Or, “The List of Doom that keeps on Growing”
I’ll be honest, I’m completely fascinated by the waves of reports chronicling the behind-the-scenes turmoil on the recent disaster we know as the reboot of Fantastic 4.
Yes, I really wish every film could be a knockout and take no pleasure in a film’s repeated embarrassment. But my god, the juice flowing from this particular kill is more dramatic and harrowing than movie surrounding it!
At very least, this Tinseltown story is a particularly revealing lesson in pride and vanity that helps illuminate why the film we have now is such a train wreck.
Therefore, I have compiled a list of the most recent reports surrounding the tumultuous making of Fantastic 4. And to address the headline of this piece, the answer is almost immediately.
- Fox was eager to embrace director Josh Trank’s gloomy and gritty version of F4 “that was almost the opposite of previous versions”, as they thought he could deliver on the new vision.
- Sources confirm that the film was made for exactly the reason you think it was: to keep the rights from going back to Marvel, resulting in several rewrites and delays.
- A crewmember reported to The Hollywood Reporter that “the movie was ill-conceived, made for the wrong reason and there was no vision behind the property.”
- This person would go on to say that the studio’s fear of losing the rights was the main concern and that they “pressed forward and didn’t surround [Trank] with help or fire him. They buried their heads in the sand.”
- Some of the supposed scrambling beforehand included slashing the budget, delaying casting and script approvals and axing three key action set-pieces just days before filming started.
- This is at least partially attributed as a reason for the reportedly aggressive and hostile attitude Trank displayed while filming. Trank “holed up in a tent and cut himself off from everybody,” says THR’s source.”He built a black tent around his monitor… he would go to his trailer and he wouldn’t interact with anybody.”
- This also resulted in a highly-publicized dispute between the landlord of a Louisiana home Trank was renting and the director. Upwards of $100,000 worth of damage was levied at Trank.
- Trank’s handling of the darker tone was criticized by those behind the scenes.”During takes, he would be telling [castmembers] when to blink and when to breathe. He kept pushing them to make the performance as flat as possible.”
- The director’s attitude reportedly caused plenty of conflict between him and the cast. Michael B. Jordan starring was agreed upon by both parties but the studio wanted someone other than Miles Teller for Reed Richards. Trank got his way but the two still ended up in what was described as a “mutually disdainful relationship” (they don’t like each other). Kate Mara was a casting choice of the studio’s and Trank was reported to have treated her badly. Another instance of the director and cast not getting along.
- There was a sentiment after filming that very little of what Trank turned in was salvageable. Most troubling was the absence of an actual ending. It was here that X-Men writer Simon Kinberg and producer Hutch Parker had to step in and retool much of the film.
- The ending was mostly done in reshoots despite several of the cast members being unavailable. Most of the scenes were filmed months later in L.A. against a greenscreen with Teller being the only reported cast member in attendance, the rest being filmed with CG, stand-ins and stunt doubles.
- Trank was present for the reshoot but was essentially put in the corner (“neutralized by committee”).
- Days before the film’s release, Trank said this on Twitter:
- While it was deleted just nine minutes after being posted, the timing of this tweet and the already sour mood towards the film proved disastrous for Fox. It is reported that this tweet lost the studio an estimated $10 million on opening weekend.
- Apparently Trank wasn’t too down on the film a few days before opening. The director emailed the cast and crewmembers saying that F4 was “better than 99 percent of comic book movies ever made.” One cast member perfectly replied, “I don’t think so.”
- Despite the embarrassing opening weekend gross of $26 mill (it was originally predicted at $46 mill) and even-more crushing critical reaction (9 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the worst reviewed Marvel movie ever), Fox are sticking their collective heads in the sand again and forging ahead with a sequel to the film. I mean, you can’t have the rights revert to a group that might make a good movie in less than four attempts.
- A release date of June 9, 2017 was announced a while ago but that date looks highly unlikely now, and may be used for a rumored Deadpool sequel instead.
- Trank will not be involved with the supposed sequel (duh) and was also dropped from involvement with one of the Star Wars spinoff films earlier this year due to his behavior.
- There is no word yet on the story, direction or cast situation with the sequel, minus some rumblings of X-Men director Bryan Singer being courted to helm the film.
Clearly there’s a lot of fault on both sides, as this was a project with a lot of cooks n the kitchen. However, given what we know now, the story is shaping up to look more and more like the studio cut lots corners on a dispassionate legal project and ended up with a worst-case scenario with Trank’s direction and attitude.
Whose side are you on? Is this Fox’s fault for being stubborn and not caring enough? Or did the director’s lackluster ideas and terrible behavior tank the film?