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.”
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.