The Hollywood Reporter has done some digging into the whole Fantastic Four debacle and they’ve uncovered a couple of shocking new details regarding director Josh Trank’s erratic behaviour on set.
Last Thursday, Trank Tweeted that he had made a “fantastic version” of the film which we would “probably never see.” Though the Tweet was soon deleted, it reportedly cost the studio $10 million in terms of box office receipts. Of course, Fox wasn’t too happy about what the director had done and is now going after him, forcing Trank to lawyer up.
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With things turning ugly, further details are starting to spill out as the two parties play the blame game. THR has heard from their sources that while on set, Trank “holed up in a tent and cut himself off from everybody,” acting withdrawn and erratic.
“He built a black tent around his monitor,” says a crewmember. “He was extremely withdrawn.” Between setups, this person adds, “he would go to his trailer and he wouldn’t interact with anybody.”
Sources go on to say that while Fox wanted a grounded, gritty version of the film, Trank “pushed a gloomy tone on his young stars.”
“During takes, he would be telling [cast members] when to blink and when to breathe,” one person says. “He kept pushing them to make the performance as flat as possible.”
Of course, there are some people advocating for Trank as well, with one source saying:
“The movie was ill-conceived, made for the wrong reasons and there was no vision behind the property. Say what you will about Marvel but they have a vision. Fox was afraid of losing the rights so they pressed forward and didn’t surround [Trank] with help or fire him. They buried their heads in the sand.”
The source goes on to explain that while Fox did have concerns about Trank at first, and even thought of firing him early on, they stuck by him because of what he had done with Chronicle. That, and they wanted to get rid of their reputation of “micromanaging filmmakers.”
“The studio was trying to shake off its reputation for micromanaging filmmakers,” said one source close to the project. “So executives were reluctant to interfere on Fantastic Four despite warnings of trouble.”
When Fox finally did notice how serious the issues were becoming, it was too late. Trank had shot almost half of the film and Fox wouldn’t have an easy time getting someone else in to finish it.
“How do you ask someone to take over half of a movie shot by someone else?” the source says. “You either hire somebody desperate for work or you [start over], write off pretty much the whole budget and lose the cast.”
We’ve already heard that producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker eventually stepped in at the last-minute to help figure out the ending, but it proved to be too little to late.
“It was complete chaos,” says a crew member. “Trank was still in attendance at the end, but was neutralized by a committee. To me, this is a classic indictment of the entire system. Nobody should escape scrutiny on this one. Everyone should take a good look in the mirror, myself included. Even I probably did the movie for the wrong reasons.”
As I’ve mentioned several times throughout the past week, it wouldn’t be fair to place the entire blame on either party. From everything we’ve heard, it seems like both Fox and Trank were guilty here. It’s a shame that it had to turn out like this, too, as now it’s going to get messy.
Big studio projects flop all the time, but often they’re just swept under the rug and everyone goes on about their business. With Fantastic Four, however, it doesn’t look like the saga will be ending anytime soon and unfortunately, not everyone will get out of it unscathed.