There’s been nothing substantial to report, with regards to the Fantastic Four franchise reboot, for almost fifteen months now. Even though the comic book project was originally announced back in early 2009 and reports about numerous big name celebrities being pursued to star in (or lend their voices to) the film began circulating in mid-2010, there’s been very little progress made on the project since.
Jump to the present and Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman is no longer producing the FF reboot – though, that could be construed as a good thing, based on part of his history with comic book movies (he produced Jonah Hex and wrote Batman & Robin). There’s no word yet on who 20th Century Fox wants to recruit as a replacement producer, but there are new reports about a potential directorial candidate.
Variety is reporting that Josh Trank has held several meetings with Fox executives about him coming onboard as helmer on the new Fantastic Four flick. The movie is being scripted by Michael Green, who previously served as a co-showrunner/writer on TV shows like Smallville, Heroes, and Kings; he is also the man credited for devising the screen story for Green Lantern.
Surprisingly enough, Green has been the primary screenwriter involved with the FF franchise revamping since it was first announced in 2009. Take his (decidedly mixed?) resume as you will, but at least it sounds like the screenplay for the FF reboot won’t be going the overdone “dark and gritty” route – which, arguably, would be really an incongruous approach to take with the FF universe and its characters anyway. But, we digress…
Trank previously worked on the TV series The Kill Point and served as editor on the sports drama Big Fan. He will be making his big screen directorial debut next month with Chronicle, a found footage/superhero flick that has been generating some serious buzz online, especially in the past few weeks.
According to Variety insiders, Fox officials are very much waiting to see how Chronicle fares when it hit theaters, both in terms of critical reception and (most importantly, to studio heads) at the box office, since it’s slated to open during the 2012 Super Bowl weekend. Assuming the movie isn’t an unmitigated bust, it appears likely that Trank will be sitting in the captain’s chair on the FF reboot.
The two previous live-action Fantastic Four movies (ignoring Roger Corman’s infamous 1994 film) released in theaters were sizable financial hits; as far as comic book adaptations go, they’re generally considered to be far from the worst. All the same, neither flick is so widely beloved as to prompt a major outcry at the idea of a reboot, especially one being handled by more accomplished and competent filmmakers.
However, therein lies the problem with the new FF movie, as it stands: Green’s previous work doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence and Trank is simply an untested director – though, based on early Chronicle footage, he’s managed to craft a film with some unsettlingly dark atmosphere and pretty solid effects work, while working on a much smaller budget ($15 million) than he’d have at his disposal with the FF reboot.
All the same, best to hold off on getting too excited (or not) about Trank being eyed to direct the new Fantastic Four movie until Chronicle hits U.S. theaters on February 3rd, 2012.