We’ve been thinking of Josh Trank’s upcoming Fantastic Four as a superhero movie. It is, after all, based on a popular Marvel comic and features a heroic team of individuals with superpowers and costumes. Seems to fit the bill. But according to the director, the film may be much creepier than you expect.
EW caught up with Trank, who made his name with 2012’s low-budget, superpowered Chronicle, and he talked about focusing on the terrifying nature of the powers acquired by Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Sue Storm (Kate Mara), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell). He said:
I just kinda jumped to ‘body horror’ in my head. Chronicle is about the evolution and strengthening of unique powers. This movie is really viewing them as a curse.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past writer/producer Simon Kinberg handled the script, and he and Trank had two goals in making this movie. They wanted it to be a coming-of-age story, where the characters become the masters of their own fate, and the other thing was they want it to watch more like a horror movie than your average comic book adaptation.
What we’ve seen so far from the movie definitely looks eerie way grittier than the previous films from 2005 and 2007. That was very much the intention, as Trank calls his film "Dark Amblin," saying it’s like Steven Spielberg meets Tim Burton. That’s a fantastic mix from where we stand, and sounds like a combination of great action and adventure with a brooding, sinister sensibility. Let’s just hope it doesn’t crib too much from the Dark Knight approach.
Superpowers almost always come with one drawback or another. Hulk may have incredible strength and power, but he’s also an uncontrollable green rage monster; Captain American may be strong and fast, but it’s also lead to him being a man out of time and he’s isolated from the world around him; Daredevil has heightened senses, but can’t see; and the list goes on.
If viewed from the right perspective, it’s easy to think of them as a curse, a burden, and it sounds like Fantastic Four is going to focus more on that side of things. You have to imagine that turning to stone, your bones stretching and bending, and you skin bursting into flames doesn’t feel particularly pleasant. Kate Mara compares gaining their powers to a car crash, a traumatic experience that leaves lingering effects and changes you from that day forward.
This latest version of Fantastic Four is another origin story. During an experimental interdimensional journey, the team is "infected"—how that plays out remains to be seen—and transformed. Reed becomes Mr. Fantastic, Sue the Invisible Woman, Johnny the Human Torch, and Ben the Thing. Victor Domashev (Toby Kebbell), another member of their team, is also turned into a new version of Dr. Doom.
We can see just how dark Fantastic Four is for ourselves when it hits theaters August 7.