Director Of The Infamously Terrible Fantastic Four Movie Reveals Exactly What Went Wrong

There have been plenty of bad superhero movies, but it would be difficult to find one that went down in flames in a more spectacularly public way than the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot. The night before the film hit theaters, director Josh Trank, who was a hot commodity at the time thanks to the success of his first film, Chronicle, took to Twitter to explain that the final version of the film had little to do with his vision.

“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though,” the tweet read.

The tweet was prompted by early reviews panning Fantastic Four, and, unsurprisingly, just made the internet’s negative reaction louder and more confused. But beneath the anger and general schadenfreude, there was one prevalent question being asked: What could have possibly gone so wrong?

Now, five years after Fantastic Four’s release and subsequent bombing, Trank is ready to open up about just that. In a profile with Polygon, Trank shed some light on his side of the incident.

“The trials of developing Fantastic Four had everything to do with tone. You could take the most ‘comic booky’ things, as far as just names and faces and identities and backstories, and synthesize it into a tone. And the tone that [then co-writer Jeremy Slater] was interested in was not a tone that I felt I had anything in common with.”

Trank goes on to cite on-set tensions between him and virtually everyone involved in the production, singling out his own lack of experience as a point of contention. “In a studio scenario, you’re basically being surrounded by veterans who are going to do a hell of a job doing exactly what it is that they do, because it’s not your movie. You didn’t come up with it. You didn’t create these characters. You didn’t create this property. […] I was aware of the protocol, but I wasn’t really asking.”

He explained that the first cut of Fantastic Four was “not for fans,” but that “that was the goal.” It was this fundamental difference of opinion that lead to the reshoots and the studio’s scramble to create something viable out of the material Trank had cut together. According to Polygon, Fox had multiple writers enter the project for the reshoots who were never in contact with Trank, and that all of the director’s own attempts at putting his voice back in the project were ignored. Eventually, editor Stephen Rivkin was brought in to ghost-direct the new material. “They really do pay attention to what people are saying on Twitter. They look at that and they say, ‘[…] people are freaked out about how it’s not going to be funny. So we need to spend $10 million to do a comedy rewrite.'”

These factors ultimately resulted in a movie that Trank believed was entirely out of his hands. “You’re standing there, and you’re basically watching producers blocking out scenes, five minutes ahead of when you get there, having [editors hired] by the studio deciding the sequence of shots that are going to construct whatever is going on, and what it is that they need.”

Trank’s new film–his first, after being fired/having quit his Star Wars project–is headed to VOD on May 12. Whether or not it will have a better fate than Fantastic Four remains to be seen.

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot’s parent company

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