Josh Trank experienced a real ordeal over the production of 4 Fantastic. The director struggled to overcome this failure, which he preferred to erase from his memory for a long time. The director even went so far as to delete Fantastic Four of his filmography. If the majority of spectators knew that the film had made a big flop, nobody really knew the ins and outs. It is with Polygon that Josh Trank confided in and returned to the different reasons that made the film a real box office failure. First, there was no trust with 20th Century Fox – the production studio at the time – who had clearly decided to direct writing and filming as he saw fit.
Initially, Josh Trank approached his friend Jeremy Slater to write the screenplay. Unfortunately, between them, everything did not go as planned: the scriptwriter knew perfectly the history of comics, Josh Trank not. Their way of seeing things was therefore very divergent and that posed problem: “the whole development of the Fantastic Four had to do with the tone of the film. We can take lots of comic things like names, faces, identities and stories, and put them together to create that tone. And I felt that the tone that interested Jeremy Slater absolutely did not interest me “. Jeremy Slater at least agreed on this point: “It didn’t matter if they were fighting against robots in Latvia, against aliens in the Negative Zone or the Mole-Man in central Manhattan: Josh just didn’t give a damn”. He abandoned the project because it was no longer compatible with it.
It was not the only factor that led to the failure of 4 Fantastic. According to Josh Trank, Fox ran the project as it saw fit, without consulting anyone. The studio would have reduced the budget by 30 million dollars, which did not allow the director to propose the grandiose end he had envisaged : “the end of the Fantastic 4 was going to set up in a very organic way the adventure, the oddity and the pleasure. This conclusion would have opened the continuation. Because obviously, the continuation would have presented the characters in a powerful way, with an adventure that lurks around every corner. But the first film had to be a metaphor for these characters crawling out of hell “. The studios then gave their approval to producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker who took over the project. Josh Trank was literally put on the side:“It was like being castrated. You are there, and you watch producers block scenes five minutes before you arrive (…) They decide on the construction of the plans and all that will happen. And then, because that they know you are nice, they pretend to be nice: ‘Does that sound good to you?’ You can say yes or no ‘”. If Joss Whedon (The Avengers) is led to reboot 4 Fantastic, we hope it will be better!
Finally, the director lived a complicated period: he had just lost his beloved dog and as a bonus, received numerous death threats since he cast Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. Hateful and racist comments were pouring out every day, which did not help Josh Trank’s paranoia : “I was a fucking paranoid during this shooting (…) If someone had entered my house, I would have stumbled upon it. When you tell yourself that people want your skin, you start to think that you have to defend yourself “. There are multiple reasons for the failure of 4 Fantastic. Whether they are considered by the public or not, we still complain a little Josh Trank. Fortunately, he has recovered from the hair of the beast with Capone, whose trailer has just been revealed!