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Monday, March 4, 2019

Marchopping Block 4: Fant4stic



November of 1961 saw the creation of Marvel Comics “First Family”. Known as the Fantastic Four, the series lead to the creation of the Marvel Universe. Such a massively successful property by today’s standards should be ripe for a movie franchise given the gargantuan success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Such an assumption would be wrong in so many ways, you could write an entire book on it.


Like the X-Men, the movie license to the Fantastic Four is owned by Fox, though they were initially owned by Constantin Film. Since 1992, there have been a total of four films featuring the titular heroes. The first was made by Roger Corman and supposedly never meant to see the light of day; a low-budget fare that for a while only existed in the form of low quality bootlegs.


The second—simply titled “Fantastic Four”—was released in 2005 and directed by Tim Story. Although met with mixed to negative reception, the movie was a massive hit, grossing $330.6 million against a $100 million dollar budget. Two years later, a sequel was released entitled “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”, which was to be followed up with a third film and a spin-off that would center on the titular Silver Surfer. Met with similar reviews and somewhat of a box office success (grossing $290 million against a $130 million dollar budget).


The less-than stellar box office results from Rise of the Silver Surfer led to three things: the cancelation of the planned third film, the cancelation of the spin-off, and a years-long dormancy on the Fantastic Four property. During this time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would come into existence and reshape the superhero genre forever—after which, the House of Mouse bought Marvel. Not wanting to be left out, Fox announced a reboot to the Fantastic Four, which then went silent for several more years.


During this silence, the rights to Daredevil were set to revert back to Marvel, who offered to extend their time hold onto them in exchange for the rights to use cosmic characters such as the aforementioned Silver Surfer and Galactus. Fox refused in what would become a long string of horrible decisions. Marvel on the other hand went on to make the critically acclaimed Netflix television series “Daredevil”.


As for those other horrible decisions, they tie into today’s focus: 2015’s Fant4stic; a movie whose quality can be summed up by just calling it Fant4stic.



A very important foreword: everything you’re going to read here cannot be fully proven. However, numerous sources reported on this leading up to the film’s release and it enough circumstantial evidence exists to believe that at least some of it holds truth to it. With that said, my two primary sources for this entry come in the form of the YouTube channel Midnight’s Edge and their “Trankgate” series, and a forum post from the now defunct IMDb forums; a user by the name of TrollInTheDungeon having compiled every rumor into a few long posts. Most of the claims will be taken from the latter’s posts as it’s the most cohesive and easy to follow, so all credit goes to him. With that said, let’s dive into this mess.


After 2012 film Chronicle—which in of itself supposedly had troubles on set (more on that by the end)—proved to be a sleeper hit, director Josh Trank was hired to helm the reboot to the Fantastic Four. Along with this, Fox announced a competing universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring the X-Men and Fantastic Four. In 2013, Matthew Vaughn was brought on to produce the film and Simon Kinberg was attached as a screenwriter.


However, it wouldn’t be until 2014 and mere weeks before filming was scheduled to start  that a cast would be announced. It’d also be an announcement that would cause the first of numerous outcries from fans of the Fantastic Four. Miles Teller was cast as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm, and Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. The outrage at the casting was directed at all four, though the one to receive the most attention was the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm.


Prior to the official announcement of the casting, there had been rumors swirling that Jordan had gotten the part without anyone else being tested for the role. This was due to Trank wanting him to get the part as he was friends with him and Jordan had starred in Chronicle. As such, Jordan was cast some time before the other three. What remained the same, both while it was a rumor and when it was made official was the labeling of any dissenters as racists. While there were some who did dislike the choice for the color of Jordan’s skin, many more were angered at the blatant nepotism on display.


The reception to Jordan’s casting only worsened when during an interview, he was quoted as saying that “fans will go see [the movie] anyway.” Compounding this were rumors that the team wouldn’t even be called the Fantastic Four, and Jordan was quoted as saying that the team’s original costumes were “cheesy”, and when Kate Mara stated that she and the rest of the cast were told not to read the comics. Shortly after, Jordan would claim that there were rewrites happening on the fly while filming.


The controversial casting and the questionable comments from the cast were miniscule compared to what was going on behind the scenes however. Before shooting began, there were reports going around that Fox wanted to fire Trank, dump the cast, and get rid of the script. Not only that, but Fox had been meeting with various directors to do just that, but the ever looming deadline to begin production on a Fantastic Four film put those plans in jeopardy. Not desiring to lose another Marvel license, Fox canned those plans and put on a show of confidence by dating a sequel for June of 2017.


Wal-Mart's really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

In May of 2014, principal photography began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Beyond that however, nothing about the film surfaced; nothing at San Diego Comic Con 2014 (in spite of footage of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice being shown), no teaser poster, absolutely nothing. Fox claimed to be taking the “J.J. Abrams mystery box route”, though most scoffed at this. For his part, Simon Kinberg said that he doesn’t want to show anything until it looks “right”. Right would take until January of 2015, a mere seven months before release.


There was plenty of pre-release content to sate the appetites of those following the film between May and January however. There were numerous rumors and an exorbitant amount of hear-say regarding happenings on set. But before we get to that, let’s go over the hear-say surrounding the film itself.


For starters: Josh Trank, who had a reputation for being an extremely unpleasant man to talk to on social media, though numerous fake Twitter accounts claiming to belong to Trank popped up. The stark difference between those and the real one were the fake ones interacted with fans in a civil man. As for the real Trank, he decided to get back at all of the haters on Twitter by tweeting out a picture of his dog’s butthole. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on who you are), nobody got a screenshot of this tweet before it was taken down. After this, Trank’s account was deleted. Despite this, he would eventually return to Twitter.

As for the film itself: the legendary Doctor Doom, who was the villain of the first Tim Story film and was featured in Rise of the Silver Surfer, was announced to be the main villain. Unlike the those films however, he was set to use Doombots. To make up for this new addition, Doom’s costume would later leak and was universally despised by comic fans from Heaven to Hell. The villain of Mole Man was also rumored to appear, but he ultimately didn’t. There was also a rumor that Doom was to be reimagined as a blogger named “Victor Domashev” who had social issues. While this didn’t end up happening, it remained a very prominent rumor for most of the time leading up to the film’s release and to this day it remains one of the most widely despised reimaginings to any super villain, even if it wasn’t made.


As for the film’s tone, one needs to not look further than the quotes from the cast that have been mentioned. The “cheesy” remarks on the costumes and being told to not read the comics bring about an air of uncertainty to what exactly this film is trying. Not helping matters was when Miles Teller said in an interview that the movie wasn’t being “with the fans in mind”. He then very quickly walked back on that claim and said it was “being made for older fans” of the Fantastic Four. This was made even more baffling when it came out that the film was inspired by the Ultimate universe’s version of the Fantastic Four, which isn’t help in very high regard. Compounding this all was a statement made that the film would be more “grounded, realistic, and gritty”. It’s also described as being like Trank’s previous film, Chronicle, which was a found footage film. This all clashes with the generally more upbeat tone the Fantastic Four comics bear.


Trank also scored a job to direct a Star Wars anthology film with Simon Kinberg attached to write it. More on this later.


With all of that said: let’s get to the rumors on set. I once again must stress that all of what you’re about to read is merely in the territory of rumor and much of this information is also listed in Troll’s IMDb post. I’m merely parroting it as going over each one one after another would take forever.


Josh Trank is said to have caused over one hundred thousand dollars in damage to the home he was renting—with some also stating that he damaged the sets that were built. In response, he blamed the damage on his two small dogs, though the damage to the walls, chairs, and defaced family portraits make more than a few raise their eyebrows. Fox CEO Jim Gianopulos personally flew down to the set to apologize to the owner.


Trank was supposedly absent several times and when he was on set, he was high on drugs, the most commonly mentioned being cocaine; a mysterious, shady man who’d visit the set being the supplier. Trank wasn’t the only one to be high as a kite on set though, Miles Teller and another unnamed crew member were both said to have been high during filming, the latter unnamed person having been a former addict who had to go back to rehab after filming. Trank was also said to have been unintelligible and extremely rude, at one point bringing Kate Mara to tears after screaming at her. On another occasion, Trank nearly got into a fist fight with Teller. Ironically, it was Trank who wanted Teller to get the role of Reed Richards.


There were claims that appeared on Reddit that stated that Trank was prone to making sexist remarks and had an inflated sense of self worth; one individual stating that at the time of filming, Fox had plans to file a lawsuit against Trank. However, these plans were later dropped as Fox didn’t want to go through the long drawn out legal process and writer/producer Simon Kinberg made it a habit to repeatedly state in interviews that the film was “Trank’s vision”.


In one of the more peculiar rumors, Trank was said to have not interacted with the case. Instead, he directed them from within a tent and via a monitor. He was also said to have instructed the cast on when to breathe to have them give the most wooden and emotionless performances possible. Some see this as an act of deliberate sabotage by Trank, while others see it as a drugged up junkie fumbling his way through the process of filming.


However, some claim that Trank wasn’t even the one directing. One rumor claims that it was Simon Kinberg was ghost directing the film, with Matthew Vaughn assisting. Given the clumsy directing on display in the final cut, one can only fathom was 2019’s “Dark Phoenix” will be like.


While all of this is going on: the folks back at Fox were reportedly none too pleased by Trank’s antics on set. Rumors began to swirl that there were “extensive” reshoots planned. Simon Kinberg would later claim it was a “few weeks of pick up shoots”, though numerous rumors claimed that the reshoots lasted “months”. On top of that, Matthew Vaughn was once again supposedly brought on to assist, this time being pulled away from the then-filming X-Men: Apocalypse. Some have theorized that Vaughn’s lack of input while that was filming resulted in Apocalypse’s mediocre quality. To top it all off: Josh Trank was supposedly not in control of these reshoots.


While the rumors swirled that Trank was going to be barred from directing reshoots, another rumor popped up that Trank had outright stopped answering any and all phone calls he got from Fox, which may or may not have directly lead to a supposed email from the Sony hack of 2014 where a Fox representative told a Sony representative that Trank is “bad news” to work with. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, another Fox representative allegedly said the movie was “a mess”.


All of these rumors proved to be more than Fox could handle and while they repeatedly stated that reshoots would be “only a few days”, few took them seriously. Seldom does a film become the subject to this many rumors of trouble on set and seldom do these rumors arise from a little known forum. Of course, that’s all these are: rumors. Nobody can prove them and unless it comes out in the future in a tell-all book that these are the truth, that’s all they ever will be. It’s up to you to decide.


It is worth mentioning that instances of films suffering from trouble on set like this isn’t unheard of. The Island of Doctor Moreau had an extremely strenuous shoot and is often cited as one of the worst film shoots in history. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the rumors I mentioned are indeed fact, but the actors and other crew members are under a gag order for some period of time to prevent Fox’s stock from being hurt.


That said, the crazy train doesn’t stop here. In fact, it’s only just beginning. When the first trailer for Fant4stic dropped, it quickly became the most disliked superhero movie trailer that anyone had seen in some time. However, it did renew some hope that this movie would be at the least passable. Still, Simon Kinberg and Josh Trank did a commentary on the trailer, which isn’t unheard of, though many saw this as a piss poor attempt at damage control. This was also one of the many, many times—be it an interview or a Q&A—where Simon Kinberg was the one doing most of the work when it came to promoting Fant4stic. While Trank was a part of this quote unquote commentary, he mumbled his way through the video and rarely made eye contact with the camera or Kinberg; appearing to be disconnected emotionally from reality and in his own emotionally dead bubble. This lead some to believe he was on some sort of controlled substance. There also exist theories that Trank and Kinberg filmed this commentary separately and the two commentaries were edited together.


While the rumor mill swirled like a windmill near a tornado, the 2015 Star Wars Celebration Anaheim panel was noticeably short one director. Namely, Josh Trank. Although scheduled to show up, Trank stated on Twitter that he was combatting a bad bout of the flu and thus couldn’t make it. As such, Gareth Edwards had the floor to showcase a trailer for Rogue One a few times. As for Trank, it would later be revealed that Disney asked him to sit the event out. Later, Trank dropped out of the project despite him having originally called it an “incredible dream”. Trank stated that the stress from the backlash he got from Fant4stic (which he’d later contradict himself by saying that he “embraced it” and “wanted it”) made him desire to focus on smaller projects.


Some have speculated that the reason for Trank’s departure (or firing in the eyes of others) wasn’t just due to the numerous rumors surrounding him on the set for Fant4stic. Some believe that Simon Kinberg had no desire to work with Trank again and asked Disney to remove Trank from the project, having had more than enough of his antics for one lifetime.


Likely as a means of deflecting from Trank’s questionable departure, Fox released a second trailer for Fant4stic. The footage here was better received better than the first trailer, though still garnered a bit of criticism from dissenters. What most agreed on was something that Kinberg had been enthusiastic about when the film first began filming: 3D. While not filmed in 3D, Kinberg had stated that the story they were going to tell was one that would have benefited immensely from the format.


However, with this trailer, the “see it in 3D” stinger was replaced with “see it in large format theaters”, which is slang for “see it in lesser IMAX”. Many also noticed that Fox had gone the Solid Snake route and edited out the message from the first poster. As it would turn out, the 3D conversion was indeed scrapped, likely due to the money needed to fund that instead being used for the ridiculously long reshoots which went into May of 2015; officially making the reshoot period longer than the initial filming of the movie. Those reshoots make the $122 million dollar budget that The Hollywood Reporter revealed more realistically around the $180 million dollar range. That’s not counting the printing and advertising costs either.


As the release date to Fant4stic began looming closer, the rumors and damage control kept coming. The cast of the movie would typically dodge or weasel their way out of answering questions. Meanwhile, Josh Trank referred to Sue Storm as a “slutty secretary” in some of the comics; and was blamed by The Hollywood Reporter for being uncommunicative, high as a kite on drugs, and being the one responsible for the property damage at the house he was renting while filming. Topping things off was that Trank was being kicked off of post-production of the film, to which Chronicle screenwriter and son of legendary director John Landis, Max Landis, tweets out “karma”. He went on to deny that he was referring to Trank.


As mentioned at the start of this blog, it was reported that Trank’s first film, Chronicle, had its fair share of trouble. A reporter tweeted out that Trank being locked out of the editing bay wasn’t anything unusual; he had been locked out while Chronicle was in post-production and Fox brought on another person to edit the movie. This didn’t sit well with Trank as he supposedly threatened the reporter with physical violence. The reporter later retracted their claim and several other reporters told other reporters to not say anything negative about Trank.


Meanwhile, post-production of Fant4stic supposedly included several members of the crew for X-Men: Apocalypse. As stated before, it’s believed that Simon Kinberg ghost directed the film along with Matthew Vaughn, but a new name enters the fray: Hutch Parker, who’s a frequent collaborator with Kinberg. In spite of these claims, the only person to ever deny that there was another director is Josh Trank, who went on to compare John Byrne to Derek Vinyard over Twitter.


Also on Twitter was writer Seth Grahame-Smith, who we can all thank for the brilliant work of literature known as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. He stated that he wrote the draft of the screenplay that changed the race of Johnny Storm. This confirmed that there were, at the least, four different writers that worked on the screenplay to this movie. This tweet also didn’t fly well with Jeremy Slater, who also worked on the screenplay.


One of the most peculiar events related to this film came in the form of a 4chan thread on the /co/ board (Comics and Cartoons). This thread began with a summary from someone who’d been at OTOY, which was handling the CGI for the film. The poster listed off their grievances with Trank which went as follows:


Don't want to say too much about how I have these nor can I actually post them without giving away proof. I worked on pre-viz artwork based on these and decided that I'd just post some random things because no really noticed. The scripts themselves are watermarked beyond hell with the company name and each has a specific number assigned so there's no way in hell I'm posting anything. The only think I can say without giving it away is that I work for a company that Trank specifically chose and that he's been a headache for us, we use cloud rendering to do motion capture and rendering, and we've worked on several other films but he expected us to push high quality stuff when really we've been 3rd or 4th in line for most of the stuff we do and focus more on digian and game rendering. Things are constantly changing, I'm not working on that anymore so I only have these.


some minor points of contention that I do know about:
-Trank wants the Thing to be big, we tried to stay consistent in size, but he will randomly send notes saying "he has to be bigger here."
so his size is more or less dependent from one scene to the next.
-The think is naked, he has a but, but no rocks on the front to express genitals. He does wear shorts near the end when Reed gives his hero save the day speech.
-We will send him updated effects animations and not hear from him for days or at one point a week and a half for a major scene only to get an email saying we need to change basically everything
-Right now we are twiddling our thumbs because word from the high ups is this:
-The effects they paid for is all they're getting. Anything more, they get more pay, we already did way too much for this; and his inability to be happy will probably ruin the chance of us working with Fox again as they seem to side with him on everything.
-Most of the effects shots are done, but they're not rendered at 4k but in the proofing size of 1.5k


-We've done 4 major films but not a lot of effects work on that
-MP is doing some work as well, don't know about them.
-We focus on mainly video game rendering and software for that but also do some film effects because our software is pretty cool
-Trank picked us our software was used for a few Infamous commercial shorts and we had word that WETA and MP would also be doing most of the work.
- I'm on a project now involving a GPU maker that's all I can say specifically
- Not completely up to date but if the reshoots require any effects beyond minor clean ups then we cannot do them in time (the rumour around here)
- a 3D conversion was supposed to be done by WETA will now either not happen due to a 3 month window, or all of our footage will handed off to Legendary and we're done with it.


While posters were going back and forth with the OTOY employee, another poster—one who was extremely defensive—entered the fray: one who claimed to be the real Josh Trank. His post went ask follows:


and you can't even spell, being hired to write and direct a star wars movie and then leaving because of creative differences is more than you will ever accomplish in your life. You're the one arguing online about how a guy is now black and how drawings aren't wearing a 4 on their uniforms. This is a family for the new age and if you can't see that it's the best story that could be told then you're fucking blinded by hate. Yeah, go ahead, report this to whoever you want CBM, CM, who cares, they're all trashmags anyways and no is going to believe a bunch of idiots who post on the most vile and hated site on the internet while talking about shit some guy who is going to get fired decided to post.


Hope all you fucking haters are happy, you're going to destroy something beautiful all because of fucking hate.


In response to that post, a user stated the following:


So you really are Frank.


Seriously, admit you fucked up and stop being a faggot. Seriously, you want to keep working I. Hollywood? Admit you created a streaming pile of shit and apologize for raping the Fantastic Four and take your justified criticism like a man and not a worthless pot smoking loser who can't even make his dogs not shit in the house


To which the user claiming to be Trank stated:


Apologize? Fuck you.


Attached to this image was the following picture.




We’ll get back to this image in a bit. For now, let’s focus on Trank’s response to the following post:


>reverse image search
>this might actually be real


If this is real then Trank you really are a pathetic failure. How does it feel knowing you made a worse FF movie than the 2005 version. How does it feel knowing you'll never work again? How does it feel to be despised not just by an anonymous comic fanbase, but the entire movie and comicbook industries because of your arrogant incompetence.


Our dearest Josh Trank responded as follows:


>How does it feel to be despised not just by an anonymous comic fanbase, but the entire movie and comicbook industries because of your arrogant incompetence.
Hated? I have fucking Fox begging me to sign on for another two Fantastic Four movies, another Chronicle, and WB offering a 4 year first look. Don't believe what you read online and just because something isn't accurate to a book doesn't mean it's not an interesting story. When I talked to Stan and Mark about the FF take they loved it, Simon loved it. The only thing stopping it is fucks like the CG guy and other haters and conspirators trying to tank this just to get some stupid fictional characters back.

In response, another user (or the same one; such is the nature of 4chan’s anonymity) said:


>stupid fictional characters
This is why we hate you Josh. Your 'vision' for these characters shows that you dont give a shit about them. Their history, their design or their legacy. You made them young too appeal to young people, you made johnny black to appeal to the media and to black people (also i suspect to stir up easy controversy). You ripped most of the trailer shots from Interstellar. You're a hack, boasting about his flimsy accomplishments on the internet and i hope this film tanks so we never see you again.


Trank replied ripping into those higher up.


>Your 'vision' for these characters shows that you dont give a shit about them. Their history, their design or their legacy.
You're right it's my vision, lets be 100% honest here, it is my vision Fox hired me to do my vision and to make sure they get a quality film and they're getting both; since day one people have created rumors and lies about me and my film going from found footage to me tearing up that house. Was I distant? Yeah. I was, if you were on the set of a huge film with Mathew Vaughn and half of Fox breathing down your neck to deliver a film on a specific date and to rush through everything you'd do everything possible. Yeah, I wanted to extend the boundries; FX supervisor got OTOY to do some good quality work which looked great in the dailies but not what I wanted. Look okay, here's what I'm trying to say if you want your fantastic four, if you want the real first family, if you want Doom ruler of Latveria, if you want Frank and Val Richards if you want the power cosmic or even the bombastic bagman then yeah my story isn't for you but at the end of the day they still exist in your heart and in your mind and in the pages of marvel comics I was hired to write and direct a film and to make it what I thought would be a new way to do it and so I decided instead of playing it safe to go all out to go scifi space and body horror because thats been done so few times. You can tell any story with these characters and some are light hearted and some are dark but honestly since issue one when they fought the mole man Reed Richards and Co were afraid of being freaks afraid of what to do in life and completely unsure of how to deal with it and I loved that aspect the people who have powers but are completely afraid; these are early days for the four they're not even the four yet and they never call themselves that but they for sure are the first family just a different one; this is Earth-Fox not Earth-616.


Once more, a user replied.


>Yeah. I was, if you were on the set of a huge film with Mathew Vaughn


I thought you said he wasn't on set, "Trank"


Trank’s response:


He's not but as a producer, you have guys breathing down your neck to make it. Once you reach that level you stop noticing what it takes to make a film unless it's yours. Like I saw him do Kingsman and he was super chill and it was completely different because every night every wrap it was "How much did you get are you behind Why aren't you doing this" and honestly I swear if this shit ends up anywhere I'm gonna kill you people but I'm high enough to not give a fuck. Vaughn is great when he's not your boss and Simon, well, Simon is a dick that just wants to hold onto "his" characters no matter what like this movie comes out he gets an extension for another two year automatically same with X-men, those aren't vaughns characters or Bryan's they're like in his mind they're his characters and even then when he wrote the first draft of the script it was like it was the first FF film all over it was all grounded and the only thing there was the teleporter then I wanted to do something cosmic or at least a bit different but no its just weird to deal with someone who thinks he owns these characters and who wants to keep them to himself honestly when I did my draft I removed that x-men I told him I wanted the Four to be on their own because honestly it's almost like telling him these aren't yours these are whoever creates this story and so there's the Chronicle crystals and Annihilus. Whoever does this after another four years will put their spin on it might be classic might be more extreme. I don't want to hate you guys but from day one Ive tried to tell simon and fox that they wanted my version they get and they aren't characters they own they're names they bought and that there's an infinite universe out there for these guys Reed practically discovered it; who knows he might even meet old Reed in something. Now I'm taking an xan and going to rush out. But seriously it just seems like all these fucking just want to take shit away and bash this and fuck me


He's not but as a producer, you have guys breathing down your neck to make it. Once you reach that level you stop noticing what it takes to make a film unless it's yours. Like I saw him do Kingsman and he was super chill and it was completely different because every night every wrap it was "How much did you get are you behind Why aren't you doing this" and honestly I swear if this shit ends up anywhere I'm gonna kill you people but I'm high enough to not give a fuck. Vaughn is great when he's not your boss and Simon, well, Simon is a dick that just wants to hold onto "his" characters no matter what like this movie comes out he gets an extension for another two year automatically same with X-men, those aren't vaughns characters or Bryan's they're like in his mind they're his characters and even then when he wrote the first draft of the script it was like it was the first FF film all over it was all grounded and the only thing there was the teleporter then I wanted to do something cosmic or at least a bit different but no its just weird to deal with someone who thinks he owns these characters and who wants to keep them to himself honestly when I did my draft I removed that x-men I told him I wanted the Four to be on their own because honestly it's almost like telling him these aren't yours these are whoever creates this story and so there's the Chronicle crystals and Annihilus. Whoever does this after another four years will put their spin on it might be classic might be more extreme. I don't want to hate you guys but from day one Ive tried to tell simon and fox that they wanted my version they get and they aren't characters they own they're names they bought and that there's an infinite universe out there for these guys Reed practically discovered it; who knows he might even meet old Reed in something. Now I'm taking an xan and going to rush out. But seriously it just seems like all these fucking just want to take shit away and bash this and fuck me


One final post I’ll mention is Trank’s answer to this question:


If this is Trank, can we ask some serious questions? Trolling aside,
>Did you cause damage to the house they rented for you?
>Did you ever show up to meetings/the set while on drugs?
>Did you piss off the entire crew?
>Are you sad that you won't get to tell your star wars story?


To which Trank replied:


I caused some damage, my dogs didn't do that much they tore up some carpet, but I'm not leaving my pets away from home while I'm Baton filming a movie. I drew on the on the walls the actually damage I don't want discuss but a new director on a big set there's a lot of issues and hazing


I never did coke i have a perscription for Alprazolam and luvox and honestly I started really dosing myself with the Alprazolam things were changing everyday are we x-universe are we not why am I not allowed to have it lit this way what do you mean this was too scary etc


if i pissed them off it was only because i had to do a hundred things in a row to get it right enough everyone to seem happy


I am but at the sametime I feel like with my ideas about star wars as great as itd be there's only one star wars for me and thats the original trilogy anything else while yeah it takes place in that universe its more or less just speculation I imagined it being a cool bounty hunter heist moving involving the Black Sun and focusing on some other minor characters because growing up when I was after the originals the only thing left was Shadows of the Empire and that left an impression on me that there was someone as cool as Han Solo who was "a good guy" like Dash Randar and wanted to like a big bounty hunt on Xizor's head with Dash and the Outrider after the fall of the Empire


The entirety of this thread, which includes early versions of the scripts, can be read here. As for the Trank posts, some believed them while others don’t. Umberto “El Mayimbe” Gonzalez, who once worked at Latino Review, tweeted out, “Josh Trank done lost his mind” in response to the posts.


As for the image of Trank, it was proven to be a photoshop.


Not only that, but the real Trank posted a similar picture on Twitter.




As for where the photoshop came from, it was from an interview around the time Chronicle came out.


However, despite that being faked, there was something that Fox saw as damaging as they ordered a cease and desist on any outlet that attempted to report on the 4chan thread. Another 4chan poster shortly after the previous thread claimed that the leaked drafts were in fact true and that one draft from January of 2014 was revised in March “to be less expensive”. However, whether Fox’s censoring of articles was due to the script leaks, the OTOY employee, or the possibility that Trank was the poster and that he merely photoshopped his head onto someone else to hide the fact that he was on there remains unknown.


As the time for release drew nearer, rumors emerged that Fox was eyeballing Bryan Singer to direct a sequel, along with a possible crossover between the X-Men and Fantastic Four. This would be unlikely due to the legal hoops that Fox would have to go through to get that made. Though with them now being owned Disney, I guess that wouldn’t be such a difficult task.


Meanwhile, Josh Trank holds the interview where he mentions anticipating controversy. He also mentions he suffered from gynecomastia as a child and had man boobs. This was a necessary thing to state and in no way gave me a mental image I didn’t need, but I felt you needed it because if I have to suffer, so do you.


Just add on 100 or so pounds. Go on, I believe in you!

Meanwhile, a secondhand account from someone who claims to have worked on the film states that it was Matthew Vaughn who was in charge of post-production. They went on to stay that those who were editing the film were instructed to ignore any and all of Trank’s wishes. These included the dark, edgy, body horror take. Rather, they were told to just edit together a standard superhero film. Also excluded is “Victor Domashev”, which—if the character ever existed—was confirmed to not be in the movie at San Diego Comic Con 2015. Instead, it’s just Victor Von Doom. This doesn’t change anything in the long run as Doom is once again butchered as a character in the final film six ways from Sunday. Also at SDCC is the confirmation that the 3D conversion is canceled; Trank stating it was for artistic reasons and totally not because the reshoots lasted longer than the actual filming of the film.


The film’s final trailer, along with a variant, are put online a few days after SDCC ends. They’re met with terrible reception and worst of all, they’re released by the trailers for both Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad. On top of that, AMC revealed the final run time as an hour and forty-seven minutes. This is significantly shorter than the two hour and twenty minute epic that Trank had desired. On a brighter note, the Star Wars film that Trank was set to direct is delayed to 2020, while the film slated for release then is set to 2018. Even better: Phil Lord and Chris Miller are slated to direct. This creates an unparalleled level of excitement in the Star Wars fandom that is no way, shape, or form can backfire on Disney.


After the release of the oh-so fantastically received final trailer, several TV spots air. They include a painfully obvious greenscreen, scenes that aren’t fully rendered, a tank that disappears after an explosion (this scene was not in the final cut of the film), and a shot where part of Johnny Storm’s flames vanish for a split second. None of these effects were any better once the film was finished, which was a mere week before release.


On August 6th, Josh Trank tweeted out the following photo.




Box office analysts estimate that this one tweet likely cost Fox ten million dollars for the opening weekend domestic grossing. Not that that would’ve exactly made up for anything given the final grossing still cost Fox upwards of eighty million dollars. Meanwhile, the film would end up in the long run with a 9% on Rottentomatoes. This is one of the lowest scores any superhero film has ever earned and is lower than the likes of Batman and Robin, which holds a 10%. This includes the average rating, with Batman and Robin having a 3.7/10 and Fant4stic having a 3.47/10. It also earned a CinemaScore of a C-, the worst rating for any superhero film ever in the life of CinemaScore. Fox’s stock also plummeted by six dollars before stabilizing by three dollars a few days later. It was still three dollars lower nonetheless.


While the reviews continued to pour in, so to did rumors. One rumor stated that upwards of 40 pages of the film’s script were rewritten. It’s generally stated that one page to a script equals a minute of screentime, which would mean that almost half of the film was rewritten. It was also rumored that Trank’s original material was “beyond salvaging” and that Trank sent out an email to some cast members saying that he thought the final cut of the movie was “better than 99% of any other superhero movies on the market.” In response, one cast member stated, “I don’t think so.” This may or may not have been Miles Teller, who tweeted out “And I thought I was having a bad week” after Geno Smith of the New York Jets was injured.


Two anonymous Fox employees were also quoted as saying the following about the film.


“[It was] ill-conceived, made for the wrong reasons, and there was no vision behind the property. Say what you will about Marvel, but they have a vision. [Fox] were 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.”


“How do you ask someone to take over half of a movie shot by someone else? You either hire somebody desperate for work or you [start over], write off pretty much the whole budget and lose the cast.”


On the non-rumor side of things, Fox stated that the Fantastic Four and X-Men are in separate universes. Collider also came to Trank’s defense by stating that it was Fox that botched up the film and that they ordered Trank to remove three major action scenes.


As for salvaging the film, it was reported that Drew Goddard was brought on to a “dream team”, which included Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker. Should the rumors be true that Kinberg ghost directed the film, then that should spell Domashev for Dark Phoenix.


Said dream team had to give the film an ending as Trank didn’t film one. Exactly how one manages to do such a thing is a mystery in of itself. Nevertheless, when the dream team came to be, the special effects supervisor was fired.


Meanwhile, while the film continued to bomb like it was World War II, members of the film’s crew came out and stated that Fox should be held accountable just as Josh Trank has been. While not directly in response, copies of the Fant4stic would then go on to appear on piracy websites and even on YouTube. In response, Fox would take several days to file a DMCA report against those on YouTube.


It’s also revealed that Trank’s abusive behavior towards Kate Mara was due to the studio wanting her in the role, which Trank wanted someone else. This is ironic considering his desire to have Miles Teller as Reed Richards and that turned out just dandy.


The last thing of note and one that I personally find amusing is Tommy Wiseau, the director of the infamous film “The Room”, stated that he’d love to direct a sequel if it ever happened. A shame that’ll never happen.


That’s the story of Fant4stic: a film that was doomed from the start thanks to the greed of Fox and its reluctance to simply give up. While from a corporate standpoint it makes sense that nobody would want to be seen as the person who let a bitter rival get a hold of something they could turn into a billion dollar franchise, Fox has proven time and again they don’t get the characters of either the X-Men or the Fantastic Four. While the former is an extremely popular franchise on its own, ask any fan of the comics and they’ll tell you the films are awful. But ask them how Fox’s Fantastic Four films are and they’ll likely start foaming at the mouth.


Of those involved in the film, most of the careers will survive, save for Josh Trank. Whether or not his career can recover will depend on solely on his next film, Fonzo, which centers on the final years of the infamous mobster Al Capone. However, Trank seems to have done all he can to distance himself from Fant4stic, as evidenced by this tweet

2 comments:

  1. Tyler "Bio" RodriguezMarch 4, 2019 at 9:25 PM

    Man to think this was half a decade ago. And his new movie still has no release date. I somehow doubt he can ever get out of movie prison. Ironically Bryan Singer is probably in that same movie jail now.

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  2. Never thought I'd use this word... But this describes it perfectly. Clusterfuck. Or to put it in more lengthy and colorful terms... it'd be like watching a really bad mime start coughing and fuck up his act, so you chuckle because he mucked up badly, and he just starts sobbing and breaking down, and its just pitiful.

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