Josh Trank, director of this week's Fantastic Four finally addressed all the bad press surrounding his superhero movie. After months spent in fierce denial, he tweeted (and quickly erased from his timeline) that the film being shown in theatres was not the film he made. Accusing the studio of majorly tampering with his movie, Trank assured everyone that his version would have got great reviews.
In 2007 Josh Trank directed a short film titled Stabbing at Leia's 22nd Birthday. It was a Star Wars fan film that can be found on YouTube quite easily. In 2014, it was announced that he would direct one of the stand-alone Star Wars anthology movies. The fairytale was short lived: Less than a year later he abruptly dropped out. Without a firm reason to grasp onto, blame was assigned on his erratic behaviour on the sets of his latest film, this week's Fantastic Four. Fantastic Four, a reboot of Marvel's first superhero team is a film the director has been working on, in his own words, for four years. It currently sits at 9% on the review aggregation site RottenTomatoes. After months of repeatedly denying growing rumblings of a deeply troubled production (the first trailer was released only in January, dangerously close to the August release date), producer Simon Kinberg spoke to the LA Times. "This, I would say, is particularly cruel," he said. "I haven't really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it's surreal and unfair."
Addressing the rumours that X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn had come in to do serious reshoots Trank said in a tweet,
@Josh_Wilding Hey Josh, not true. While MV has been very supportive, he's never been to our set. There's only been 1 director of FF2015. Me.— Josh Trank (@joshuatrank) May 24, 2015
@SuperheroNewsCB Definitely not true. I haven't even met MV in person, and there were no such test screenings.— Josh Trank (@joshuatrank) May 24, 2015
This may be essentially true. But what Trank can't deny any more is that there was an unusually large amount of reshoots done, the most recent of which took place in April according to The Hollywood Reporter. RottenTomatoes editor-in-chief Matt Atchity sharply pointed out in his review on What the Flick that the end credits for the film were divided into two segments: One for the original shoot, and one for the extended reshoots.
Watch Matt Atchity talk about Fantastic Four here
After the embargo was lifted on the reviews, even the fiercest of apologists were left speechless. 9% is exceptionally low.
Trank's tweet was essentially a confirmation of all the bad press. Once again, a studio had ripped apart a film from a director who had shown nothing but infinite promise after his first feature, the excellent Chronicle, a film that instilled new life in both the found-footage and superhero genres. It was on the back of this that he was given the Fantastic Four gig, which then led to Star Wars.This is a grim reminder of the corporate nature of studio filmmaking. 'Corporate mandated filmmaking,' as Atchity called it is very common these days, with studios rushing films featuring superheroes into production for fear of losing the rights. With Marvel's brand only increasing with every new picture, rival studios are pooling all their resources into creating similar shared cinematic universes (conversations had already started about Fantastic Four crossing over with the X-Men series).
It ended badly for Sony and their grand plans for Spider-Man (which ended up with them collaborating with Marvel Studios for future films), and it has ended badly for 20th Century Fox. But for Josh Trank, the kid who made that odd YouTube movie about a stabbing at Leia's birthday party it all ended with his big superhero movie being savagely panned and him losing out on a chance to live his dream and make a Star Wars movie.
Watch Trank's Star Wars inspired short here