Just in case you somehow managed to miss this fact, Fantastic Four was one epic-scale trainwreck. And that’s not even regarding the movie, which was fairly brutalized by critics and largely ignored by audiences, we’re talking about the production. There have been all kinds of grievances aired from all sides on this over the past week, but the latest word going around is beyond anything else. According to the newest reports, director Josh Trank and star Miles Teller almost came to blows on set.
According to the latest print issue of Entertainment Weekly (via Comic Book Movie), things were incredibly tense. Trank reportedly had issues forming a coherent vision for the film, producer Simon Kinberg was brought in to help, but Trank wasn’t happy with the changes they made and wrote another draft, which caused delays. Then the studio cut the budget by $30 million, down to $120 million, which Trank didn’t think was enough to fulfill his vision, scenes were removed, and decisions were taken out of his hands. All of this and more bubbled over during production. According to the article:
On set, Trank was said to be abusive and insulting to the crew and cast. The studio hadn't wanted Whiplash star Teller, but Trank had fought for him. Then he ended up almost fighting Teller, who has a reputation for sarcasm and recalcitrance while working. At one point, the conflict nearly became physical, with Trank and Teller chest to chest, daring each other to throw the first punch. Neither did.
That does not sound like a good time for anyone. Sure, Trank and Teller didn’t throw down in the middle of production, but it sounds like they came pretty damn close to resorting to fisticuffs. Sometimes you hear stories of movies with troubled productions, or stars and directors who had an antagonistic relationship offscreen that yielded incredible things on screen. Those stories can become the stuff of legend. This, however, does not appear to be one of those times.
And Teller is a one of the actors that Trank really fought to have cast in Fantastic Four. The director went to bat with the studio to have him play Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. On the other hand, he reportedly did not want Kate Mara to star as Sue Storm. Fox overruled him on that decision, and that did not play out particularly well for the House of Cards star, as Trank vented all of his frustrations and disappointments on her. According to the EW report, his treatment of her "ranged from cold to cruel."
Considering he almost got into a fistfight with her co-star, what the hell does that mean?
Granted, this is all hearsay and comes from unofficial, unconfirmed sources, and at this stage everyone is just playing one huge game of he-said-she-said. Still, something was obviously very not right during the production of Fantastic Four. We’ll probably never know precisely what the issues were, at least not for certain, but there were apparently a lot of people not particularly happy on that set.