‘Chronicle’ Director Talks Found-Footage Films & ‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot

Published 3 years ago by , Updated September 18th, 2012 at 8:54 am,

Chronicle Poster Chronicle Director Talks Found Footage Films & Fantastic Four Reboot

Chronicle arrived in theaters earlier this year offering a different type of superhero film. Instead of characters wearing spandex or disguising their identities under masks or heavy costumes, this unique story focused on a trio of teens whose chance encounter with an extraterrestrial meteor empowered them with psychic abilities.

With Chronicle arriving on DVD next Tuesday, I recently had the chance to speak with director Josh Trank about Chronicle (his first movie), the draw of found-footage films, and the rumors that he would be working on the Fantastic Four reboot.

When asked about his experience helming the film, Trank said the following:

“[It was] the culmination of every emotion I’ve ever felt in my life, heightened up to 5,000 times and then flipped upside down and then back right side-up and then put into a little box…it was inexplicable. It was what I’ve wanted to do my entire life.”

Chronicle became a surprise low-budget hit, earning both critical raves – read our our 4-star review - and over $60 million dollars at the box office. That success has spawned much talk about a potential sequel.

Trank noted that the Chronicle DVD offers a ton of cool extra features, including a test scene they shot in order to get the green light for the movie, adding that “the director’s cut is a more meaty version of what we all saw in the theater.”

When asked about an alternate-ending on the DVD, Trank said,“I’m gonna decide not to answer that question,” noting that “maybe there is [one on there]. Maybe there isn’t.”

Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell in 'Chronicle'

The script was written by Max Landis, Trank’s childhood acquaintance. The concept, however, came from Trank, who noted that “it was an idea that I was sort of carrying around in my back pocket for a while.” That idea involved both the style of the film and the concept of friends hiding their ability to use telekinesis from the rest of the world.The director said that he’d “been collecting little scenes in my head over the course of two or three years before I felt like I really saw it…

When asked what superpower he himself would choose, if given the opportunity, he noted the following:

“Telekenis. It’s really simple just cause it’s the ultimate gateway superpower. It’s the superpower that leads to other superpowers like flying and it’s really simple too. As far as other superpowers are concerned, it’s one that you can also keep the most secret from other people because it’s the relationship  between your brain and the physical world…”

chronicle director talks sequel and fantastic four Chronicle Director Talks Found Footage Films & Fantastic Four Reboot

Dane DeHaan in 'Chronicle'

I also spoke to Trank about the found-footage style that he uses so effectively in Chronicle - and which has become extremely popular in film-making today.  He noted that documentary filmmaking around the time of Michael’s Moore’s Bowling for Columbinereally started to spill into the public appetite.” Since then, he adds, “There’s just been this really really really intense appetite for reality-based entertainment.

About his own foray into the format, he added the following:

“I saw an opportunity to be able to blend a couple of different things that I’ve always wanted to approach as a filmmaker.  The themes of coming of age stories like Stand By Me or Lucas…and superhero genre films and also horror films like Carrie and films like Akira and to really sort of take all of those different elements and combine them into a reality-based story…”

Trank’s reported connection to the Fantastic Four reboot has been mentioned in numerous articles. I asked the director about such a connection but he was mum on the details:

“I can’t comment on any [of] my personal roles. I can’t comment on any project in development…No comment and just cool things to come.”

For fans wanting to watch his directorial debut, though, Chronicle arrives on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

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  1. Awesome I’ll definelty have to pick this up cuz the movie was incredible. That and underworld were two of my favorites this year but neither can even to begin a thought to come close to how much I loved the avengers.
    Just making that clear. Lol

    But great movie and excited for the BluRay and extras.

    I like tank I hope he does helm a fantastic four reboot though I would love him to do it under marvel studios and not fox come on rights revert back!!

    • I agree. Let’s get those rights back to Marvel studios!

    • Let’s have The Fantastic Four reboot feature as villains the Frightful Four (Wizard, Medusa, Sandman, Trapster). Four on for, a fair fight, and a pretty equal one at that, all told!

      • Isn’t Sandman owned by Sony and FF owned by Fox?

  2. This movie didn’t work for me. But oh well

  3. I actually liked Chronicle more than The Avengers and can’t wait to pick it up on Tuesday.

  4. Maybe in the reboot FF we will something more intimidating than a giant cloud as a villain (or one of the villains). Re-using Doom was mistake it felt Julian Mcchanon (sorry if I misspelled his name) wasn’t even trying, unlike the first film in which his performance was much stronger. Heard a lot of good things about Chronicle can’t wait to rent it, would have seen it in theaters but by the time I got a round to trying it was gone:(

  5. I saw this movie due to me trying to kill time. But I absolutely loved it. It was a super power movie done right. It would be great to give someone like frank a chance to see what he can do with all the toys Hollywood has to offer

  6. Hopefully glactus will be the villian and hopefully more screen time for doctor doom in the actual costume

    • Ummm galactus WAS the villian IN FF rise of silver surfer……

      • haha, no he wasn’t…….the villain in FF:RotSS was a big ball of gas posing as Glactus. There is no way in the cosmos that the Silver Surfer had even a shot in hell at hurting, much less destroying Glactus……that was so damn silly. Stupid, stupid, stupid /facepalm

        • GA-lactus

          • Guess I read the OP and my brain used their spelling. So, my bad?

  7. I liked this movie quite a lot was better than i was expecting. But the found footage thing didn’t work, it felt really superfluous. They pretty much just give up on it like an hour into it anyway. You can still do a realist type film with fantastical elements and make it cool without making it found footage. Look at District 9. Or Monsters. they shoulda done it like that it wouldve been much better

  8. I can only hope that there is no correlation between the found footage style and this next FF movie.

  9. This was our Hollywood Akira right here and a damn good one. Now let that project stay dead plz.

  10. Fox trying to juggle in order to keep all of the Marvel properties in development hell just to hold on to all of the rights longer. Pathetic. If there’s ant property that Marvel needs to fight for it’s the FF. The FF hold a very poignant role to many Marvel story lines that are major events. Fox has WAY too many Marvel properties than they should for that matter. Daredevil,Electra,X-Men,Fantastic Four,Deadpool, and many characters directly related to those characters, that’s damn too many but above all others at least Fantastic Four belongs back at Marvel the most.

  11. Chronicle was a awesome movie.

    I loved the trailer, it was better than I expected.

    The film itself was amazing, the actors did great jobs.

    If Josh Tank ever gets the chance to direct Fanstasic Four, I hope the rights go back to Marvel.

  12. I didn’t like Chronicle and I didn’t like FF 1&2.
    That said, I’m hoping that IF this guy does get to do a FF movie, it’ll be a good one.
    I think they should go back to the origin story but just do it RIGHT this time… and most importantly:
    Give us the all powerful DOOM! Give him his science AND his sorcery, give him his kingdom an for the love of all things holy… give him a freakin scary accent! Seriously, IMO Doom is THE Marvel villain – there isn’t a hero he hasn’t fought yet. I wish Marvel Studios could have used him in IM3 :(

  13. I agree with Blastaar 150%. Fox DOES own too many of the Marvel properties and because of their mismanagement are killing the brand. Fox doesn’t have a clue as to what to do with these characters – ESPECIALLY the Fantastic Four. They’ll never get it right. How many second chances do they get? How many reboots do audiences need to endure? They don’t care about the material. It’s just a way to make a quick buck. They’re going to run these characters into the ground. They should be sued for character assassination and have the rights stripped accordingly.

    • One of the people responsible for destroying the Xmen franchise is Lauren Shuller I believe, I got the First Class Bluray and the way she talked the movie in the extras was terrible. When asked about picking which characters should be in this film, her response was characters with powers we hadn’t seen before, instead picking characters that would benefit the story. Don’t get me wrong I love First Class but Fox has basically crapped on the source material for these movies and it is pathetically obvious they do not care about the fans unlike Marvel Studios that while still in the game to make a profit take care of there characters and films.

      • @jacob, You’re absolutely right. That approach is exactly why they don’t get it. They’re just looking for that next gimmick rather than truly respecting the source material by delving deeper into the stories and characters- the elements that make the best movies not just comic book movies.

  14. Me being me, I have hopes to see a Super Hero Civil War movie or movie series with the whole Marvel thing. That being said, Fox owns too many of the rights including FF, X-Men, and Silver Surfer. Also, Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. Many other characters are spread through other companies. Now, after the TONS of money they would make for just filming it, including locations and special effects, now Marvel would need to make deals with so many big named companies they’d go bankrupt, even after Avenger’s recent success, and then paying the enormous amount of actors would just kill them. They NEED to give Marvel back the rights to these characters. I had no clue there was a Daredevil movie until now, or well, not 100% sure, but I bet if Marvel made it, it may be more famous and accordingly better. Fox and Sony, IMO, should give back Spider-Man, X-Men, FF, and all the others. At least for a Civil War. I mean, you gotta have a movie for that.

  15. The main problem that I have with these other studios is that they will keep on rebooting, pre-qualing, re-qualing, re-imagining and grasping at straws making spin-offs of characters that are within certain movies; practically making a spin-off of every character from X-Men down to FF or supporting characters that would make it an almost infinite source of characters. If Fox had owned the rights to Hulk, best believe they’d have already made a She-hulk movie that would’ve sucked then they’d be thinking about making a Doc Sampson or Rick Jones movie to keep holding on to rights of the Hulk or Hulk related characters which by holding onto those characters keeps the main character still in line with company. I once thought that I’d like to see Marvel and the other studios make an agreement to share the profits of crossovers between studios but now I know that Fox is too greedy for that and that even if they did, it would put an even stronger strangle hold on the properties that Fox and Sony have all together. I’d rather Marvel have the properties back even if I’d have to wait for the movies to come out. Quality over quantity. I’d rather see Marvel make all of the money off of their own stuff and do it right for the TL&C of their own characters, fans, and to keep doing the great job that they’ve been doing within the short amount of time that Marvel Studios has actually existed.

  16. Fox dodged a bullet with First Class. If that turned out half as bad as it looked from the trailers fans would have been screaming for their heads. They can reboot all they want but eventually people will lose interest.

    I actually was not going to see First Class at all until it started getting such excellent reviews. Turned out it was a great flick. But I will not support their movies if they are garbage. They may be getting the X-men franchise back on track but even First Class had some big flaws and was completely out of continuity. Actually their continuity is so screwed up I don’t know where they take it from here.

    Fox has to have a perfect track record from here on out. But they can’t do it. They won’t. They’ve set themselves up to fail. What do you do with sloppy continuity? Reboot your reboot? Or quietly pretend that those other movies never happened even though you use cameos of actors from said movies? Or are they going to use the “found footage” gimmick to get people in the theater? They’re going to make the Fantastic Four *darker*? Because that’s always the way to go. Face palm. THEY. REALLY. DON’T. GET. IT.

    So what is going to happen is they will run their franchises into the ground until there’s no more money to be had. By the time Marvel ever gets the rights back the brand will be so damaged it will take decades to recover.

    Just look at how long it has taken to bring Hulk back from irrelevance. Universal/Ang Lee set that character back an entire DECADE.

    Meanwhile Marvel Studios makes everyone else look like a bunch of amateurs. They’ve got a PLAN. You got a guy like Kevin Feige who is not just making movies but orchestrating an entire epic universe on film. It’s a whole new experience. It’s a ride we’re all enjoying and I don’t think anyone wants to get off. We’re all wondering – what comes next?

    Do I want to see a crummy FF reboot. NO!!

    Do I want to see Reed Richards go head to head with the Avengers against the biggest cosmic forces of the Marvel U? Kree/Skrull war? Thor vs. Silver Surfer? Thing vs. Hulk? Thanos put the beat down on Galactus and everybody else?

    Heck yeah!!!

    • @Ragnaroknroll Yeah! Dat’s what what I’m tawkin bout! And a good ol clobberin’ between ya eva lovin blue eyed Ben Grimm and that big green galoot would also be nice.

      • Hear hear! It would be so awesome it pains me to think it may never happen.

        I feel pretty strongly that the one property Marvel HAS to get back in the fold is the Fantastic Four. I mean I’d love to have them all under one roof but that just isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future.

        The two big money makers are X-men and Spidey and you couldn’t pry those rights from the fingers of Fox and Sony’s dying corpses.

        X-men (if done right) is vast enough to exist in its own universe and can keep Fox quite busy. Spider-man (if done right) can also exist in its own universe. I also think it would be possible to work out deals to have the occasional crossover.

        However, the Fantastic Four was a modest performer for Fox and more than any other it really belongs in the same universe with the Avengers. The stories are so integral: Doom, Galactus, Reed, Secret Wars, Civil War, etc. Get Daredevil (another sub performer for Fox) in there as well and now you’ve opened up all sorts of possibilities and simplified things dramatically for performing crossovers.

        e.g. if Kingpin was under Marvel, I can almost guarantee you they’d work with Sony to have him show up in Spidey along with a Daredevil cameo or vice versa. Fox? Snowball’s chance. Same with FF etc. Marvel loves their properties. Why wouldn’t they want added exposure?

        Fox is greedy and you can tell by the way they bought up all these rights they wanted to hoard all of the properties and milk them dry. They want to make money off of them but they just don’t know how. They either strip mine them or they poke and prod them cautiously at arm’s length in the hopes that they’ll yield more money.

        It’s not going to work for FF. They’d be better off selling them back to Disney than damaging the brand further. First Class was not a home run. It bought them a little momentum but not much. Fox has made 9 Marvel films in the last 12 years. Out of those, only 2 (TWO!!) were really well done (X2 and First Class) with almost a decade gap between them. What that means is that we MAY see a decent Fox comic book movie around the year 2020.

        Fox has a 22% success rate (33% if you count the first X-men and I’m talking about film quality not hit and run box office receipts). Combine this with the market saturation in which Marvel and Nolan are dominating and what do you have? WB no longer has the Harry Potter franchise and after Avengers will be gunning to produce more DC properties. Amazing Spider Man is a dark horse in this race and what if that successfully launches a fresh Spidey franchise?

        It is obvious what Fox should do. They need to cash out on FF (and Daredevil) and focus on making great X-men movies.

        Disney needs to pony up some more money to protect their Marvel brand and buy those rights back. It obviously worked out with the Avengers.

        What you will have is a much saner movie landscape for both film producers and film watchers. One that advances the industry and doesn’t set it back like Fox and Sony have done repeatedly.

        Just like you said. Quality over quantity.