One of the earliest announcements to come out of this year's San Diego Comic-Con is, appropriately, tied to a Marvel Comics superhero movie: Twentieth Century Fox has announced that a Fantastic Four reboot will be handled by director Josh Trank. It is an unusual turn for Marvel to opt for a greenhorn like Trank, whose only directorial feature to date is this year's Chronicle. Helmers of other recent Marvel flicks to date include film and television veterans like Joss Whedon (The Avengers), Jon Favreau (the first two Iron Man movies), and the very classy choice of Kenneth Branagh (Thor). So what does this decision mean for the Fantastic Four reboot?
Aside from his found footage sci-fi Chronicle, Trank has also worked on the military crime-drama TV show The Kill Point. Considering each of these projects, one might assume that Trank will provide a darker, grittier, potentially more violent take on Fantastic Four. Tim Story's 2005 adaptation of the superhero troupe (and his 2009 followup) was a bit lighter, goofier, and more hollow than some of the more sincere and biting comic book fare that we've seen since.
Fantastic Four's eye candy casting (Chris Evans and Jessica Alba), and the visual spectacle of people stretching, smashing, igniting and disappearing, made the movie more of an aesthetic romp than a real, down-to-Earth tribute to the Marvel characters. While Trank doesn't have a lot on his resume, Chronicle proves that he is interested in exploring the nature of human character in a supernatural setting — hopefully, he'll carry this devotion to character design over to the Marvel reboot.
One of the most fun questions to entertain: who will be cast to play the superheroes? Trank hasn't been in the business to have built up many allies yet, but he has worked with the familiar names of Michael K. Williams, John Leguizamo, Frank Grillo and Donnie Wahlberg on The Kill Point, and Michael B. Jordan in Chronicle. Plus, Trank is in tight with Chronicle co-writer Max Landis, so maybe some of the latter's father's old war buddies can come into the action? I know it's a stretch, but it's fun to entertain the idea of Dan Aykroyd as The Thing, or Steve Martin as Mr. Fantastic. And yes, that probably veers quite a ways from Trank's down-to-Earth style as mentioned above... but hey, Comic-Con is for dreams.
In all sincerity, a younger cast like the one Trank worked with in Chronicle would suit the film well, giving it a fresher, more "cutting edge" feel than the schlocky 2005 ordeal. Jordan, the central hero of Trank's found-footage flick, has quietly racked up quite a resume ever since breaking out as The Wire's Wallace. The versatile 25-year-old actor, whose most recent venture was a major role in Red Tails, could easily handle the sincerity of intellectual team leader Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), or even the more spirited, caution-to-the wind Johnny Storm (The Human Torch).
Announcements on the cast probably won't hit the world for some time — who are some of your picks for Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, The Invisible Woman, or The Thing?
[Image Credit: Marvel]