What’s Fox doing with their new Fantastic Four? Willis as CGI Thing?

08.30.10 7 years ago 20 Comments

20th Century Fox

The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether you care about a Fantastic Four movie at all.  Do you like the characters?  Do you like the films that already exist?  Do you want to see another version of the material?  In a world where “The Incredibles” exists, do we need anyone to keep trying to make a Fantastic Four movie in live-action?

20th Century Fox certainly isn’t going to give up on the idea of the franchise, but they are going to reboot.  Right now, “Fantastic Four Reborn” is the game plan.  And although there’s been nothing like a formal announcement, there’s plenty of speculation and rumor out there right now, gaining enough critical mass through re-reporting that it has to be addressed.

Comic Book Movie is a very, very young site, and the rumors they’re running right now are just rumors.  Unproven.  Until we see real progress on the film, take whatever you’re hearing as part of the “wish list” phase of movie rumors, when fansites run rumors that are more about what they want than what they know.

Case in point:  casting for any new “Fantastic Four” movie is still quite a way off.  There are steps happening between now and then that will be news, milestones that will indicate we’re getting close to real news about the film.  Hiring a director would be one of those milestones, and they haven’t done that yet.  There are rumors about names like Joe Carnahan, David Yates, and James McTeigue supposedly in the running, and I’d be shocked if the list didn’t contain those names, frankly.  That’s exactly the sort of filmmaker Fox would hire for these films.  Yates is going to be hugely in-demand after the last two “Potter” films are released, and Carnahan and McTeigue are both guys who make exactly the sort of movie that Fox likes.  I’m willing to bet there are a whoooooole lotta lists being written full of filmmaker’s names.

The rumors of Stephen Moyer as Dr. Doom strike me as particularly funny considering who played Dr. Doom last time around.  Julian McMahon was riding some buzz for his work on (at that point) the early seasons of “Nip/Tuck,” a culty sexy soapy cable hit.  So now the new pick for Dr. Doom is a dude from “True Blood”… a culty sexy soapy cable hit?  Really?

Someone at Fox is watching a lot of TV with one hand on the remote, evidently.

There are other rumors involving Alice Eve and Adrien Brody and Kevin Pennington Kiefer Sutherland, and I don’t know… none of it sounds right to me.  It may well prove to be true, but if that’s how Fox plans to get people excited about seeing this series again, why bother?

If we’re talking seriously about what we could want from “Fantastic Four Reborn,” one would be to lose that marketing logo title, and two would be dependent on what happens with “X-Men: First Class,” evidently, since that’s taking the mutant series back to the ’60s.  If there is any Marvel series that demands a transposition to that era, it’s “Fantastic Four,” and always has been.  Doing that film set in the period, in the optimistic Kennedy “Mad Men” space race era, seems crucial to me.  It’s one of the things that is built into the appeal of the series in its early days.  They were a spacegoing family, and something went wrong.  That’s a dream of a particular age, and I think there’s something about the pop optimism of the age that would make the film so much more appealing.

The big rumor since Comic-Con has been that the Thing will be rendered 100% CGI this time, which is probably what they should have been doing since the very beginning.  I think they know that the time has come to render the character in a way that makes him outrageous, bigger than life.  Again… the same single source has named Bruce Willis as a rumor, and it at least raises the question… do you want a giant movie star like Willis doing the voice?  Right now, Fox is making “Rise Of The Apes” using Andy Serkis and other performers in motion-capture performances, and that seems to me to be the right idea… using people who are great at giving these types of next-generation performances, people who know the tech and who can be free with it.  Do you need a Willis to sell “Fantastic Four” at this point, or is the book the thing you’re selling?

And if we’re starting rumors based on the things we wish were true, can I start the campaign to get Paul Rudd hired as Mr. Fantastic?

We’ll have more on this one as there are real things happening, things that can be confirmed by something other than the rumor echo chamber.  Until then, consider this all permission to speculate and little more.

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