In an alternate dimension where Max Landis’s pitch for the ‘Fantastic Four‘ reboot had been accepted by Fox, with Landis writing the script, we might all be singing the praises of Josh Trank and the movie he made right now. Unfortunately for us, Landis’ pitch was rejected by the studio, and the man has chosen now to speak about what his ideas for the team would have been, despite the rather poor timing of making his opinion known when the studio and Trank are currently assigning blame for where the reboot went wrong. Of course, he might also be bitter that they also shot down his ‘Chronicle 2′ pitches, when he genuinely had some interesting ideas for where the series could go.
Anyway, here’s Landis’ quote on what his ‘Fantastic Four would have been like, which apparently was inspired in some way by ‘The Avengers,’ in that it would be a lot more character driven and about the team coming together, rather than all about the science and build-up as in the current incarnation of the film:
“My Fantastic Four was an on-the-run movie. It begins with their origin, which is an illegal Branson-esque space launch where they want to go see this thing. They become the biggest celebrities in the world, except then they wreck and they get these horrible powers. The government is hunting them and they split up, and you really get into the dynamics of these people as they’re learning to control their powers. So the origin takes place in the first two minutes and then you learn it’s a character movie. Avengers had just come out, and I wanted to present Fox’s superhero team so that any one of them could beat all of the Avengers, and any one of them could be the villain of an Avengers movie. Reed Richards is indestructible. Sue Storm can control light. Johnny Storm can burn hotter than the sun. The Thing is impossibly strong, and you can’t hurt him no matter what you do. I thought, what a cool idea, that these four friends have accidentally become gods.”
“I had Doctor Doom as a good guy, one of Reed’s college friends, and my whole movie he’s trying to find and help them but it wasn’t clear if he was good or bad—until the finale of the movie when you realize his connection to Reed, and that they’re best friends. The audience who knows Doctor Doom thinks he’s going to turn bad, but the movie ends with him saving them. And in the sequel he’s probably good, too. You know, you Sam Raimi-Spider-Man it—at the end of the sequel he gets all fucked up and shows up in the Doctor Doom armor. But then in the third movie he’s like, ‘What have you done to me?’”
All of which sounds way more interesting that what we actually got on screen, but perhaps it was Landis’ out of the box thinking that scared Fox in the first place. According to him, had they realized what he and Trank had in mind for ‘Chronicle,’ that movie would not have been made either:
“I don’t want to shit-talk Fox, but it really became clear that Chronicle is not a movie they would have made if they knew what they were making. So when I wrote the sequel to that movie, they said, ‘This is dark. Where is the aspirational fun stuff? This is a dark dramatic thriller about superheroes that’s found footage. No one’s going to want to see this.’”
As for his story ideas for the ‘Chronicle’ sequel that Fox has turned down, he gave us the following bits of what he wanted to do:
“In another Chronicle sequel pitch entitled Martyr, Landis focused on a new female character: Miranda, a schizophrenic villainess-in-the-making who faces off with reluctant superhero Matt after the death of her anarchist boyfriend. “There’s this really interesting moment where she’s turned into this supervillain, she has a mechanized suit—like a real thing they can build now that would cost $20 million, but if you’re a genius you can do it—and she’s totally insane, living in this house with garbage everywhere, filming herself and talking to the camera on drones like it’s her boyfriend” says Landis. “It’s one of my better scripts. It’s very dark. It’s not Chronicle. It has a much happier ending than Chronicle!”
And another pitch idea, that would have been much darker and involved time travel:
“The pals with secret super powers graduate from high school but then go on the lam across the world as government forces hunt them down. They discover a new power: the ability to manipulate time. “The end of the movie is the government descends on them, there’s this whole fight, it’s very scary, Andrew is killed. Matt is killed. Steve’s alone and he’s being closed in on by the government going, ‘This didn’t happen this way.’ The government’s going, ‘Put your hands in the air!’ Steve looks at the camera and goes, ‘This didn’t happen this way.’ And just like that, it rewinds to the beginning of the second act of Chronicle 2 and you see them being filmed by these French girls that they were hanging out with, and you see Steve go, ‘We’ve gotta go.’”
Of course, Landis might be speaking up now in defense of Josh Trank, who he worked with on ‘Chronicle,’ or he might just see an opportunity to vent some of his own frustrations with the studio now that the rest of the world is already hating on 20th Century Fox. What are your thoughts on his take on ‘Fantastic Four?’ Would it have been better than what we actually got? Or was the film doomed from the start (no pun intended). Let us know your opinion below!