At this point, 20th Century Fox wishes they could just hide until “Fantastic Four” blows over, but the problem is, according to the latest behind-the-scenes report from THR, that was the studio’s problem in the first place. As everyone continues to try to figure out where to lay blame for the comic book misfire — whether on the supposedly difficult Josh Trank, or the possibly confused studio — it would seem some of the problems come from Fox realizing they had some problems far too late.
According to sources speaking to the trade, the studio 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,” and that the project was “ill-conceived, made for the wrong reasons and there was no vision behind the property.”
As per usual with these stories, sussing out the truth of the matter, it seems safe to say it’s not just one party at fault. On the studio side, they apparently thought about letting Trank go from the movie before cameras rolled, but were left in a difficult position once shooting began and saw how things were turning out. “How do you ask someone to take over half of a movie shot by someone else?” a source said. “You either hire somebody desperate for work or you [start over], write off pretty much the whole budget and lose the cast.”
Meanwhile on Trank’s end, on top of the rumors of the damage he made to a rental property surfacing again, it would appear that as the pressure mounted, the more he became insular.
“He holed up in a tent and cut himself off from everybody,” a source told THR, while another said, “He built a black tent around his monitor. He was extremely withdrawn.”
And as for that finale which was shot during reshoots slapped on by the studio, “It was chaos,” with Trank effectively “neutralized by a committee.” It’s even unclear who exactly was involved — Drew Goddard and others may have been roped in to try and save the movie, but nothing is clear — it was so rushed and cobbled together, the sequence had to rely heavily on body doubles.
So, on the one hand we have a studio that reportedly cut three action scenes before shooting started, moved ahead with a movie they could see was headed into very troubled waters, and locked the director out of editing. Or, there’s Trank who couldn’t deliver what he promised, and cracked under pressure when forced to retool his movie.
Somewhere in the middle of this there’s the real story of how a valuable comic property continues to be underserved on the big screen.