In a recent interview, Fantastic Four screenwriter Simon Kinberg described the 2015 reboot film as “somewhere in-between the joyfulness of [Sam] Raimi’s Spider-Man movies and the reality and drama of Josh [Trank]’s Chronicle.” Now, more intel suggests that it could hew even closer to Trank’s found-footage superhero indie.
20th Century Fox’s president Emma Watts recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the studio’s impressive roster of films, from clear successes like X-Men: Days of Future Past (which Kinberg also wrote) to anticipated upcoming movies like Gone Girl and, of course, Fantastic Four. She brought up the latter when discussing the fear of movie audiences overdosing on superhero films, and hinted at what we could expect from the film’s tone and style.
Are you concerned there will be superhero burnout at some point?
Not so far. Certainly the audience seems to still be really enjoying it. We’re making a big bet for 2015 with The Fantastic Four and director Josh Trank. To me, the key is the originality of the filmmakers and the choices they make. Josh is another really interesting example, who is using the vision he gave us in Chronicle to reinvent a franchise he’s loved his whole life. It’s not that you can’t make original ideas—you can, and we did it with Chronicle. The director is the key to not letting superhero movies go stale. That’s the truth.
Will the Fantastic Four reboot have any of the same found-footage feel that Chronicle did?
It’s Josh, so it can’t not have that feel. That’s his talent, that’s what he does, and that’s what excites him about it. It is a really interesting young cast [Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell], and he is the magnet that’s brought them all together.
Imagine the fun of watching Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm recording with their iPhones when they open the portal to The Negative Zone (the comic book plot this movie is rumored to follow) and the subsequent discovery of their powers. Not that Fantastic Four will necessarily be in the found-footage style, but Trank has options to really modernize the feel of the characters and their world—which will be organic, considering he’s working with a young cast.
Shooting the movie in a found-footage style could also separate the reboot from the usual style of superhero films, which tend to be slick, CGI-heavy, and mostly by-the-numbers. Found-footage could provide an intimacy that the Avengers/Superman/Batman fare that Fantastic Four will be facing up against in 2015 simply won’t be able to match.
Further, if the movie moved slowly from found-footage to fixed camera then it would essentially mirror the narrative journey of these four people as they go from being average and unseen by the world to a prominent, celebrity-status super team. The further the camera moves way from them, the bigger they get as characters. And that’s really the thrill behind an origin story, isn’t it? Watching someone like you and me become something more.