Huh? Fantastic 4's Michael B. Jordan says they're not playing superheroes

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Jul 18, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT (Updated)

Just when you thought the latest furor over the new Fantastic Four movie had died down, the new Human Torch has just thrown gasoline on the fire.

Earlier this week Kate Mara -- who's playing Sue Storm in director Josh Trank's reboot of Marvel's beloved family of superheroes -- raised fans' hackles by allegedly saying that the new film was not going to draw from the comics at all. Mara walked that back a few days later, claiming that she had been misquoted and that what she meant to say was that the movie was not going to be based on any one specific storyline.

That was just the latest Fantastic Four public relations crisis, with fans already uneasy over Trank's casting decisions and an apparent determination to make the movie more like the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics. But now Michael B. Jordan, who is playing Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, has possibly opened a whole new hornet's nest, telling MTV (via Collider):

“It’s not your typical superhero film, you know, we aren’t looking at this as like, being superheroes. We’re more or less a bunch of kids that had an accident and we have disabilities now that we have to cope with, and try to find a life afterwards -- try to be as normal as we can.”

What? As pointed out elsewhere, being superheroes is what the Fantastic Four does. They don't have alter egos or hide their true identities -- they go around saving the world. The "not superheroes" idea sounds more like something from Trank's first film, Chronicle, than the legendary Marvel franchise.

But then again, things could change. And apparently they are changing all the time, including the script. Jordan again:

“The script is evolving, (you make) on set decisions on the fly, things are always constantly changing. Me personally, I block out that extra noise and I focus on the job I have to do. It is an important film for all of us. We’re taking it seriously, taking a lot of risks...There’s so many things that you just can’t account for. You know, you can try and plan as much as you want, but you get there on game day and you get thrown a curve ball, I guess, hey, the game plan goes out the window. You’ve got to adapt.”

Fair enough -- lots of movies go through script changes as they shoot, either due to production issues or because something that reads well on the page doesn't come off quite the same in front of the camera. No film is immune to that, but the bigger the size of the film and the logistics involved, rewriting on the set can often become a fatal flaw (here's looking at you, Iron Man 2).

But it's those "not your typical superhero film" comments that are certain to get the fans tossing and turning again. There is certainly a case to be made for breaking out of the conventional superhero movie format we see a lot of these days (Jordan even calls the movie "unconventional" at one point), but how far afield do you go before the actual name of the property itself becomes almost meaningless? Why not call it something else then?

Here's another idea: 20th Century Fox should put a serious embargo on its cast members talking right now, because while Fantastic Four could end up being the greatest superhero movie ever, comments like the ones made by Mara and Jordan -- misquoted or otherwise -- aren't doing anyone any favors. They should just make the movie and let the work speak for itself when the time comes.

Fantastic Four opens June 19, 2015, and rumor has it we may get our first look at some footage next week at Comic-Con. In the meantime, what do you have to say about Jordan's comments and what they portend for the movie? 

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