Director Josh Trank's critically-acclaimed feature debut - the found-footage high school life sci-fi/fantasy parable Chronicle - pushed him a fair handful of steps up on the Hollwood ladder, which is why he's now calling the shots on 20th Century Fox's reboot of the Fantastic Four movie franchise. Trank's past work in the department of stories about people being granted super-powers make the situation all the more intriguing, when it concerns what to expect from this 2015 cinematic interpretation of the famous eponymous Marvel superhero "family."
For one, it's known that this Fantastic Four will follow the example of the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book universe in some respects. For certain, that includes having younger versions of geeky Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, maternal Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, cocky Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and hard-edged Ben Grimm/The Thing - brought to life in Trank's F4 movie by, respectively, Miles Teller (That Awkward Moment), Kate Mara (Transcendence), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), and Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tintin).
F4 reboot screenwriter Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) has described Trank's film as a "coming of age story," which is something that's been echoed in fresh comments made by actor Tim Blake Nelson. The well-respected character actor offered his thoughts on the F4 script during an interview with Tulsa World (Nelson, for the record, was born in Tulsa), following the news this week that he is in final talks to join the film's cast:
"Yes, it's pretty much closed, with me playing Harvey Elder, who becomes the Mole Man. I absolutely loved working on ['The Incredible Hulk'] and feel extremely blessed that Marvel, Fox, and especially ("Fantastic Four" director) Josh Trank and his team have invited me back into the universe. The script is excellent. It has real heart, and it shows a true understanding of what it is to be a burgeoning adult geeked out to the margins."
Nelson, in case you forgot, also costarred in Marvel Studios' The Incredible Hulk as Samuel Sterns, a character who (in the traditional Hulk comic book lore) eventually becomes a super-villain known as The Leader. However, much like Nelson played an ordinary person in the Hulk movie, he isn't expected to evolve into Mole Man during the course of Trank's Fantastic Four series reboot. (Whether or not that will also hold true for the sequel already planned for release in 2017, well... that remains to be seen.)
As demonstrated by this weekend's new release The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (read our review), it's not always easy to balance telling a superhero story that explores meaningful human issues with action and world-building. However, even though Trank's Fantastic Four is being made with the intention of being the first chapter in a new saga, Nelson promises that it will offer plenty of dramatic substance to go along with all the flash and sizzle:
"Without going into detail, the script has as much soul as it does action, and it has a lot of action. We're all going to have [a] blast making it."
It's early days, of course, but already a number of hardcore fans have been quite vocal about their mixed-to-negative feelings towards the direction that Trank is taking with the story and casting for the Fantastic Four reboot. While the film may seem like it's going to be an unnecessarily radical re-design of the superhero franchise to some thus far, the list of talent people working on this movie (actors and filmmakers alike) reads as pretty dang solid on paper.
That is to say: if Trank's film is, in fact, a significant departure from traditional spins on the Fantastic Four property, it may well turn out to be a pretty good-to-excellent one, judged on its own terms. We'll see what actually happens, of course...
Fantastic Four opens in U.S. theaters on June 19th, 2015.
Source: Tulsa World