After the initial shock of how truly terrible the reboot for ‘Fantastic Four’ was, fans rightfully began to wonder how this could have happened. If you were to ask director Josh Trank, the fault lies with 20th Century Fox. In a now-deleted tweet from the filmmaker, he claimed that he had a “fantastic version of this [film]” that would never see the light of day because of the studio. However, rumors circulated during production that Trank may have bit off more than he could chew. Paired with the news that he had been let go from a Star Wars Anthology film because of his work on FF, things didn’t bode well for the up and coming talent. Now, more details have emerged from the set regarding Trank’s behind the scenes behavior that tells us that the blame for the quality of the movie shouldn’t completely go to Fox.
According to sources at The Hollywood Reporter, Trank’s erratic behavior started even before anyone got to set. In an email to select cast members, he proclaimed that ‘Fantastic Four’ would be “better than 99 percent of the comic-book movies ever made”. Clearly seeing that the film wasn’t all that, someone replied to his message with, “I don’t think so.” From there, reports of his actions got more extreme. When production actually started, the director apparently refused help once it became clear that he wouldn’t be delivering adequate material to salvage the film:
“He holed up in a tent and cut himself off from everybody. He built a black tent around his monitor. He was extremely withdrawn. [He] would go to his trailer and he wouldn’t interact with anybody.”
The situation got worse as he tried to push the gloomy tone of the film onto stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell. Trank started to micromanage every little action made by his cast to an alarming degree:
“During takes, he would be telling [cast members] when to blink and when to breathe. He kept pushing them to make the performance as flat as possible.”
As I said though, Trank cannot take the full blame. A crew member went on to say that the whole movie was “ill-conceived, made for the wrong reasons, and there was no vision behind the property.” The studio refused to let the film rights revert to Marvel Studios, but they would do very little to save the already sinking ship of ‘Fantastic Four’:
“[They] were afraid of losing the rights so they pressed forward and didn’t surround [Trank] with help or fire him. They buried their heads in the sand.”
Although, they didn’t completely wash their hands of the situation right away. At one point Fox considered bringing in a young “in-house director” that has the potential to be the next J.J. Abrams to replace Trank. However, that wouldn’t exactly be the most enticing offer for any rising filmmakers:
“How do you ask someone to take over half of a movie shot by someone else? You either hire somebody desperate for work or you [start over], write off pretty much the whole budget and lose the cast.”
Amidst these reports surfacing, Trank has hired pitbull laywer Marty Singer to be his advocate during this whole situation. Neither Trank nor Singer have commented on these allegations, but maybe Singer can at least keep the filmmaker from tweeting more of his spur of the moment thoughts on his massive sophomore flop.
It really is too bad about the whole thing. Trank had such a promising career ahead of him. If he had just kept his mouth shut, ‘Fantastic Four’ would have faded into obscurity and he’d get back on his feet eventually. But now with that tweet and these reports, it will likely be hard for companies to commit to working with him in the future. But regardless of what happens to him, Fox unfortunately still has plans for Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and the Thing. True Believers hoping that Marvel’s First Family will finally return home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe shouldn’t hold their breath. Instead, sit back and watch as this situation has the potential to get pretty ugly.
What do you think about the reports about Josh Trank’s erratic behavior on the set of ‘Fantastic Four’? Do you think that the project was doomed (pun intended) from the start? Sound off in the comments.