film has become. But heads have to roll as Fox seeks to lose, according to current estimates, around $100 million, and right now the noggin in question belongs to troubled director Josh Trank. Though the movie has been pounded with nasty rumors since it was announced, both Trank and Fox have actively sought to laugh them off. It didn’t work. As the movie was due to open, the internet was already bursting with speculation on just how bad it would be and how badly it would crash.
Then came the tweet.
Apparently beaten down by all the scrutiny and hostile speculation, Trank, perhaps in a moment of weakness, attempted to set the record straight on Twitter:
The tweet was quickly deleted, but the damage was done. After early reviews tore ‘Fantastic Four’ apart, Trank seemed determined to cut it loose like an anchor in an effort to salvage his still blossoming career, which ironically really kicked off with the low-budget super hero deconstruction ‘Chronicle’ (also starring Michael B. Jordan).
It’s no secret that the film was hastily re-edited and scenes were reshot at the last minute without Trank’s involvement. Fox apparently wanted a more action-packed climax. Ironically, critics have pointed at the ending as being incongruous with the rest of the movie, pointing to it as one of the movie’s biggest flaws. Does this in some way vindicate Trank’s tweet? In a fair world, perhaps it ought to, but at this time it doesn’t look like that will happen.
When Trank was offered ‘F4,’ Fox didn’t give him any limitations, which was probably a mistake given that he’d only helmed one small movie previously and before that hadn’t really had any directorial aspirations. In a series of tweets, ‘Chronicle’ writer Max Landis described having to convince Trank to take the job.
The result was a gifted, but inexperienced auteur suddenly drowning in the added studio involvement and responsibility of a major franchise. Fox soon grew worried as Trank began requesting huge changes repeatedly through the development process. And friction didn’t stop there.
Trank attributed a desire to return to smaller, more personal projects as the reason that he was no longer directing the Kinberg-scripted ‘Star Wars’ anthology film to which he’d been attached, but rumors from various unrelated sources revealed the tumultuous conditions on the ‘F4’ set. His behavior toward the cast and crew was described as alternately isolated and hostile. He didn’t seem to offer much in the way of guidance or vision.
Though these rumors were denied, Trank’s tweet certainly seems to reinforce his reputation for being erratic. And it may have ultimately sealed his fate in Hollywood.
The conflict is that Trank’s tweet essentially “bites the hand that feeds him.” Trank did his best to dispell the negative rumors… but so did Fox which continued to sing his praises even while they had to notice the downward trajectory this film had going into its opening. But now? Consider these wagons uncircled. No more happy face for the public.
Still playing nice, however is Kinberg who said this on the subject:
“What I do think we had was a very young director making a very big movie. And a director that, for whatever reason, people were either rooting against or his personality troubled the press. So it just got viewed differently than any other movie that’s a tough movie. We came in on schedule, under budget, [with] a movie that was pretty true to the original intent of the film. Whether people like it or not, it was his vision, which was a more grounded, a much more real version of Fantastic Four. Was it an easy production? No. Was it harder than a lot of the movies I’ve been on? No. But I may also have a higher threshold. I think there was something about Josh’s identity that made him a good target. I’m not sure what that is.”
For those still concerned about ‘Fantastic Four’, the question lingers as to what exactly was Trank’s version of the film? Just how different was it from what audiences got? Would his original intent have made a difference and salvaged this mess?
We’ll never know. After this debacle, don’t expect a director’s cut on BluRay.
Did Trank kill his own career? Or can he recover and deliver on the promise he showed with ‘Chronicle’? What do you think his next step should be?
Source: Entertainment Weekly