After a few delays along the road to production, Twentieth Century Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot will begin filming in Louisiana this week with Miles Teller playing Reed Richards, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm, Kate Mara as Sue Storm and Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm.
This new, younger version of Marvel’s first superhero team was assembled by Chronicle director Josh Trank, and the film has been described by screenwriter Simon Kinberg as a coming-of-age story that is tonally somewhere in between Chronicle and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. Though filming hasn’t started yet and details of the plot (aside from the fact that it’s an origin story) are currently unknown, Fantastic Four has already taken a lot of fire from comic book fans, largely due to the lead actors being younger, shorter or darker-skinned than the team members in the original comics.
British actor Toby Kebbell has been confirmed as the choice for the Fantastic Four‘s main nemesis, Doctor Doom, but the latest casting news reveals that there’s another supervillain waiting in the wings. THR reports that Tim Blake Nelson is currently in final negotiations to play an “eccentric and socially awkward scientist” called Harvey Elder.
Nelson is a brilliant character actor whose career has included many memorable roles, including Delmar O’Donnell in the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou, creepy prison warden Gideon in Minority Report and “Dr” Pendanski in the film adaptation of Louis Sachar’s Holes. Fantastic Four wouldn’t be his first outing in the Marvel multiverse, either, as he also played Samuel Sterns AKA The Leader in The Incredible Hulk. Of all the casting choices for the Fantastic Four reboot so far, Nelson as Harvey Elder would probably be the least controversial.
For those unfamiliar with the comics, Harvey Elder is better known as Mole Man (no, not that Moleman), a nuclear engineer and explorer who was shunned by the rest of society due to his diminutive, homely appearance and inability to get along with others. This eventually drove him underground, where he became the leader of a subterranean hive of creatures called the Moloids.
According to THR‘s sources, Nelson would only be playing Harvey Elder and not his supervillain alter ego, but the fact that he’s being included in the movie suggests that Fox may intend to set him up as the villain for a future sequel. Fantastic Four 2 already has a release date staked out for summer 2017, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the groundwork for it being laid in next year’s reboot.
Fantastic Four is out in theaters on June 19, 2015.