This past weekend, Marvel President Kevin Feige got the internet buzzing again simply by saying two words towards the end of the Marvel Studios panel at Comic-Con: “Fantastic Four.”
Of course, he didn’t elaborate on where Marvel Studios might go with the classic Stan Lee-Jack Kirby superhero family that was thought to be the true start of the “Marvel Age of Comics” especially now that we’re officially into the “Marvel Age of Movies,” but the FF definitely offers a lot of opportunities of what Marvel can do with the group. (Personally, I think they should do an animated feature ala Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verseor a straight-up animated series like the ‘60s and ‘80s cartoons.)
Just a few days later, I had a chance to talk with actor Jamie Bell about his new drama Skin. As my interview was coming to a close, I decided to ask the actor about his stint playing Benjamin Grimm in Fox’s most recent attempt to make a Fantastic Four movie in 2015.
As some might remember, the movie directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle) and starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara andBell was not received well by the critics with an awful 9% Rotten Tomatoes score. (Kyle Pinion didn’t like it either didn’t like it either.) That led to it being one of the biggest superhero movie bombs of the 21stCentury, grossing $56 million, less than the two Tim Story-directed movies made their opening weekends. Who knows? That might have been the catalyst for Walt Disney Pictures swooping in and outright buying 20thCentury Fox so that Marvel could get that and other properties back under its aegis.
I’m sure Bell has been asked about this before, but he was very gracious in explaining his feelings on the project four years later.
“When you’re working on something, you’re so in the mix of what you need to be doing, you’re never really focused on the whole, and of course, everyone approaches everything with the best of intentions,” Bell told me. “I don’t know what really happened there. I think certainly from the picture I was given and from the actors that were employed and in the key positions on the crew, it felt like this could be something very groundbreaking and very different. I think that always was going to be something that was very different even from what the comic was. I think that alone was something that kind of turned people off, to be honest. I kind of liked that because I’m not a comic book geek in anyway so it didn’t feel like a sacrilege to move it away from something that already existed. I found the pitch quite interesting and certainly as an actor for the character, something again challenging and different, certainly for a big summer movie.”
“But then you set out to make something like that and you end up somewhere a little bit different for many, many different reasons,” he continued. “I think for all of us, it was extremely disappointing. We made a little family on that movie, and we thought we’re going to be doing this until we’re 35, and then in just one quick flurry, it’s over. No one starts out to make a film like that – it’s just [that] shit happens.”
Look for the rest of my interview with Jamie Bell later this week, as Skin opens in theaters and On Demand on July 26.