Fantastic Four Director Josh Trank Admits He Was Bitter Towards James Gunn and Other Superhero Filmmakers

Chronicle and Fantastic Four director Josh Trank admits to feelings of bitterness towards the comic book movie genre and directors James Gunn, Zack Snyder, and other superhero movie makers at the time his Marvel Comics-inspired reboot opened in 2015. Following a troublesome production on Fantastic Four — during which Trank resisted efforts by screenwriter Jeremy Slater to make the movie more like its superhero contemporaries, especially Marvel Studios blockbuster The Avengers — Trank felt resentful Gunn was able to craft a movie that was both crowd-pleasing and very personal in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy while he was unable to fulfill his vision for Fantastic Four, which Trank didn't want to be a "superhero movie."

"Now, I'm able to enjoy them. I definitely felt bitter right when Fantastic Four came out, and it was a bitterness toward that genre," Trank told The Hollywood Reporter while promoting new movie Capone. "I felt very bitter, and I felt outcasted from a group of cool filmmakers that are making those movies in a successful way. I probably felt bitter toward people who I have enormous respect for like James Gunn, who was miraculously able to make Guardians of the Galaxy both a massive four-quadrant crowd pleaser but at the same time, a very personal, auteur-istic, idiosyncratic and crazy film. I just felt bitter toward all of that."

Trank continued, "At the same time, I started to realize that those movies are what James Gunn is destined to make. That's his home; that's his world and he owns that. I have so much respect for it, and people like James Gunn have taken a genre that is otherwise very much easily produced in the hands of non-filmmakers to successful levels … He's taken that genre and shown us that with the right, capable, confident mind that it can be turned into something that is unpredictable, interesting and so cinematic on every level."

He then praised another member of the Marvel Studios stable, Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, calling his 2015 superhero comedy "fun, wild, crazy and undeniably well made on every level."

"I just started to realize that what I was trying to do as this young filmmaker who hadn't earned the right yet after making only one movie … It's something that I can easily say now, but back then, I wouldn't be able to comprehend this thought. I hadn't earned the right as a filmmaker yet to say that I could change the game with superhero films," Trank said, adding he considers Chronicle more Stephen King sci-fi than superhero. "What I tried to do with Fantastic Four was so arrogant for somebody who hadn't really gotten the handle of his own skill set as a filmmaker to do that kind of stuff with it. I obviously loved what I was doing at the time and thought I was onto something, but when I take a look back, I'm able to, as a film man, remove myself and enjoy the works of James Gunn and Zack Snyder."

The director of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is called a "visual genius" by Trank, saying of Snyder, "Clearly he has a very passionate fan base, so it's not like it's not spoken of enough, but I think he's incredible. These are filmmakers who I just am really inspired by, such as Ryan Coogler and what he did with Black Panther. I can definitely watch those movies now, enjoy them and be separated from them."

Now five years removed from the release of Fantastic Four, a critical and commercial bomb, Trank admits he "felt bitter for very obvious reasons."

On its opening night, Trank famously tweeted of his Fox-produced movie, "A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve recieved [sic] great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality though."

0comments

"I think it's important to be honest with yourself and admit that. I know a lot of people who you can see it in their eyes that that's how they feel — the way that I was feeling — but they would never say it," he said. "I think it's important to say it because it allows you to advance and grow on your own personal path. Why I bring up James Gunn as an example of somebody I find to be very inspiring while he's doing things that are totally different than where I'm going is that I aspire to someday end up in a place where I've found my own type of James Gunn home like he found and now has."

Capone, starring Venom’s Tom Hardy, is available on Digital HD and VOD starting May 12.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.