Noted actor/director Tim Blake Nelson is at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York to premiere his new star-studded indie drama Anesthesia, and in the course of our exclusive conversation we discussed the forthcoming blockbuster Fantastic Four, in which he plays Harvey Elder, who (may) eventually transform into The Mole Man.
We talked a little about the reshoots for the film, which are currently taking place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he dispelled rumors that anyone other than Josh Trank is directing them. He also inadvertently revealed just how difficult it is to discuss these films, no doubt due to how much is at stake financially and Nelson’s first-hand understanding of how reappearing in a sequel is not inevitable. Just ask his The Incredible Hulk co-star, Edward Norton.
ComingSoon.net: You and Chris Evans might be the only two major actors who have been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Fox movies. What would you say are the biggest differences in terms of the way Fox and Kevin Feige run the show?
Tim Blake Nelson: I guess that what distinguished for me the “Fantastic Four” experience versus “Hulk,” and both of them were really good experiences and I liked both directors… Boy, I have to be really careful about this… I’m just thinking whether I can say what I’m about to say… um… (long pause) all right, hold on a second, I gotta find a way to say this that doesn’t offend anyone but gives you the truth… (longer pause) I’m getting there, hold on, trying to figure this out… (long pause) I’m just gonna say something positive about “Fantastic Four” and I’m not gonna touch “Hulk,” okay? I would say what I loved about working on “Fantastic Four” is that even though it’s a superhero movie somehow Josh Trank was given enough space to make the experience of shooting it often feel like we were doing a character-driven indie film.
CS: In what way?
Nelson: I never felt like I was acting in big set piece action scenes even when I was. There was always a human underpinning. And now I’ve seen the trailer and it looks like an enormously entertaining superhero movie, so you get the best of both worlds.
CS: It’s my understanding that Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four” was conceived as being smaller in scale in relation to other blockbusters of this ilk. Are the reshoots you’re doing next week a course correction to make it a bigger and hence more marketable movie?
Nelson: I have no idea, but they’re written by Simon Kinberg and they’re being directed by Josh, and these are two very strong-willed, opinionated people, so I can’t imagine there’s gonna be some wild departure from what they had in mind when they first set out to collaborate. I think it’s probably going to be an effort to underscore what the movie is all about. And Josh is the maker of “Chronicle”! This guy is not afraid to take his own perspective on what it is to be a young, eccentric person in a normalizing world and explore that, and that’s what “Fantastic Four” is all about, just like “Chronicle” was.
Fantastic Four opens in theaters on August 7.