It speaks to the current movie culture we’re in that if a tentpole project doesn’t show the goods early enough, a certain subset of fanboys will immediately wonder not if this was a calculated choice, but if the movie is in trouble. Indeed, the past couple weeks has seen no shortage of speculation about Fox‘s “Fantastic Four,” which opens in August, but has yet to show a single poster or frame of the film (which, for the record, is the case for all the tentpole projects opening that month; only “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” has released an official image to date). But such has been the chatter that it seems to have forced director Josh Trank and producer Simon Kinberg to go on the record and open up about the film, just as the film’s first trailer has dropped.
“I would say that the science fiction of it is a big thing that sets it apart from most of the other superhero genre films,” Trank told Collider. “I’m a huge David Cronenberg fan, and I always viewed Fantastic Four and the kind of weirdness that happens to these characters and how they’re transformed to really fall in line more with a Cronenberg-ian science fiction tale of something horrible happening to your body and [it] transforming out of control. And the potential for a hard sci-fi take on that material makes me really excited. I don’t really see that kind of potential and that kind of take being implemented on any of the other superhero movies that seem to be coming out in the next few years. Superhero movies have become a genre unto themselves and I didn’t really grow up on superhero movies. I grew up on genre movies before superhero was a genre. I don’t know if there are Blockbusters [the video chain] anymore, but there would probably be a superhero section. And this would fit more into the science-fiction, or horror, or even drama sections of the Blockbuster. And that’s just kind of the way I look at it. I want it to feel like it’s its own thing.”
And yes, a superhero movie that leans toward body horror sounds like a terrific idea to run with. But one also has to remember that Trank is still playing in Fox’s giant sandbox, and with the current trend of expanding comic book universes, it’s not a surprise that there is already some chatter about Fantastic Four and X-Men linking up.
“I will say only that we are all very inspired by what Marvel has done,” Kinberg shares.” If there’s a way to have different communications between these universes that would be great, but we are focused on making each of these movies the best movie they can be. It’s tricky. The extra challenge is that the X-Men films so far don’t acknowledge the Fantastic Four and the Fantastic Four takes place essentially in the same time period as the X-Men movies, the modern day. So they have challenges. But there are certainly conversations.”
But even with that said, it looks like Trank is still making some great distinctive and creative choices when it comes to “The Fantastic Four,” and the one we’re most excited about is the music. He’s managed to nab the legendary Philip Glass to score the film, alongside Marco Beltrami. Glass is one of the most unique contemporary classical and avant-garde musical voices, and whenever he steps into the movie world, the results are usually stirring. He’s probably most well known for his work on the “Koyaanisqatsi“/”Powaqatsi“/”Naqoyqatsi” trilogy, but has earned Oscar nods for “Kundun,” “Notes On A Scandal,” and “The Hours,” and lent his talents to films as diverse as “Candyman” and this year’s Oscar nominated Russian film “Leviathan.”
“…I asked the studio, ‘What about Philip Glass? Would you guys be okay with me giving him a call?’ And they were totally cool,” Trank said. “He’s a really significant celebrity in the music world. I got his number from his manager, I sent him ‘Chronicle’ and had a call with him. It was one of the coolest calls I’ve ever had in my life because he’s fucking Philip Glass and he had just watched my movie. The first words out of his mouth were, ‘I just saw your movie and it’s very philosophical.’ We were talking about the philosophy of ‘Chronicle’ and it gave me goosebumps. We invited him out to set and he came to set for like three days and had a great time. He was blown away by the scale of the film. I’ve been working with him for almost a year now and he’s so inspiring. He’s such a humble, amazing guy.”
So, have your fears about “The Fantastic Four” being a potential disaster been assuaged? Starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, and Toby Kebbell, “The Fantastic Four” arrives on August 7th. Watch the official trailer, followed by another version with commentary from Trank and Kinberg.