Anyone stepping into the director’s chair of a major franchise is guaranteed to deal with at least some level of scrutiny, but no one has faced as much criticism and wild rumors as “Fantastic Four” director Josh Trank. Even before the first trailer arrived for the superhero movie talk ran wild about supposed problems on the set. And that only intensified when the filmmaker exited the “Star Wars” spinoff movie he was slated to direct, with rumors following shortly after that he was actually fired from the movie because of his unruly behavior on “Fantastic Four.” Now Trank, and producer Simon Kinberg who is behind both the “Fantastic Four” and “Star Wars” franchises, have jointly spoken out against that chatter.
Speaking with the LA Times, Trank says that any truth in the talk about this attitude on the set on “Fantastic Four” or his relationship with the film’s producers Kinberg and Hutch Parker “were spun in such a maliciously wrong way,” and that, “If you ask anybody by name who I’ve worked with, from Simon to Hutch or my crew or anybody else, they’d be like, ‘We’ve been working really hard on this movie and we’ve had an excellent time working together.’ It’s been a challenging movie–for all of the right reasons.”
However, the intensity of the spotlight has been a lot to bear for Trank and he says it’s part of the reason he decided to drop “Star Wars” from his slate. “I want to do something original after this because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life. And it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar,” he explained. “I have a great relationship with everyone at Lucasfilm and with [producer] Kari Hart. And they all understood it because this whole experience for me has been very psychologically hard.”
Meanwhile, Kinberg who has seen variations of this kind of rumor-mongering for years as a producer on the “X-Men” movies, but has never seen it reach this level. “I’ve been around some version of this for a long time,” he said. “This, I would say, is particularly cruel. I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”
And it’s those words that linger with the most resonance. Making a movie is hard. Making a big studio movie is hard. And then facing the unrelenting criticism and expectations from fans before they’ve even seen a frame of the movie adds another layer of difficulty. And it’s perhaps not a surprise why Trank isn’t in a hurry to reproduce that experience.
“Fantastic Four” opens on August 7th.