Marvel comic book adaptations are everywhere these days. Disney is paving the way to Phase 3 of The Avengers shared universe, Sony is busy establishing a longterm Spider-Man plot line (involving the Sinister Six and a Venom solo movie), while Fox is preparing a generation-bending team-up in X-Men: Days of Future Past (to be followed by an Apocalypse story). As a result, with a flashy new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy to analyze, it can be easy to forget that Fox is also working on a reboot of the Fantastic Four.
Lately, casting news has kept the project on our radar, with one unceremonious quasi-confirmation after another. After reports confirmed Chronicle‘s Michael B. Jordan will play Johnny Storm in the upcoming film and Miles Teller (Project X) strongly hinted that he was also attached as Reed Richards, all eyes have been on the roles of Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman and Ben Grimm/The Thing. Today, it sounds like we might finally know which two performers are expected to round out the cast.
According to a report from The Wrap, Jamie Bell (Jumper) is expected to play Grimm – though the studio has yet to extend him an official contract. The write-up also re-confirms what most people have already accepted as a given at this point – that Teller will play Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, assuming the actor and the studio can finalize schedules (and his overall deal). Meanwhile, Variety suggests that Kate Mara (House of Cards) has actually accepted an offer to play Storm.
Mara has been rumored as a possibility for weeks – after prior rumors asserted that Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie were also in the running for Storm. However, Variety‘s report is the first one to say that Mara has officially signed-on – and, given the specificity of where things stand with Teller and Bell as well, it’s very possible this updated information is also accurate.
Of course, the official casting of Mara raises a key question that has been at the forefront of the Fantastic Four reboot, ever since Jordan was rumored as Johnny Storm: given that Jordan is black and Mara is white, has screenwriter Simon Kinberg outright abandoned the traditional brother-sister relationship between the pair – or does he have a different explanation in mind (such as adoption)? It’ll be interesting to find out; though, both Mara and Jordan have offered solid performances in notable action fare and character-driven indies – meaning that whatever their relationship is in the reboot, the actors should have no problem delivering in the roles.
On the other hand, The Wrap‘s post represents the first we’re hearing of Jamie Bell, best known for voicing the titular character in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin. That said, the actor is a star on the rise – with a notable turn in film festival favorite Snowpiercer followed by the impending (and controversial) release of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac: Volume I and II. Like Mara and Jordan, Bell is a smart catch for the Fantastic Four reboot – one that should be especially encouraging to anyone who was rolling their eyes at the thought of Josh Gad as The Thing.
Assuming that director Josh Trank takes advantage of similar technologies as Joss Whedon used to capture Mark Ruffalo’s performance for the Hulk in The Avengers, we won’t get to see a lot of Bell (at least not after the initial accident turns him into a superhero) but he has strong enough acting chops to ensure that Grimm’s humanity shows through his stony CGI exterior.
Obviously, industry reports are not the same thing as official confirmation but, as mentioned, the write-ups suggest knowing insight into where the studio is at with each of the primary cast members. Not to mention, earlier rumors indicated the script is now complete - and that potential cast members would be testing this month (February 2014). If the reports are to be believed, that means half of the team could now be confirmed, Mara and Jordan, with Teller and Bell still in talks. Given how much Teller has been spouting off about the project, even teasing casting news “soon,” it’s unlikely that he’ll drop out. Yet, anything is possible.
We’ll keep you up to date as Fox offers official information (or official denials) – including who might play the film’s villain.
Fantastic Four is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on June 19th, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for updates on the Fantastic Four reboot as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.