What Happened to Josh Trank During the Filming of ‘Fantastic Four’?

Fantastic Four is by far the biggest disappointment of the year, but I’m not willing to call it the worst film of the year. The performances were solid and I consider 50-60% of the film pretty decent.

Having spent the last year and half keeping you up to date while defending this film, I absolutely want to know what happened behind the scenes.

Reasons include:

  • a career in jeopardy involving a filmmaker who clearly has talent
  • an ensemble cast who was such a perfect fit, and now the new laughing stock of the Fantastic Four films.
  • a studio who has a history interfering with comic book big budget blockbusters

ScreenRant has collected both old and new reports surrounding the development for Fantastic Four. Here are highlights of what reportedly went down between Trank, the cast and crew, and studio executives. Some of you might already be aware of this, so take it as a refresher. Let’s start digging!

Simon Kinberg and Josh Trank

Source: TigerDroppings – via. a friend of theirs who worked on the film.

“A buddy of mine was on the crew. Trank showed up to set late or so high he couldn’t speak almost everyday. Some days he didn’t show up at all. He treated crew terribly. He trashed the house the production company rented for him. From what I’m told he did a couple hundred grand worth of damage… Trank did so much damage to the house that [Fox CEO] Jim Gianopulos came to Baton Rouge and personally apologized to the owners.”

Another user reiterrated most of the above (minus the housing damages), but added that they “heard [Trank] was fired after wrapping and others are working on it [in] post production.

Source: EW – Several sources were spoken to independently and a majority of their descriptions matched each others.

combative behavior Trank demonstrated toward the crew, producers, studio and even the stars.

They also mentioned how Trank’s off set disputes (housing damages)…

manifested on set as hostility and frustration.”

Source: EW – Sources described the studio’s interference as unfair towards Trank.

“Some who worked on the film say Trank was driven to the breaking point by the studio, which delayed casting and script approvals, slashed the budget by tens of millions from what was originally promised, and tried to force last-minute changes to the film just as principal photography was beginning, creating confusion and stress from the get-go that often boiled over among department heads trying to put together pieces of a movie that was still in flux.”

Source: John Campea from Collider Movie Talk – Spoke to multiple sources who mentioned that Fox did NOT uphold their initial deal w/ Trank for a specific film.

“Days before production began, Fox came in and made him pull three main action sequences out of the film. I was also told that the ending of the film was not even Josh Trank’s… that at some point they hijacked the editing bay from him to the point where the edit of the film was done without him…

“Yesterday both Kristian [Harloff] and I spoke with another source – this is a second source – that confirmed everything we had heard from my first source… [Fox] had essentially put out a film that was not the film that they had originally sat down to make…

“I made some calls to some friends of mine, filmmakers, who had done business with Fox, and I just ran some of the facts by them that I had been hearing and said, ‘Does this sound consistent with your experience with Fox?’ And they said, ‘You have no idea.’ And then they proceeded to tell me a lot more stuff. I feel confident enough that I’ve heard this from enough places – enough reputable places – to tell you this: the film that we saw, in Fantastic Four, was not the film they were supposed to make. It was not the film that Josh Trank made.”

Writer/director Jon Schnepp also had his own sources claiming that Fox hired an Oscar winning special effects person, whom they soon after fired without the person or Trank knowing. This might explain the horrible special effects shown in the second half of the film.

Trank on set

For me, its pretty clear that Josh Trank was stripped of his vision for Fantastic Four and was left with something less and confusing. This is clearly evident by the third act of the film, where Trank’s presence just disappears.

I’m in no way excusing Trank for the end result of this film. His name is on it, so he gets the criticism. However, like I said in the Fantastic Four review podcast, I absolutely will not put 100% of the blame on Trank. There’s no way the director of Chronicle just destroys a comic book film that is similar in so many ways. The best thing Trank can do now is lay low and give us another great film on a much smaller scale.

I also am hopeful that Fox will move forward with a Fantastic Four 2, with the same cast. That ensemble is too good to be wasted. I saw flashes of brilliance throughout this film, but unfortunately it wasn’t nearly enough.

So based on this information, how do you view Josh Trank and Fox studios?

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3 replies »

  1. Eh…all of this has to be taken with a grain of Salt. Campea mostly didn’t talk to people who were actually working on the movie and only asked if they had similar experiences with Fox in general. And the part about the set-pieces is as a rumour not more believable than the stories about a director who neglected his work so much that the studio had to step in. Most likely the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    What I do, know, though, is that F4 doesn’t come of as an essentially good movie which suffers because there is stuff thrown in on the demand of the studio, like for example TAS2 did. It comes off as a bad, perhaps even unfinished movie someone made even worse when trying to salvage.

    • Yeah, you could definitely see the changes during the second half of the film.
      Whoever the “Kevin Feige” is over at Fox certainly dropped the ball on this one. I’ll be curious to see how they proceed with their proposed crossover event film (heavily rumored).

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