Kate Mara Says She Should’ve Spoken Up During ‘Horrible’ ‘Fantastic Four’ Experience

Mara reflects on experiencing sexism and a toxic work environment while making the disastrous 2015 Marvel tentpole.
FANTASTIC FOUR, Kate Mara, 2015. ph: Ben Rothstein/TM and Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection
"Fantastic Four"
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Josh Trank’s notorious 2015 superhero tentpole “Fantastic Four” is the Marvel disaster that keeps on giving… awfulness. Though reams of NDAs have kept the filmmaker and his cast from speaking explicitly about just what went down on the 20th Century Fox debacle — Trank, for example, slept with a gun during production — yet another cryptic horror story has emerged from the wreckage. Star Kate Mara, who played Sue Storm a.k.a. Invisible Woman in the costly title, recently confessed to having a “horrible experience” while making the movie, per a new interview in Emmy Magazine.

“I had a horrible experience on ‘Fantastic Four,'” she said. “I’ve never talked about it before. I married one of my costars, so I don’t regret doing that movie at all. But do I wish I had responded differently to certain things? Yes, definitely.” (That co-star she would go on to marry is Jamie Bell.)

Mara is in headlines recently for her turn as a sexual predator in Hannah Fidell’s new series for FX on Hulu, “A Teacher.” Though she’s loath to pinpoint precisely what went down on the “Fantastic Four” set, Mara attributed to the toxic environment to sexism.

“The fact of the matter is that my two horrendous experiences with directors were male directors,” she said. “Have I not gotten along with a female director? Absolutely. And was it not the greatest work experience? Sure. But there was never a time that I felt, ‘This is happening because I’m a woman.’ Where with the male directors, it 100 percent was only happening with me; it was a power dynamic thing. “And on both of my bad experiences, the movies were 95 percent men and I was the only woman in the movie.”

She also spoke about the experience with Collider, saying, “The thing that I always go back to on that one is that I think I should have followed my instincts more. Like when my gut was telling me, ‘You probably shouldn’t let that slide, what that person just said,’ or if you’re feeling a certain way about what an energy is like and how that is affecting your performance. You’re being paid to do a certain thing and if something is in the way of that, you have the right to speak up and say, ‘I’m actually not able to do what I am here to do because of X, Y and Z.’”

Still, Mara said she doesn’t regret making “Fantastic Four,” but rather, she does “regret not having stood up for myself. I regret that for sure. Because if my daughter ended up acting and was in a situation like that where she felt like she couldn’t speak up — meanwhile, I’m a pretty tough person and I really do advocate for myself. Granted, this was a few years ago and maybe this situation was different, but if I was in that situation today, it just wouldn’t have happened or it just would have been a different environment I think. So again, good learning experience, you know?”

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