Tag Archive | "Fantastic Four"

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Josh Trank Giving Us What Nobody Asked For… A “Realistic” And “Gritty” FANTASTIC FOUR

Posted on 21 April 2014 by Rich Drees


For a while now, I have had a growing unease about Fox’s upcoming reboot of their Fantastic Four franchise and the latest word from screenwriter and producer Simon Kinberg is only stoking those concerns. Speaking at WonderCon this past weekend in Los Angeles, Kinberg revealed that the film was already in production in Baton Rogue before commenting and bit on what tone director Josh Trank was heading for with the film.

As [Bryan] Singer created with the original ‘X-Men’ movies, Christopher Nolan created with the ‘Dark Knight’ movies, Jon Favreau and Marvel created with the ‘Iron Man’ movies, all the best superhero franchises – Sam Raimi did it with with ‘Spider-Man’ – they create a tone and that is the thing that defines them… It’s not the stories that differentiate them from each other. Sometimes the characterizations aren’t that distinct. It’s that the tone is different and in some ways [that's because of the] lessons learned from the original ‘Fantastic Four’ movies, but also because of Josh Trank’s natural instinct for more realism, for more of a dramatic approach to things. This will definitely be a more realistic, a more gritty, grounded telling of the ‘Fantastic Four’ and no matter what people think about the cast.

(Emphasis mine on the last line.)

While I will agree that tone is very important – see the differences between Nolan’s Batman films and the 1960s television version for perhaps the most extreme examples of how tone can affect how one uses a character – I don’t think that a “gritty” tone is the one to go for with a property like the Fantastic Four. If anything it is the exact wrong tone to be aiming for.

I would hazard a guess and say that Fox executives saw the grosses for Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films and wanted similar results, so they found someone, in this case Trank, who was interested in delivering just that. But a read of any decent run of the comic, especially if one goes back to the series’ earliest days in the 1960s, quickly shows that the series isn’t about gritty realism. At the core of the series was the sense of family between the four heroes that was always presented in a lighthearted manner. The back-and-forth between Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm is the superhero equivalent of brothers good-naturedly horsing around.

Admittedly, this seems to be a hard dynamic to get right. Fox’s previous two Fantastic Four films were at least aiming for it, but whether it was the screenplay, the direction from Tim Story or a combination of the two, the films never quite hit the mark. If anything, the officially unreleased 1994 Fantastic Four, for all its faults, was closer to capturing that feeling than anyone else has been able to so far. And it sounds to me that the record may remain unbroken for some time to come.

Via HitFlix.

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Will The FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot Give Us Doombots?

Posted on 03 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

doombotsIt’s been hard to find any good news to come out of Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot, but it appears that we might have something that will please comic book fans.

Nerdist News is reporting that Toby Kebbell’s Doctor Doom will be controlling Doombots in the film. Comic fans know that the Doombots are robotic doppelgangers of the Bad Doctor that the tyrant uses in his place in situations that are either below his station or too dangerous to deal with in person. It is a big element of the character in the books, so much so that the heroes that face Doom seldom know if they are facing the real deal or a robot duplicate.

Before we all start squealing and start believing that the reboot might be making a U-turn towards being halfway decent, the Doombots are described as “drones Dr. Doom controls telepathically.” Which could mean a faithful interpretation of the comic book Doombot, or they could be Doombots in name only, and more resemble those flying things Fitz uses in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Based on the way the reboot has been going so far, I’d put my money on the latter.

Fantastic Four opens June 19th, 2015. If you want to watch the original segment, or really miss G4′s Attack of the Show’s style of news reporting, the video is embedded below.

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Toby Kebbell Cast As Doctor Doom In FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot

Posted on 02 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

tobykebbellWhen we last left FOX’s Fantastic Four reboot, it was in danger of being rebooted itself. Sadly, it appears that shake-up will not be taking place, although, apparently, not for lack of trying. So, the abomination is going forward, and they have cast their main villain.

The Hollywood Reporter states that British actor Toby Kebbell has been cast as Victor Von Doom, a.k.a. Doctor Doom, in the upcoming reboot. Kebbell has appeared in films such as RockNRolla, The Sorceror’s Apprentice and The Conspirator. He certainly looks the part.

It is unknown how Doctor Doom will play in the reboot. In the comics, he was a college roommate of Reed Richards (Miles Teller) who was disfigured in an experiment gone wrong, an accident he blamed Richards for. Now, if the rumors about the planned changes to the back story are true, Reed and Ben Grimm would have gotten their powers as teens and gone to work for the government not long after. Hard to see the comic book Doom’s origin fitting in that scenario.

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Has the FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot Been…Well…Rebooted?

Posted on 14 March 2014 by William Gatevackes

FantasticFourRebootCastThis is one of those rumors that I wish is true. Oh, how do I wish it is true.

Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool is quoting a “rather well-connected source” that FOX has fired Josh Trank off of the Fantastic Four reboot and has dumped Simon Kinberg’s script at the same time. The actors who have already been cast, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell, are not guaranteed their jobs and most likely will be recast.

Now, it would be prudent to point out that Johnston is Bleeding Cool’s comic book gossip monger and not their movie gossip monger (that would be Brendon Connelly). This doesn’t mean that the rumor isn’t true, after all, the folks at Marvel’s comic arm could be Johnston’s source. But it is a reason to doubt.

Another reason for doubt is that the shake-up happens just weeks before shooting should be starting. Johnston said filming was due to start in 6 months, which seems a bit too close to the film’s June 19,2015 release date for a film this effects heavy to be done right. Of course, I did theorize that another release date change was not out of the question back when the film was moved from March to June. But it seems likely shooting would have to begin in May or June, not September. That leaves no time fore a new crew to come in and start over from scratch.

What give weight to this rumor is the fact that practically every bit of rumor and innuendo about the reboot that has come down the pike has been met with scorn and ridicule, be it Michael B. Jordan being cast as Johnny Storm, a plot synopsis that majorly changed the story from the comic book–a synopsis Trank denied was real but Fox made us take down anyway, Josh Gad being in the running for the Thing, or  the possibility that Doctor Doom would be a woman. Each rumor was more incendiary that the one before it, so much so that the reboot has the smell of a trainwreck in the making.

And the grumbling was of the tenor that it could not just be written off as fanboy grumbling or casual racism (in the case of the uproar over Jordan’s casting). All the changes highlighted in these rumors had the air of Josh Trank trying to make the project his own. Depending on how many were true, and it seems a quite a bit of them were, it turned the reboot into a Fantastic Four film in name only. It was less Trank putting his personal stamp on it than him putting a more marketable name on an original property. Of course fans of the 50+ year property would be upset. And since Fox wants to make a franchise out the Fantastic Four so badly that it would rather let Daredevil go than let Marvel use any part of the franchise, the fact that the hardcore fanbase just wouldn’t let up on the complains might cause the studio to take some sort of action.

However, I won’t truly believe this until I see the press releases saying Trank is gone, or, at the very least, the announcement that the film’s release has been delayed again. There are too many things at play for this to be 100% plausible. I’ll be hoping that it is true, but I won’t be holding my breath.

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Four Actors On Shortlist For FANTASTIC FOUR’s Dr. Doom

Posted on 12 March 2014 by Rich Drees


It has become apparent that director Josh Trank is perhaps lying when he takes to twitter to discount rumors about his upcoming reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise for Fox. But it appears that he may have been telling the truth when he claimed that a recent rumor suggesting that the film would gender twist its villain, Dr. Doom, from the traditional male to female.

The Wrap is reporting that Trank and the studio have narrowed their choices for the role of the iconic badguy to four names, all male. The quartet of actors under consideration are Sam Riley, Eddie Redmayne, Toby Kebbell and Domhnall Gleeson.

Never heard of them? Don’t worry, while all four have a good list of credits none of them have had roles that you could describe as “breakout.” Yet.

Given that we’ve only recently just received the announcement as to whom the titular heroes will be played by, so I suspect that we should get word as to who wins the role here.

The Fantastic Four reboot is set to hit theaters in the summer of 2015.

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FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot Cast Chosen

Posted on 20 February 2014 by Rich Drees


Director Josh Trank has chosen the quartet of actors who will play the eponymous superhero team for his upcoming reboot of Twentieth Century Fox’s Fantastic Four comic book adaptation franchise.

According to the Wrap, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell will be filling in the roles of Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, Sue Storm and Ben Grimm otherwise known as Mr Fantastic, The Human Torch, The Invisible Girl and The Thing. The studio is currently in negotiations with all for actors’ reps.

Jordan’s name doesn’t surprise me much, as he has been mooted as being in contention for his role for about a year now. More recently Teller and Mara were mentioned as being on the studio’s shortlist for their characters.

Personally, the cast strikes me as looking a bit young, even though three of them are 27 with Mara being 30. But their younger looks do feed into the rather awful plot synopsis that surfaced that Fox’s lawyers don’t like us talking about, even though Trank has said that it was fake.

The film is set for a release on June 19, 2015.

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FANTASTIC FOUR: Villain Rumor Round-Up

Posted on 07 February 2014 by Rich Drees


As casting for Twentieth Century Fox’s reboot of their Fantastic Four franchise starts to ramp up, a story started to spread this week that the studio may consider a female actress for the role of the FF’s long-time arch nemesis Dr. Victor Von Doom. Cue the fan outrage.

But as he has done in the past, Trank took to twitter to immediately dispel that rumor.

Of course, Trank decided to stir things up a bit with a follow-up tweet.

Well, given the recent flurry of activity from Fox’s legal department to various website (including ourselves) over the “purported plot details” that made the rounds a few weeks back that Trank denied were true, I think we know to which one he was referring.

But maybe Trank is denying the Doom-as-a-woman rumor because the character of Dr. Doom isn’t in the script? Granted, the villain is the FF’s most recognizable foe, but he has been done to death in the films, having been featured in the previously released FF films from Fox as well as the unreleased, Roger Corman-produced film from the 1990s. I could understand if Trank decided to go in a different direction in terms of whom the group would face off against.

So who would that new villain be? AMC’s John Schnepp thinks he knows, and casually dropped that into a discussion of the film in a recent installment of their AMC movietalk podcast (at about the 2:04 mark).

AnnihilusSo, who is this Annihilus you ask? Well, he’s an megalomanical insectoid warlord from an other-dimensional realm known as the Negative Zone who has tried, and failed repeatedly, to invade our universe.

Schnepp reportedly has some ties to the visual effects community and that may be his source here. Schnepp is also a director on the adult swim cartoon The Venture Bros., which once featured a superpowered quartet called The Impossibles, a dark parody of the Fantastic Four. It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that he may have a line on some information that hasn’t really made more public rounds yet.

And Schnepp’s assertion that Annihilus is going to be the main baddie suddenly makes a comment from Mark Millar, who has been working with Fox on overseeing both their Fantastic Four and X-Men franchises, made a year ago about Trank’s planned story for the film.

What I wasn’t expecting actually was just how funny and likeable he could make this as well as getting the more awesome moments on screen – I use awesome in the traditional British sense and not the California sense awesome, you know? The Ridley Scott moments, and the Fantastic Four really are jaw-dropping in the same way you feel when you saw Alien for the first time. There’s some moments in this – not to be specific – that are actually gonna be phenomenal on screen and stuff you haven’t seen in a superhero movie before.

Invoking Ridley Scott and Alien seemed kind of strange at the time, but it suddenly makes more sense if Annihilus, perhaps backed up by an alien army, is slated to appear. And while we just saw a team of superheroes beat up on invading extra-dimensional aliens in The Avengers, the fact that this is still a much grander and epic idea for a Fantastic Four film than we’ve seen in the past I do find intriguing. It’s almost interesting enough to forget the bad taste that the possible direction Trank is taking he characters has left in my mouth.

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FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot: Could Doctor Doom Be A Woman?

Posted on 06 February 2014 by William Gatevackes

doctordoomThe trainwreck that the Fantastic Four reboot is quickly becoming has thrown a couple more rocks on the tracks.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog has reported that screen tests have begun on the reboot with familiar names (Miles Teller, Kate Mara) and new names (Emmy Rossum, Christian Cook) in the mix. But there is one tidbit added to the article that is sure to get fans upset.

The article states that Fox is testing big names for the reboot’s villain, Doctor Doom, and they aren’t ruling out casting a woman in the role.

Yes, Marvel’s most famous bad guy might just be a bad girl for the reboot.

So we will have an African-American Johnny Storm in Michael B. Jordan, and female Doctor Doom. Yeesh.

Now, in a way, this is brilliant on Fox’s part. “What, you don’t like a black Johnny Storm? What are you, racist?” “What, you have a problem with woman being Dr. Doom? What are you, sexist?” All while wrapping the complaints up as another round of the typical fanboy griping, which is easily dismissed.

But when you add this to a plot that makes major changes to the origin and takes away a lot of the elements that made the Fantastic Four great, you are quickly approaching a Fantastic Four film that is one in name only. And that is a valid reason for fans to get upset.

But a lot of this is based on rumor and innuendo. Maybe there is nothing to worry about. We shall see.

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So We Received A Takedown Notice For That FANTASTIC FOUR Synopsis We Were Told Was Fake

Posted on 05 February 2014 by Rich Drees


Time to pull back the curtain a bit.

Last month, a casting site reported what was allegedly a short synopsis of Twentieth Century Fox’s upcoming reboot of their Fantastic Four comic book adaptation franchise. Like numerous other sites, we reported on it here and our Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes noted that some fans may be upset that the film looks as if it may deviate from the more traditional version of the group’s origin. He also noted that the site reporting it was an untested one, casting doubt on its authenticity. (Note: the original source, Production Weekly, has their post hidden behind a pay wall.)

The next day the film’s director Josh Trank, took to twitter to say that the reported “synopsis is definitely not the synopsis or anything close to the synopsis.” That seemed to put an end an end to the story and any further thought or bandwidth given over to the film was allocated to the resumption of speculating over its potential cast.

That is until a few hours ago when I got received an email signed by someone at Fox Group Legal requesting that we take down the plot synopsis. A rather strange request for them to make if the synopsis isn’t true, don’t you think? Especially when even the notice describes the plot details as “purported.”

And we’re in good company, as the folks over at SlashFilm got one yesterday.

I suspect that other sites may have received them as well, but as I publish this the story remains intact on a number of outlets.

Anyway, at their request, I have removed the text of the synopsis. However, I have not removed the discussion of the synopsis. Please note, though, that with everything that we discuss and report on here we do so with the understanding that it is protected under Fair Use provisions in US copyright law, specifically section 107 of Title 17 of US Code which reads -

[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

I have forwarded an email to the Head of Fox Legal whose name was signed to the takedown request, asking for further clarification. I have also tweeted Josh Trank directly asking for further clarification.

We’ll see if we get a response.

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Latest FANTASTIC FOUR Casting Rumor: Josh Gad As The Thing

Posted on 27 January 2014 by William Gatevackes

Josh-GadOkay, this one comes from Movies.com, which should make it more believable than it sounds.

They say that there is only one name on Fox’s short list to play Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four reboot, and that name is Josh Gad.

Gad, seen to the right, broke on to the national scene through his role on Broadway in The Book of Mormon. He has since gone on to make his name in Hollywood. You might remember him from the short lived sitcom 1600 Penn and most recently from voicing Olaf the Snowman in the recent hit, Frozen.

Movies.com seems to be quite enthusiastic about the rumor, but I can’t seem to join them. Don’t get me wrong, I think Gad is talented but wrong for the role.

How so? Well, not to start a Gal Gadot-level body shaming controversy, but Gad doesn’t meet the expectation you’d have for Ben Grimm. Yes, he could hit the gym and get in shape, but there are also other actors out there already in shape who can do the role just as well.

But, you might say that the Thing is going to be CGI and what Ben Grimm looks like in his human form is inconsequential. All he’s going to do is provide a voice. That’s my second point. When I think the Thing, I don’t hear Josh Gad.

Here he is in that voice over work in Frozen:

Perfect for THAT character, yes. But the Thing? Not really. When I think of a voice for the Thing, it’s New York-ese filter through a rock grinder. I don’t think Gad is capable of that kind of grit.

Again, this is just a rumor. And the Fantastic Four reboot has had its shared of out there, not true rumors. But there is a trend in these rumors–that Josh Trank is actively playing against what the comic book Fantastic Four is. And that’s a deadly gambit if you want a successful franchise.


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