‘Fantastic Four': Michael B. Jordan Talks Filming & Family Themes

Published 9 months ago by

Ultimate Fantastic Four cover Fantastic Four: Michael B. Jordan Talks Filming & Family Themes

Josh Trank’s upcoming comic book movie reboot The Fantastic Four has caused a frankly impressive amount of hubbub already, considering we haven’t yet seen so much as an official set photo. From the backlash over casting choices like Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell to rumors that Dr. Doom was going to be played by a woman (he’s not), this is one movie that just doesn’t seem capable of doing anything right in the eyes of some Marvel fans.

Admittedly Twentieth Century Fox’s Fantastic Four movies don’t have the best track record so far, but based on the talent behind the camera this reboot promises to be very different from what’s gone before. Director Josh Trank, who made his directorial debut with the stripped-down superpower sci-fi Chronicle, is behind the camera for Fantastic Four and the script was penned by Simon Kinberg, who also wrote the screenplay for Fox’s highest-grossing movie of the year so far, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Jordan and Bell will play Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, respectively, while Miles Teller and Kata Mara will play Reed Richards and Sue Storm. The latter casting choice raised the question of how Johnny and Sue Storm will be portrayed as brother or sister (since they’re being played by actors of different ethnicities), with the most likely explanation being that they will either be half-siblings or step-siblings, or that Sue was adopted by Johnny’s family. In a new interview with MTV, however, Jordan explained that there’s more to family than just sharing genes.

“One of the good things about the Fantastic Four is that everybody is different. And it’s like, sometimes family doesn’t always consist of your relatives or by blood. Sometimes your best friends can feel more like family than your cousins.

“I think everybody kind of has that same feeling. When you go through an accident together, when you go through a traumatic event, sometimes that brings you closer together. Yeah, everybody takes their time out to kind of deal with their own stuff, but at the end of the day, you shared a common experience together that you’re able to relate to.”

Kinberg has described the tone of Fantastic Four as being somewhere between Chronicle and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, and one of the key words that we’ve heard repeatedly in regards to the project is “grounded.” Sure enough, Jordan used it once again in the MTV interview, adding that Fantastic Four is “not your typical superhero film.” Rather than instantly donning costumes and taking up the mantle of superheroes, the younger versions of the characters are “more or less a bunch of kids that had an accident and we have disabilities now that we have to cope with.”

Michael B Jordan in Fruitvale Station Fantastic Four: Michael B. Jordan Talks Filming & Family Themes

The characters in Chronicle most definitely did not consider their newfound powers to be a disability, and that’s not the only difference between Trank’s first film and this one. For starters, Chronicle was produced for a mere $12 million and it’s safe to say that Fantastic Four has a little more money behind it. Jordan, who played the popular and high-achieving high schooler Steve in Chronicle, was asked whether being handed a bigger project like Fantastic Four has changed the way Trank approached the task of directing.

“Like Biggie said, ‘mo’ money, mo’ problems’. He hasn’t changed. I think he’s grown and matured, as we all have. Me and him, we’ve become closer friends, which makes it easier on set for us to talk to each other and explain what we’re feeling and how we’re going to approach these things and I think that’s very important.

“He’s more locked in and more focused on what he has to do, but he’s the same in all the ways that really matter. He’s still super creative and super collaborative and he knows what he wants. That’s very important. If you don’t really know what you want and you’re just kind of like ‘Oh, let’s see what happens,’ I think that’s the wrong approach for this project. I think he’s very specific, which is what we need.”

Trank’s focused vision doesn’t mean that the filmmaking has been rigid and strictly structured, however. Jordan explained that the script is constantly evolving due to the amount of moving parts and the need to adapt, which often involves “[making] decisions on the fly.” With such a demanding job, Jordan said that he hasn’t had much time to pay attention to the ongoing drama and backlash against the project, such as this week’s outcry over Mara’s (later amended) statement that the film would not be based on any particular arc from the comics.

Me personally, I block out that extra noise and I focus on the job I have to do,” Jordan replied when asked about the “uproar” over Mara’s comments. “It is an important film for all of us… We’re taking it seriously, taking a lot of risks. I think it’s going to pay off.”

Fantastic Four will arrive in theaters on June 19th, 2015.

Source: MTV

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  1. Actually pretty interested in this. Lookin forward to it.

  2. Chronicle absolutely ruled, so I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. It has become something of an joke, on the nerd rage sites, to repeatedly bash the casting announcements ever since they started. I not so secretly hope this film is incredible, for that reason alone.


  3. Oh you’re cool, great job making the first racial remark on this post, nice to know that some people still aren’t over the casting but what makes it worse is that you have to make a racist joke, I’m suprised they let an immature kid like you comment.

    • What’s funny is that Kofi made that exact comment when Jordan was first announced as playing Johnny so that remark (I refuse to call something as vulgar as that a joke) wouldn’t have to be said but alas, here we go again.

      As always, I’ll wait for the trailer and if it looks crap, I’ll call it but if it looks good, I’ll call that too.

      • You do realise there are many great trailers for rubbish films, right?

        • Honestly, I don’t. If I see a bad trailer, the finished movie turns out to be bad but if I see a trailer and like it, the film turns out to be pretty enjoyable.

          I seem to have some kind of weird yet cool power that so far, hasn’t let me down.

          • Bad trailers usually do equate to bad films. Though I personally have seen many great trailers to dreadful films.

            Man Of Steel, Indiana Jones 4, Star Wars prequels, Transformers to name a few. With choppy editing and some shibby music, you can make almost anything look good.

  4. Kind of hard to make the fantatic 4 interesting they are very 1 dimensional

    • I am guessing that you read somewhere that someone said the characters are one dimensional and you drank that whole pitcher of Kool-Aid. If you are going to make a statement like that, you could, at the very least, provide an example or two as to what in the world you are talking about. P.S. Reed Richards single-handedly defeated Galactus. The Thing went one-on-one with the Incredible Hulk. The Human Torch defeated Namor all by his lonesome. And The Invisible Girl is the most powerful of the 4. All very cool.

      • It all sounds cool but having read quite a few of their stories, I just couldn’t connect with any of it. I could relate to Reed’s intellect, Johnny’s hot-headedness and Ben’s sense of being unable to fit in at times but otherwise, the stories I read never really gave me the feeling that they’re well-rounded characters featuring in well-developed stories, it all just seemed a little one-dimensional to me.

        FF: The End was quite good and so was the Unthinkable arc but I only force myself to read them due to paying for a Marvel graphic novel collection that spans as much of the Marvel universe as possible.

        Can’t speak for the guy you replied to but for me, it’s cool defeating a god-like being but you need more than that to impress me and so far, I haven’t come across an FF story that’s managed to do that.

        • @ Dazz

          Don’t know if you have, but if not, you should read some of the stories from John Byrne’s FF run back in the 80s. Those were some of the best FF story arcs ever.

        • I can appreciate that. My hope is that Josh is not re-writing these characters from scratch, but rather “fleshing” them out. Ben Grimm always had that “never quit” or “nothing to lose” attitude that superseded his looks and even his brute strength. It is a value that has seemed to go by the wayside in modern times. I hope Josh exploits that.

  5. The way Jordan is talking, he makes it sound like Sue and Johnny aren’t even related; they’re just really close friends.

    • Where?

    • He said close friends who went through a traumatic experience together can become like a closer family than some families get (the military calls itself a “brotherhood” for that reason, that’s just one example).

      Which is right in a way because even with Sue and Johnny being related and then Reed becoming Johnny’s brother-in-law, Ben was still treated as family because they were always close and he was there with them when they got their powers. Ben was always the odd man out but was still treated as if he were part of the triumvirate of family members that make up the rest of the team.

      Hopefully my point is clear, not sure how else to explain it.

      • It’s true, but the other side of that is, that family is also the ones you can love and hate at the same time.

        In the comic books Johnny has always been a kinda juvenile and even obnoxious at times, but they’ve tolerated him because he is family. So maybe he’d never have been such a tight part of them group if he had only been a friend to one of them.

  6. Nice racist joke I’ve heard better at an Open House in a preschool room. Smh racists are only fooling themselves.
    How’d you like that burn joke? Better than yours, right?

  7. I am so ambivalent about this movie. I want to see a new take on the Fantastic Four succeed, even with the huge deviations from the source material. After all, FF has always been one of Marvel’s least popular comic book series.

    But with Kate Mara’s comments about not being a fan of comic books, and being encouraged not to read the books, plus Michael B Jordan’s earlier offhand remark that “people will come see it anyway”. Now on top of that, Johnny and Sue won’t be related? And “the script is constantly evolving” and they are “making decisions on the fly”… like, what the hell is going on with this film?

      • Do you want to bet about “people going to see it anyway”? Even a propperly made FF movie would have problems to become a huge success. This crap will have problems to recover the money invested.

        • But you still agree that people will go and see it? Only, the film would have to make literally zero money and with nobody attending a single screening of the film to negate that whole “people will go see it anyway” comment.

          Even amongst the naysayers, there are those who will never have the guts to stand by their decisions and will watch the film down the road “just to see if it sucks as much as I thought it would” (don’t worry, we’ve all been there, I did it with that god-awful Robocop film a few months back and regret doing so after being so adamant about never watching it).

    • The failure of a film begins long before it is even released. The failure of a film begins when the director disregards, disrespects, or just doesn’t care about his or her audience. Josh believes his vision is better than Stan Lee’s vision. It may very well be a great movie, but it won’t be the Fantastic 4, and for that reason, it will fail.

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Totally agree.

      • So J. Michael Stravinski (sorry, might be spelling it wrong) and Brian Michael Bendis “didn’t care” either due to believing their vision was better than Stan’s when they wrote the books?

        Sounds like you’re being pedantic just to take the opposing side with no real argument against what Josh Trank is doing. Or do you not take issue when Joss Whedon believes in his vision of the characters enough to go with his own ideas rather than follow the Stan Lee formula?

        • It seems to me that Joss Wheddon follows pretty much Stan Lee´s formula…

          • Apart from Ultron being created by Stark instead of Pym, which a lot of people have complained about.

    • @Rey0208

      “After all, FF has always been one of Marvel’s least popular comic book series.” Dude you couldn’t be farther from the truth. While the book has fallen out of favor these days, the Fantastic Four was one of Marvel’s best selling titles for many years. People forget that ass popular as the X-men are now, the title was all but canceled for around 5 years when old stories were reprinted and sold as new issues.

      As far as comments made by Jordan and Mara go, the only people that care are the 1% of movie goers that actually read movie blogs and message boards. The vast majority of movie goers are not comic book fans nor do they read the blogs and message boards. Case in point, while comic book fans and nerds were up in arms over the Manderine twist in IM, the movies was on it’s way to $1.2 at the world wide box office. As hard as it is to accept, we’re all part of that 1% that doesn’t matter to the success of a movie as much as we’d like to think.

  8. I actually have high hopes for this movie given the talent involved, but here’s a crazy idea; let’s wait until we actually see a trailer or god forbid the actual film before we start declaring it a disaster. I mean let’s be honest, there is almost zero percent chance it could be worse than the 2 “Fantastic 4″ movies we’ve gotten before. Be happy about that at least.

    • couldn’t have said it better myself. people need to stop passing judgement so early. no photos or footage has even been released yet. I have a feeling this will be a really good movie. whether it’ll be a really good fantastic four movie, i don’t know. but i really don’t care. just want a good flick

      • b, you “really don’t care.” So, I guess you’re the target audience for this film. What is your definition of a “good flick.” You assert that people need to stop passing judgment. There is no judgment. Josh Trank stated that it will not follow the comic book. He is being criticized for not following the comic book, not for making a terrible movie that hasn’t even been made yet. That’s not judgment. It’s feedback.

        • Which comic book do you want them to follow then? 60s FF? The version when She-Hulk joined in the 80s to replace The Thing? The version that featured She-Thing? Future Foundation (with Spider-Man on the team)? Ultimate FF, with a younger team who got their powers from a Negative Zone portal?

          Which of those would you prefer them to follow to the letter and which would you complain about for taking the film in that direction?

          By the way, critiquing a decision (as you state you’re doing here) IS passing judgment. You can’t say a positive or negative thing without it being a judgment call.

          • Well, they could start with the original material and progress the story to more recent versions of the F.F. with each sequel. That seems a better idea than to just make stuff up, especially if the director is not even familiar with the source material. It is one thing to deviate from the source material or take artistic license, it is another thing to ignore it altogether. I did not like Bryan Singer’s interpretations of the X-Men, but at least they were grounded in the source material.

          • I call it discernment not judgment; however, some may consider them the same. Even so, my “judgment” is based on information revealed by Josh Trank himself. There is enough information that has come to light to determine that fans of the comic book will be disappointed that the story we have come to know and love is essentially re-written. Granted, we do not know the extent of the changes, but it is not looking good for the die-hards. Dazz, I have read your past comments and you know your stuff. Are you not the least bit concerned?

    • But I thought getting outraged despite having almost no information was the point of this site? 😛

      • For saying that, I shall become outraged and start kicking furniture while ignoring what you actually said and making up outrageous claims based more on my own lack of understanding of your comment rather than taking the time to thoroughly understand what’s being said and forming a coherent response.

        Yarr! Booo! You suck! Generic negative insult!

  9. “the script is constantly evolving due to the amount of moving parts and the need to adapt, which often involves “[making] decisions on the fly.”

    You know what other Fox Studio movie had a lot of last minute decisions on the fly (which just means constant script rewrites during filming)? Wolverine Origins.

    • Exactly, I thought Rises was the best of the trilogy and thought Bane came across as a much more intimidating villain than he might’ve been if he was written and cast by comic book fans who like to stick exactly to source material no matter what.

    • Apparently agreeing with you and backing it up with examples is against the Terms Of Use for this site. Either that or site flub telling me I posted a duplicate post and posting too fast but no comment is showing up.

    • This movie is changing way more than TDK trilogy. Every single thing they say makes it worst.

      Following with your analogy, yes, the baby is not born yet, but they are showing you the echographies and it looks like a monster.

    • Yes but Bane didn’t have a sister.

    • Bane’s father (in the comic books) was british, so it’s not necessarily wrong to have him played by a caucasian man. We can’t know for sure that his mother from that fictional former spanish colony in the nothern carribean would have made him look 100% latin.

      Now, Ra’s Al Ghul is a different matter 😉

  10. Since Josh is not following the comic book, maybe he could change their super powers. Instead of turning into a rock-like behemoth, maybe Ben turns into a chocolate monster. Oh, that would be entirely jovial! “Watch it, hot head, any closer and you’ll turn me into Fondue!” Ha-ha! You see? That’s the advantage of not following the comic book: you can make something completely different that has absolutely nothing to do with the Fantastic 4. But, that would never happen. That would never, ever happen! That never happens!!! Does it, Josh?! Does it, Bryan?! Does it, Marc?! No, that never happens!!!

    • You clearly aren’t understanding what’s being said in the article. Therefore, hate to do this but I call troll because I doubt anyone could be this ignorant.

      • I appreciate the sensitivity and apprehension with which you called, “Troll.” However, I find it a bit peculiar that someone who claims to be a fan of the comics has no problem with upstart directors re-writing Marvel history because he thinks he has a better idea. Therefore, as reluctant as I am to do this, I counter you Troll call by calling Troll back because I doubt anybody could be this pusillanimous.

        • I must be really old because I always assumed that a troll was someone who went onto a message board with the sole purpose of getting other people upset by posting stuff that had nothing to do with what was being talked about. I never knew that a troll was a person who had a different opinion about a subject matter. Guess you learn something new every day.

          Right now I’m not sure how I feel about this movie. Jordan’s comment about how family doesn’t have to be about blood could mean nothing, or it could mean that Trank is planning on just making them four friends and do away with the whole brother and sister aspect of it.

          Of course I’m just making an assumption based off nothing more then a few words spoken by an actor.

  11. “One of the good things about the Fantastic Four is that everybody is different. And it’s like, sometimes family doesn’t always consist of your relatives or BY BLOOD. Sometimes your best friends can feel more like family than your cousins.”

    So Sue will be adopted.

  12. There is a very good example of a movie inspired by Fantastic Four which is not about Fantastic Four. It´s a great movie and everybody loves it because the don´t try to fool anyone. If they had called it “Fatastic Four” probably not so many people would have loved it, because it would be a lie.

    That movie is called The Incredibles.

    Trank wants to make a movie inspired by the FF. Great. Just don´t call it Fantastic Four otherwise no matter how good the movie is you will be fooling people.

    It´s as simple as that.

    • News flash.

      Most who saw The Incredibles and liked it have never heard of the Fantastic Four.

      Oh, sorry, you’re just being pedantic for the sake of it. I see. Sorry to have bothered you, Negatron.

      • So? You are proving my point. You can do a movie inspired by FF without pissing off fans.

  13. “When making a film about comic book characters, it is always a good idea to disregard source material”, said nobody ever.

    • Did Josh Trank touch you in “no-no” places or something? You seem awfully obsessed with constantly saying negative things about this film.

      • There is nothing possitive to say about it, only negative news come out.

  14. +1 to Randy.

  15. I’m pretty optimistic about this but personally i kinda thought it would be interesting if Shane Carruth wrote and directed it. It would be pretty crazy but very interesting. For my alternate casting choices

    Shane Carruth as Mr. Fantastic
    Brit Marling as Invisible Woman
    John C. Reilly as the Thing ( Think about it a little. and it sounds good.)
    Keep Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch

  16. I wonder if when Chris Colombus directed the 1st Harry Potter movie & he had decided to “bring some diversity” to the stories by casting a black performer in the lead role of Harry Potter what the fan reaction would have been.
    Without doubt a few fawning politically correct pin heads would have lauded such a decision, but the overall reaction by die-hard fans would have been massive in their collective outrage at such a bastardization of their beloved source material.
    There’s a reason why books & comic books popular enough to be brought to the big screen have been around for as long as they have, but if you’re going to gut & warp the source material & characters themselves beyond recognition in the translation from page to screen, then why even bother making a movie based on those characters at all?
    And you’ll recognize as well who the actual racists around here are by their being the first to accuse those of us who don’t share or agree with their views on diversity as being racist. That’s pretty much the extent of the “tolerance” you can expect from today’s indoctrinated useful idiots.

  17. I’m calling it: Johnny Storm starts out as a different (white) actor, and as a result of complicated genetic changes after the accident, is then played by Michael B. Jordan.

  18. Keep complaining and watch marvel make more changes to the books. Now we have a lady thor. Dint piss marvel we may get a feminine acting wolvrine who loves cooking shows or a polite anwell mannerd deadpool. I think this movie will be fine. If we can accept changes in the books which as fans we have done for years we can accept them on screen. Marvel and dc fans are lucky to have these films made and all they do is whine. Us image fans still want to choke the guy thst made spawn.

  19. Oh God more BS. I don’t think anyone here is dumb enough to have not consider that family can be non-blood. But the side skirting and evasive comments only makes the matter worse and ludicrous.

    • I completely agree. I am skeptical about the casting, not because of the family angle or different ethnicity, but mostly because the actor who was cast as Ben Grimm just doesn’t fit the mold. But, all this nonsense about Johnny’s race and how it relates to family is very sad.

  20. “Me personally, I block out that extra noise and I focus on the job I have to do,”

    “It is an important film for all of us… We’re taking it seriously, taking a lot of risks. I think it’s going to pay off.”

    Well said Mr. Jordan. Don’t bow down to the demands of the trolls and whiny fanboys. Just focus on your craft and if the movie is good, I’m sure people will like it.

    • Evan, I’m not sure how you accuse those who dislike what they have heard about the direction in which “Mr. Jordan” has stated the movie is going and, at the same time pander to a director who has had one successful low budget film. Honestly, it sounds like you are sucking up to the director as a way to anger the “whiny fan boys”, which is the behavior of a troll. You trust the process 100% and it sounds like you are all in, while others are skeptical. Can you blame the skeptics after the first two F.F. debacles? It’s a trust thing.

  21. String.. where the F is Wallace???