What a debacle.
Fantastic Four is fast becoming a well-known example of what can happen when all the pieces don’t fit on a Hollywood production.
The estimated $122 million-budgeted film has made around $64 million worldwide since its release roll-out began on August 5, a very poor draw magnified by the abysmal reception the film has been afforded.
Now, it’s time for the blame game. Director Josh Trank and Fox are going at it, pointing fingers at who is ultimately responsible for Fantastic Four‘s disastrous journey thus far.
Early word was that director Josh Trank’s “erratic” and “very isolated” behaviour on-set was a key issue. Basically, many accused the director of being in over his head. The fact that he was then gone from the Star Wars anthology film he was to direct, which he put down to wanting “to do something that’s below the radar,” didn’t help matters.
Then, just as Fantastic Four was being released, Trank released a tweet separating himself from the film hitting cinemas. The tweet read: A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though.
Trank removed his tweet quickly, but, according to a new report by THR, his attempt to distance himself from the project “enraged 20th Century Fox executives.”
The plan to make a Fantastic Four film that told a smaller, serious, and more intimate story was actually one that Fox was completely behind. A THR source says Fox wanted a “grounded, gritty version of Fantastic Four that was almost the opposite of previous versions” and another source says Trank pushed the lead cast members, which includes Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, to help deliver a darker tone.
“During takes, he would be telling [castmembers] when to blink and when to breathe,” the source said. “He kept pushing them to make the performance as flat as possible.”
If these sources are to be believed, it turns out that Fox had “no vision behind the property” and “didn’t surround [Trank] with help or fire him,” choosing instead to turn a blind eye because they “were afraid of losing the rights.”
The studio had apparently wanted to groom Trank to become an “in-house” director, based off his successful found-footage film Chronicle, and basically hoped for the best despite reports of trouble.
The project began to wrap up in truly disappointing fashion, with the studio and producers deeply unhappy with the product coming to life. THR says Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker scrambled to come up with an ending, especially since cast members were no longer fully available and Kinberg’s hands also busy with X-Men: Apocalypse and Star Wars. Doubles were brought in, the production was relocated to L.A., Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods, World War Z) was reportedly hired to help come up with something, and Teller was brought back to film against a green screen.
“It was chaos,” THR cites a crewmember as saying. Trank was apparently present during these re-shoots, “but was neutralized by a committee.”
It’s a shame to learn of such a troubled journey for a film, especially one that, at least on paper, had strong potential to be another great entry in the increasingly crowded market of superhero films. The many sources cited by THR may or may not be telling whole truth, but it certainly helps to give some sort of understanding as to what could have happened here.
Ultimately, like I said in my review, the result speaks for itself.