Josh Trank has at long last spoken out about his mysterious movie, plus we've gotten a glimpse of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm.
With the first trailer for Fantastic Four rumored to be surfacing today (it might already be online by the time you read this), Trank and writer/producer Simon Kinberg were interviewed by Collider about the film, with Trank giving his first public insights into his vision for Marvel's First Family.
From what he has to say, one thing can be confirmed: This is a very different take on the origin of the Four and may indeed not be what a lot of fans want or expect. Asked whether the fact that we haven't seen a single image until now from the film has meant it was in trouble (as heavily rumored), Trank said this:
"I think a lot of that stuff is stemming from the fact that we’ve consciously decided to not release anything official...this movie, we really want the audience to have the proper reaction to this material seeing it for the first time. You’ve really got to put your best foot forward. You can’t just leak an image to strike up a conversation. You want people to see something that has thought behind it. And the teaser should do just that."
Trank made a surprising revelation about the approach he took to make his Fantastic Four different from other superhero movies:
"I would say that the science fiction of it is a big thing that sets it apart from most of the other superhero genre films. I’m a huge David Cronenberg fan, and I always viewed Fantastic Four and the kind of weirdness that happens to these characters and how they’re transformed to really fall in line more with a Cronenberg-ian science fiction tale of something horrible happening to your body and (it) transforming out of control. And the potential for a hard sci-fi take on that material makes me really excited."
Trank cited Cronenberg's Scanners and The Fly as films that were "maybe the biggest influence for me in terms of an overall view and communicating tool to the various departments ... in terms of the feeling of what these powers are. Because the drama speaks for itself in terms of the script or the story, but the look of the movie and the feel of the movie has to be more evocative."
On the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny:
"I thought it would be interesting to take the family dynamic of the Storms, which is brother and sister, and bring that more into the 21st century in terms of what we consider the norm. I have mixed family in my own family and it’s something that isn’t out of the ordinary anymore but we don’t really see it portrayed in the casual reality of the movies. That’s something I felt that would be interesting and challenging, to have mixed siblings."
Finally, although neither Kinberg nor Trank wanted to get into specifics about the plot, they both alluded to it encompassing more than one aspect of the Fantastic Four canon. First Kinberg:
"I think The Ultimates is probably our biggest influence because it’s the younger Fantastic Four. And a lot of the science specifics are there. And a lot of the means of transformation we took from those books. As you’ll see a little bit in the trailer and a lot in the movie, there are influences really from the beginning of what Kirby and Stan were doing in the 60’s all the way up into the present day...This is an origin story in many regards and it is inspired by The Ultimate Fantastic Four as much as anything else."
"I would just like to add that there’s a big difference between adapting the tone of something or adapting the spirit. In this case we’re adapting the spirit of the characters as they stem all the way back to the original characters in the 60’s. These characters are iconic archetypes that are as timeless and flexible as you could ever hope for in terms of modernizing and updating a story."
There's quite a bit more to read in the interview, but the answers above tackle some of the biggest questions surrounding the film. And we've gotten at least a partial idea now of what this film is going to be: a hard science fiction look at the potentially horrifying changes these characters go through before they become superheroes. Lastly, here's Jordan in his costume (on the set with Kinberg):
We'll have a better idea of how all this comes together once we see that long-awaited teaser, but does all this make you feel better or worse about Fantastic Four and Trank's vision for it?