From the get-go, Josh Trank had one heck of an uphill battle with the “Fantastic Four” reboot. At this point, the filmmaker could be sitting on one of the best comic book movies of all time, but that’s not what most prospective audiences see. When a fan hears someone say “Fantastic Four,” all that crosses their minds are Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and the lackluster Dr. Doom fights at the end of the previous two films. Cartoony and childish are perhaps some other words they think of. Ask any casual fan about their thoughts, and if they have reservations, they’re likely to tell you it has more to do with the previous movies being so bad than has to do with how the new one looks.
This thought process was no surprise to director Josh Trank, who took on the unenviable role of adapting the franchise to the big screen.
“I knew it was going to get ugly.” Trank told the LA Times. “But I think there’s a part of me that needs adversity from the rest of the world in order to feel motivated to want to prove people wrong.”
Trank only stirred up even more trouble when he opted to cast a black actor, Michael B. Jordan, in a role typically reserved a white actor. The fan reaction is exactly what they’d expected, Jordan reflects.
“We knew people would react the way they are reacting. I’ve gotten so much love from many people who are on board with the idea.”
According to the LA Times, this casting choice was an attempt on Trank’s time to reflect our modern society—while still staying true to the overall spirit of the comics.
“You can’t just keep telling a story the same way over and over again. And I think it only helps the world to be more honest with young kids, to show them the world they go walk outside and see.”
One other aspect of the film that Trank is bringing out is the whole “body horror” aspect. Back when the “Fantastic Four” originally came out back in 1961, one of the more interesting parts of the story was how someone like Ben Grimm (aka The Thing), while part of the superhero team, was something of a “monster.” Of the other team members, he was the one most affected by his power, and constantly sought to change back to his old self. Trank looked to focus on this aspect of the story in a bold new way, and that’s what interested producer Simon Kinberg from the get-go.
“What hooked me was Josh’s idea of what the honest reaction would be if you suddenly didn’t have control over your body anymore—if you were uncontrollably on fire or invisible or were a rock creature. That just seemed so original in a genre that it’s hard to be original in.”
In a sense, this idea is almost something of a return to the original spirit more than anything else. This emphasis on body horror is also something that’s somewhat analogous to growing up. Trank’s own personal experiences almost seem like the perfect reflection of what the characters in “Fantastic Four” are going through—especially in his interpretation.
"When I was in middle school and high school, I was over 100 pounds overweight," he said. "I had a condition called gynecomastia — I had really big man boobs — and I got a surgery for it. My whole adolescence was hating myself and feeling suicidal. I was made fun of by a lot of other kids in such a way that I didn't feel like I was human. “
But regardless of any intentions, it’s what shows up on screen that matters most. Trank definitely understands that, and the rabid fan base he’s up against. This is already a franchise riddled with problems, and many are ready to jump on it at a moment’s notice. Trank’s leaving of the “Star Wars Anthology” was another one of those instances in which doubt crept into the hearts of fans, who are adamant that the poor quality of the “Fantastic Four” film was one of the reasons he left.
“I made every single choice knowing that people would question it. And what better reaction than to have people go to see the movie and understand it and feel like maybe they’ve learned something about the world, not question the next thing they think is going to be stupid or weird. I think that’s my purpose right now in life.”
“Fantastic Four” hits theaters on August 7, 2015. Are you looking forward to it, or is this another train wreck in the making?
Source: LA Times