Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
Arriving in theaters just this past weekend, Fantastic Four is now the worst reviewed Marvel comics adaptation ever. The future of the franchise is uncertain even though the studio is staying committed to the franchise and characters, if only to keep from hurting the movie even more.
So the big question, especially after director Josh Trank distanced himself from the final cut of the movie on Twitter, is what went wrong with Fantastic Four? There has been a lot of digging into the behind the scenes drama during the production of Fantastic Four, and it’s clear that there were plenty of problems from both Trank and the studio.
In addition, a look back at the footage released in trailers and behind the scenes featurettes shows that plenty of edits and cuts were made to the movie, resulting in the cut that Trank is clearly unhappy with. Learn more about the Fantastic Four cuts and problems after the jump!
First of all, let’s look at some of the chatter that has emerged as far as how director Josh Trank and executives at 20th Century Fox clashed during the making of the movie. Entertainment Weekly has been digging into the matter and have learned some details that indicated both Trank and the studio made mistakes that may have resulted in the movie that few seem to enjoy.
Josh Trank’s Behavior
Trank has had some dirt dug up on him regarding his behavior on the set of Fantastic Four, not to mention off the set where he was staying in Louisiana, as well as clashing in the editing room (which he was rumored to be locked out of) of the comic book adaptation. But that was all denied by Trank as he told The LA Times:
“None of those facts were true – and any of the facts that were true were spun in such a maliciously wrong way. If you ask anybody by name who I’ve worked with, from Simon to [producer] Hutch [Parker] or my crew or anybody else, they’d be like, ‘We’ve been working really hard on this movie and we’ve had an excellent time working together,’” he said. “It’s been a challenging movie — for all of the right reasons.”
But it was enough to get Trank removed from the Star Wars Anthology film in development, even though Trank also denies that, after Lucasfilm did some digging and found substantial enough evidence to prove that Trank was a risk they weren’t willing to take. The question is why was Trank behaving like this?
Clashing with the Studio
Some sources speaking to EW are saying that Trank was “driven to the breaking point” by the studio, and his behavior resulted from clashes with Fox production president Emma Watts. Some individuals have said that the studio was delaying casting and script approvals, cutting the budget from what was promised during development and making script changes just before the movie was about to shoot.
Supposedly the studio was having a hard time trying to save a movie that didn’t seem to have been all that well put together from the beginning, at least from their perspective. Clashes spanned from having a multitude of producers like Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn and Fox’s production chief Hutch Parker to a casting fight about who should play the four main roles. Trank wanted Miles Teller as Reed Richards, but the studio disagreed and lost that fight. However, Fox did win their fight to have Kate Mara cast as Sue Storm, and Trank responded to that loss by being cruel and cold to the actress, depending on who you talk to.
Who’s to Blame?
There are those who have said that any of the problems Trank had with the studio are normal conflicts that you face when making a movie of this scale with a lot of money involved, and the director just didn’t know how to handle them. Some say that though Trank may be a good storyteller, he didn’t have the experience to properly manage the studio’s expectations and interference, something that’s normal in Hollywood, even on projects directed by the likes of proven talents like Steven Spielberg or J.J. Abrams. Others think the studio was taking advantage of Trank’s inexperience as a way to ignore his creative direction.
It’s clear there is a variety of viewpoints on where the problems with the film stem from, with some saying Trank was indecisive during pre-production to others saying the studio was going back and forth about the decisions he was making. But one thing is for certain, and that’s the script wasn’t finalized until late in pre-production, was always changing, and that’s why the ending of the movie had to be entirely reconfigured, which is why critics have said the end of the movie feels completely independent from the first two acts.
It’s this uncertainty of the story that resulted in confusion and stress from the beginning, which spread to the crew workers who were just trying to build sets, costumes and props, unsure of what they needed to do, with department heads unable to get their job done without being sure where the movie was going.
If you want to read more about the drama behind the scenes of Fantastic Four, I recommend reading Entertainment Weekly’s entire article about the matter with tons more information right here.
On the next page, we take a look at some shots from trailers and featurettes that didn’t make it into the theatrically released version of the movie, including one sequence that would have utilized the Fantasticar.