Fantastic Four director Josh Trank believes all the rumors and backlash surrounding his 2015 flop were largely unfair. Fox had high hopes when it decided to reboot the Fantastic Four in a new film, and those hopes only increased when they hired Trank for the director’s position. Trank had just released Chronicle, another film focused on superpowered young people that received excellent reviews and put Trank on the top of many studios’ wish lists. Right from the start, Trank was uninterested in creating a superhero film like The Avengers, instead choosing a different approach for Fantastic Four. However, Fox wasn’t thrilled with Trank’s vision, and what ensued was a difficult production that featured extensive reshoots.
When Fantastic Four was actually released, it was slammed with scathing reviews and an extremely disappointing box office run. Almost in response to the inevitable backlash, Trank sent out a tweet just ahead of the film’s release that seemed to allude to Fox’s controlling behavior, as well as his original version that he believed “would’ve received great reviews.” Trank’s tweet was only the tip of the iceberg for the number of stories that would abound regarding Fantastic Four‘s performance.
Now, nearly five years later, Trank reflected on his experience with Variety and said he feels “there was a deep level of mischaracterization in the media about what was going on with the film.” When reports emerged about Fantastic Four‘s set problems, they painted Trank in an extremely unfavorable light. Now Trank has offered a different perspective on those stories, saying, “For me, it was unfair because the perception publicly was that there was one person responsible for this not going the way it should have gone, which is an easy thing to believe.” That one person he was referring to was himself.
Trank went on to say the things he read in the media were not how he remembered it, insisting they drew a poor picture. One of the biggest issues when it came to Fantastic Four, according to Trank, was that “I was communicating ideas that didn’t mesh well with everybody else’s.” He was quick to add, very diplomatically, “That’s not their fault and it’s not my fault. It was the wrong combination of people to get together and make something creative.” Trank’s work on the film led to him stepping away from Disney’s Star Wars Boba Fett spin-off and swearing off directing for a while.
This week will see the release of Trank’s first film since Fantastic Four, the Tom Hardy-starring Capone. Trank seems far more pleased with how that film turned out, which certainly is a good thing. It can’t be denied that the backlash to Fantastic Four was strong and left a lasting impression that extends into today. Regardless of one’s feelings on the film, it does seem like the narrative surrounding the film spun out of control, and it’s refreshing now to hear Trank’s side of the story. Whether it will improve people’s perception of Fantastic Four remains to be seen, but at least now Trank is moving on to something better.