Josh Trank Again Debunks Runaway Fantastic Four Rumors

The modern internet buzz machine ultimately places filmmakers at a disadvantage. It allows studios to release, or hint at, news regarding upcoming films, true or otherwise. It also allows for open speculation and rumor-mongering that only a studio could fight against, but they choose not to. And that leaves the filmmaker, the one actually bleeding for the film, to be out on a limb, taking responsibility for whatever garbage leaks about bigger films with inconsistent gag orders (there’s really no other kind).

That is what’s put Chronicle director Josh Trank at a disadvantage with his latest gig, helming Fox’s The Fantastic Four. Countless rumors and possibilities have leaked regarding the film, leaving an increasingly-ornery Trank to respond to them via Twitter. The latest issue stems from yesterday’s report regarding the possibility that Fox may be considering switching the genders of the Four’s greatest enemy, Dr. Doom. Trank’s response:

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Well then. Someone’s not a happy camper. This story wasn’t reported by some fly-by-night website, but rather by The Hollywood Reporter, not exactly an unreliable source. That being said, if the rumor is true and Trank is being honest, it could be because it was an idea floated by the studio before consulting with Trank (something which happens far too often). If it’s not true, the typical response has usually been for filmmakers to ignore the white noise. Trank has gone on record debunking more than a few stories about this film, so clearly that’s not his approach.

But then Trank drops this:

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This cements the fact that Trank is debunking stories that he shouldn’t have to debunk. It’s likely referring to the talk about Miles Teller having tested for the role, something that maybe wasn’t true until it was true. Not that Trank would have a say in this: some casting decisions would come from Trank, and some probably stem from the studio. Trank seems to have opened up a Twitter account specifically to debunk rumors, rumors that he doesn’t need to police.

You can’t necessarily blame him: there’s a lot of pressure on Trank to deliver a $150 million ($120 million? Josh, please correct) blockbuster due for summer next year. As a result, he’s probably diving headfirst into the job, and he’s very protective about a film that Fox has treated like a property, a franchise instead of a tapestry of fifty years of beloved comic stories. But the film is facing a lot of scrutiny, and has been since Fox first launched the series into theaters nine years ago: who remembers Avi Arad talking smack about George Clooney being his one and only choice for Mr. Fantastic? Who remembers names like Naomi Watts, Paul Walker and Tim Robbins being thrown about for the original films before they settled on their much cheaper, more believable cast?

Trank’s clearly a skilled filmmaker, and his next work, no matter what it is, is definitely on all our radars. But there’s a film to be made: we can all let bullshit be bullshit, and let Fox, the organization letting all this ridiculousness hit the web, do the debunking for their corporate investment.