Sean Astin came close to directing the 2005 Fantastic Four movie and was eyeing Christina Aguilera for the role of Sue Storm, the actor himself has revealed. In the early days of the superhero movie explosion, when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was just a twinkle in Kevin Feige's eye, 20th Century Fox released the first big-budget Fantastic Four movie, and while the film did well enough at the box office to spawn a sequel, reaction from fans and critics leaned heavily towards the negative side. Directed by Tim Story, Fantastic Four starred Chris Evans, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffudd as the titular quartet.
Around the same time, Sean Astin was riding high on a wave of success following the game-changing The Lord of the Rings movies, in which Astin played Samwise Gamgee, best friend of Frodo and a connoisseur of potatoes. Despite previous success as a youngster in The Goonies, Astin has made no secret of his aspirations to be a director and his short film, The Long and Short of It (featuring a Peter Jackson cameo), was produced during a filming break on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and is available as an extra on some DVD releases. Astin would go on the helm several TV episodes, but it appears his aspirations behind the camera were initially far grander.
Speaking at the recent Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con event (via Collider), Astin revealed how close he came to directing the 2005 Fantastic Four movie and shares some of the ideas he had for the project. Astin's story (the full 12-minute version of which can be seen below) includes several notable highlights. The actor claims that he came so close to landing the job, he read a draft of the Fantastic Four script in Rupert Murdoch's office and forced Fox's Tom Rothman to seriously consider him as a contender by showing passion for the project and keen ideas.
In terms of casting, Astin claims he was eyeing popstar, Christina Aguilera, and Cameron Diaz for the role of Sue Storm, with Diaz turning the job down because of the make-up requirements. However, Astin does reveal that he attended a boxing match with Michael Chiklis where he convinced him to accept the role of Thing, and Chiklis did indeed appear in Tim Story's finished movie. Finally, Astin says that he had no knowledge of the Fantastic Four prior to pursuing this project, but did extensive research into the comic books in an attempt to land the gig.
The world of Hollywood can generate some fairly outlandish stories, but it's safe to say that not many people would've predicted this revelation coming to light in 2019. Astin's directorial career perhaps hasn't taken off as much as he'd have liked, but he has continued to find success as an actor in the likes of Stranger Things. Life likely would've been very different for both Astin and the Fantastic Four franchise if Rothman had taken a chance on the debuting director and, given how badly the actual 2005 film panned out, it may have been worth the risk in hindsight.
With that said, it's hard to imagine many comic book fans getting on board with the idea of Christina Aguilera as Sue Storm, but Michael Chiklis' Thing was certainly one of Fantastic Four's better elements, which perhaps suggests that Astin had a solid grasp of which actors were right for the four main roles - something no movie version has nailed as of yet. This extremely unexpected story will likely go down as one of the biggest "what-if" scenarios in superhero movie history, but with Marvel Studios likely to drop their own version of the Fantastic Four at some point in the near future, Astin's hopes may not be completely dashed.