While developing 2015’s Fantastic Four for Fox, Josh Trank made a bold move when he used his clout from the success of Chronicle to push for Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm in the reboot. The decision to cast an African-American actor as a white comic book character was controversial at the time, but in a new interview, Trank reveals that he wanted to push the casting envelope even further.
While talking to Geeks of Color, Trank says that his original plan was for the Storm family to be entirely black. While he got his way with Jordan as Johnny and Reg E. Cathey as Franklin Storm, the director noticed he was getting a lot of “pretty heavy pushback” when it came to casting a black actress for Sue Storm. Ultimately, the role went to Kate Mara, and Trank regrets not walking away as the situation unfolded.
Via Comic Book:
“When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that sort of realization hit me and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t, just out of principle, because those aren’t the values that I stand for in my own life and those weren’t the values then, or ever, for me. Because I’m somebody who always talks about standing up for what I believe in, even if it means burning my career up, and I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I felt like I failed in that regard, but that was a weird, unfortunate situation, I don’t know how else to put it.”
While Trank didn’t get the racially diverse Johnny and Sue that he was hoping for, he found himself under significant fire regardness. In a lengthy profile in Polygon, Trank recently opened up about how he started sleeping with a gun after receiving online death threats while filming Fantastic Four in New Orleans. That experience on top of his grueling behind-the-scenes battles led to Trank disappearing from Hollywood for years before returning with his Tom Hardy vehicle, Capone.