Here’s what went wrong behind the scenes of Fantastic 4


If you were one of the few people to see Fantastic Four over the weekend we’re sorry for you. I went to see it just to see how bad it was, but bought a ticket for Mission: Impossible just so I wouldn’t fund it in any way. It was awful, and it was also blatantly clear that something was amiss as the last half of the film felt completely separate from the first. Kate Mara’s cheap wig gives an easy indication of which scenes were reshoots and its damn near half the movie. Trank, a day before the movie released, Tweeted that a year ago he had a great movie, but it was gone. 

So what happened? Rumors during production said that Trank was a recluse and couldn’t handle the big film so Fox’s producers took over, but during PR for the film Trank and those producers were chummy and denied everything. Trank’s Tweet clearly shows that was all crap. EW did some digging this weekend to see what exactly went wrong and it turns out both director Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox are to blame. First Trank was evidently abusive:

“the rift on set was not about creative differences but rather combative and abusive behavior Trank demonstrated toward the crew, producers, studio and even the stars. It’s partly linked to Trank’s personal disputes – involving accusations of deliberate damage done to the house he was renting, as revenge over a dispite with the landlord – which sources say eventually manifested on set as hostility and frustration from Trank.”

But that anger and tension was created by Fox screwing around with him.

Some who worked on the film say Trank broke, for sure, but was driven to the breaking point by the studio, and that his clash was not with Kinberg but Fox production president Emma Watts. According to several individuals who worked on the movie, the studio delayed casting and script approvals, slashed the budget by tens of millions from what was originally promised during the development phase, and tried to force last-minute script changes to the film just as principal photography was beginning.”

The article goes on like this theorizing that Trank’s lack of experience with major blockbusters could have been an issue and Fox’s want for complete control over the film led to the true downfall of the movie. What is clear is that the movie is not Trank’s at all. He reportedly had three action sequences Fox forced him to remove, Fox wouldn’t give him a finalized script until right before shooting and he couldn’t get the actors he wanted. Of course that’s how it works in Hollywood and Trank needs to learn to roll with the punches if he’s going to step into the ring. Then again, this quote from the article may mean he just didn’t have it:

“But the flip-side from those close to the studio is that Trank’s vision is the one you can see on screens this weekend, and all the struggle and conflict was in service of trying to make the best version of the movie he delivered to them.”

Maybe we were going to get a bad Fantastic Four no matter what. On the plus side this could mean the rights fall to Marvel if Fox can’t get its act together.

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.