We all know the upcoming press tour for Fantastic Four is going to be interesting. The film’s director, Josh Trank (Chronicle), has been the source of a lot of controversy as of late. Starting with the announcement of the cast of Fantastic Four, featuring an African-american Johnny Storm, to the sudden, rumor-filled departure from an upcoming Star Wars Anthology film, Trank is probably ready to put this all behind him.
In an interview posted by the LA Times, Trank finally opens up about his departure from the Star Wars Anthology film, “I knew that this was going to be questioned and it was going to come under skepticism as to why I left Star Wars. And it was hard. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”
The “skepticism” is in reference to the litany of rumors surrounding his departure. During the filming of Fantastic Four, producer Simon Kinberg (also producing the Star Wars Anthology film) was witness to what is being called “erratic” behavior. According to numerous rumors and reports, Trank racked up $100,000 in damages at a rented house during production of Fantastic Four. It was also reported that while he was on set, his behavior worsened over time. Whether it was fatigue or some sort of substance, the director was rumored to be difficult to understand on set, with his direction being hard to follow. It apparently got so bad the studio allegedly hired outside help to salvage the film.
In response to the rumors of friction on the set, Trank says, “If you ask anybody by name who I’ve worked with, from Simon to [producer] Hutch [Parker] or my crew or anybody else, they’d be like, ‘We’ve been working really hard on this movie and we’ve had an excellent time working together.’ It’s been a challenging movie – for all of the right reasons.”
All of the rumors are obviously denied by those involved, which is exactly what they should do to save face and promote the upcoming superhero movie. No one is going to publicly admit the movie has had a turbulent production two months before its eventual release.
Speaking on the rumors for the first time, Kinberg, who was previously said to be “getting cold feet about working with Trank again” on the Star Wars film said, “[The vitriol targeting Trank], I would say, is particularly cruel. I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”
Trank adds, “Simon and I have become closer friends through this.”
Moving on to talk about his reasons for leaving Star Wars, it becomes clear that maybe Trank just wasn’t prepared for the public attention he received after the success of Chronicle. “I want to do something original after this because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life,” he said. “And it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar.”
So where does this leave Josh Trank? Will another studio be willing to give him the chance on another big budget movie or does he really want to stick to smaller films? The best thing for the director would be the success of Fantastic Four. If the movie takes off, then he could rebound and do whatever type of film he wants. However, if the film doesn’t meet expectations, then he could be in for a long career-rebuilding process.
I wish Josh Trank well. I want him to succeed because I’m such a huge fan of Chronicle. Let’s hope that Fantastic Four makes a lot of money when it’s released Aug. 7, 2015.