More so than any other comics-based film, the Josh Trank-helmed reboot of The Fantastic Four, has been a divisive prospect for fans. The veil of mystery and the lack of anything official emerging from production – not even a set photo – coupled with many out-of-context descriptions (ex: Doctor Doom is an angry blogger!) have led to much justified worry.
Tonight, Steve Weintraub over at Collider is finally pulling back the curtain a bit, as the site has released an interview with Trank and screenwriter Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past), where they discussed the secrecy surrounding the production, the recent re-shoots, and some of the visual influences that are imbued into the newest adventure of Marvel’s first family.
On whether the lack of any concrete information is a sign the movie has “issues”:
Trank: I think a lot of that stuff is stemming from the fact that we’ve consciously decided to not release anything official. This isn’t like The Avengers. Even when the first Avengers came out, there were four other movies that people were familiar with. The suits and the tone and the look and the feel. So they could release those things or drop them on Twitter. With Simon on the X-Men movies, there were other movies that came before the last X-Men movie so Bryan [Singer] could feel more confident in tweeting teases of what’s to come. But this movie, we really want the audience to have the proper reaction to this material seeing it for the first time. You’ve really got to put your best foot forward. You can’t just leak an image to strike up a conversation. You want people to see something that has thought behind it. And the teaser should do just that. With conversations online, you can’t really control it. In this day and age people have come to expect that artists are going to give everybody information on Twitter about what they’re doing, but not every artist is like that. I’m not really like that. If I was painting a picture I wouldn’t want to take a picture of a single paint stroke. I’d rather show people what it looks like when it’s done.
On setting The Fantastic Four apart from other superhero franchises:
Trank: I would say that the science fiction of it is a big thing that sets it apart from most of the other superhero genre films. I’m a huge David Cronenberg fan, and I always viewed Fantastic Four and the kind of weirdness that happens to these characters and how they’re transformed to really fall in line more with a Cronenberg-ian science fiction tale of something horrible happening to your body and [it] transforming out of control. And the potential for a hard sci-fi take on that material makes me really excited. I don’t really see that kind of potential and that kind of take being implemented on any of the other superhero movies that seem to be coming out in the next few years. Superhero movies have become a genre unto themselves and I didn’t really grow up on superhero movies. I grew up on genre movies before superhero was a genre. I don’t know if there are Blockbusters [the video chain] anymore, but there would probably be a superhero section. And this would fit more into the science-fiction, or horror, or even drama sections of the Blockbuster. And that’s just kind of the way I look at it. I want it to feel like it’s its own thing.
Kinberg: One thing that’s unique to it is that it’s always been about a family. Most comic book superhero movies are about a superhero protagonist or a superhero group. But they’re ever really exploring what it is to be family. And when I first read the comic that’s what was so compelling about it. I think the reason it’s endured this long, the powers are great, but the defining thing is the surrogate family. That’s something we really spent a long time talking about and putting into the film. I think that will differentiate us as well from all of the different superheroes and superhero groups out there.
Regarding any specific comic runs that this film is pulling from:
Kinberg: Yeah, I think The Ultimate Fantastic Four is probably our biggest influence because it’s the younger Fantastic Four. And a lot of the science specifics are there. And a lot of the means of transformation we took from those books. As you’ll see a little bit in the trailer and a lot in the movie, there are influences really from the beginning of what Kirby and Stan were doing in the 60’s all the way up into the present day. I’ve done it both ways from adapting a specific story-line like Days of Future Past or jumping off like in First Class and using more of the mythology of the characters without necessarily adhering to an existing plot line. This is an origin story in many regards and it is inspired by The Ultimate Fantastic Four as much as anything else.
And while they were tight-lipped about the plot, this is what Trank was willing to release insofar as story-specifics:
I would just say that this is a modern telling of how these four iconic characters came together and came to be.
Be sure to check out the entire interview on Collider, which goes into detail regarding casting for the new team and their discussion of what composer Phillip Glass (!!!) will be bringing to the production.
The Fantastic Four, which stars Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell, will be released on August 7th.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.