ANAHEIM – First thing's first. The new “Fantastic Four” movie is definitely happening. No delays, no recasting. Josh Trank's vision is going to come to fruition. That's the word from the movie's screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg who was on the Baton Rouge, LA set two days ago and reveals that production begins in earnest in two weeks.
Kinberg was at this year's WonderCon to speak primarily about 20th Century Fox's expected blockbuster “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” but he also took a few minutes to talk about Marvel Comics' most famous family. He says the chance to create a “unique tone” is what excites him most about the reboot.
“As Singer created with the original 'X-Men' movies, Christopher Nolan created with the 'Dark Knight' movies, Jon Favreau and Marvel created with the 'Iron Man' movies, all the best superhero franchises – Sam Raimi did it with with 'Spider-Man' – they create a tone and that is the thing that defines them,” Kinberg insists. “It's not the stories that differentiate them from each other. Sometimes the characterizations aren't that distinct. It's that the tone is different and in some ways [that's because of the] lessons learned from the original 'Fantastic Four' movies, but also because of Josh Trank's natural instinct for more realism, for more of a dramatic approach to things. This will definitely be a more realistic, a more gritty, grounded telling of the 'Fantastic Four' and no matter what people think about the cast.”
There has been a lot of surprising backlash to Trank and Fox's somewhat unconventional casting. The criticism over Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch is disappointing and hypocritical by many, but fans have arguably been more upset about Miles Teller as Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm aka The Thing. Kate Mara, playing Susan Storm aka Invisible Woman, has gotten something of a pass. Kinberg clearly thinks some fans are making a mistake judging the choices before they even get a glimpse of the final product.
“There is no denying this is a cast of accomplished young actors,” Kinberg says. “You look at Jamie Bell, Miles Teller who just won Sundance [for 'Whiplash']. Michael B. Jordan who gave one of the best performances of the last year in 'Fruitvale Station' and Kate Mara who was so fantastic in 'House of Cards,' it's not a bubble gum cast. It is a real cast of real actors. which is what we did with the 'X-Men' movies so it will give us that opportunity to create that new, grounded more dramatic tone.”
Will it work? We'll find out when the new “Fantastic Four” hits theaters next year on June 19, 2015.