In the past decade, there have been few battles between a director and a studio as well-known as director Josh Trank's conflicts with 20th Century Fox for the 2015 Fantastic Four, with the director recently detailing to Geeks of Color that he saw his first sense of turmoil when he received pushback in his desire to cast a black actress to play Sue Storm. With Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm and Reg E. Cathey playing Franklin Storm, the story then had to add in a plot about adoption to justify Kate Mara playing Sue, with Trank noting that the studio was more focused on considering famous white actresses who could take the role than they were on his own vision of the project.
"There was a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that," Trank detailed to the outlet. "I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm and a black Johnny Storm and a black Franklin Storm. But I also, when you're dealing with a studio on a massive movie like that, everybody wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are gonna be. Like, 'Well maybe it will be Margot Robbie or something like that.' But when it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role."
He added, "When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that sort of realization hit me and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn't, just out of principle, because those aren't the values that I stand for in my own life and those weren't the values then, or ever, for me. Because I'm somebody who always talks about standing up for what I believe in, even if it means burning my career up, and I feel bad that I didn't take it to the mat with that issue. I felt like I failed in that regard, but that was a weird, unfortunate situation, I don't know how else to put it."
Trank found success back in 2012 with Chronicle, which paved the way for him to take on the superhero adventure. While Jordan might not have been a household name at the time, he had previously worked with Trank on Chronicle and had been tapped to star in the Rocky spinoff Creed, signaling that he was well on his way to becoming the star that audiences know today. Earlier this year, Trank revealed that even by casting Jordan as Johnny Storm, he was earning so many death threats that he purchased a gun to keep with him as he slept.
Despite the director disowning the film on social media the weekend that it was hitting theaters, his biggest regret remains not fighting hard enough for his vision in those early stages of development.
"At the end of the day, I know me, and, especially back then, I was like a pit bull about things, but it was something I feel more disappointed in," Trank confessed. "If there's one regret that I have, and I talked a lot about not having any regrets, it's that one issue."2comments
The rights to the Fantastic Four are now back with Marvel Studios and Disney, but no plans have been confirmed about when we'll see them on the big screen.
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