Trank On “Star Wars” Exit, “Fantastic 4” Critics

Filmmaker Josh Trank’s name has been in the news a lot in recent months, and not always in the best light. The director was attached to helm the second of the “Star Wars Anthology” spin-off films before abruptly dropping out.

His departure was rumored to be due to problems with his upcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot. The filmmaker didn’t do himself many favours with that movie, keeping things regarding it so secret until the first trailer launch earlier this year. After the reaction to that unveiling proved mixed, talk about the movie has been more forthcoming but scepticism remains high.

In a new in-depth piece with The Los Angeles Times, Trank explains his side of the story about various topics, starting with the “Star Wars” departure:

“I knew that this was going to be questioned, and it was going to come under skepticism as to why I left ‘Star Wars’. And it was hard. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life… I want to do something original after this, because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life and it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar.

[Lucasfilm] all understood it because this whole experience for me has been very psychologically hard. It feels sometimes like I’m living in a Paddy Chayefsky script or something like that. Every misconception that could possibly be made about this has been made to a hilariously satirical degree. And it’s people who haven’t met me before. If they met me – I don’t know, I feel like I’m a pretty harmless person.”

Thank also spoke about the controversies over “Fantastic Four,” including the still debated skin color change of the Johnny Storm/The Human Torch character with the hiring of Michael B. Jordan in the role. Asked about the backlash to the casting choice, he says:

“I get it I have a lot of friends who are older than me who are comic fans and it’s really hard for them to be on board with a change like that. ‘Fantastic Four’ has been theirs for longer than I’ve been alive. It hasn’t been mine.

It only speaks to the greatness of any story that has been told for decades or centuries that people still want to tell that story. But you can’t just keep telling it the same way over and over again. And I think it only helps the world to be more honest with young kids, to show them the world that they go walk outside and see.”

In the same article, “Fantastic Four” producer Simon Kinberg spoke about the criticism of casting the young and wiry Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing, a role that some believe should go to a physically larger actor. Kinberg explains the choice:

“The change of Jamie as Ben being a smaller guy instead of a bigger guy, for example, was for a purpose. It’s more dramatic when that character becomes a huge rock creature – that’s a bigger transformation. The notion of a working-class tough guy who’s been pushed around by his bigger brothers his whole life seemed like a more interesting character than the guy who started as a football player and just ended up being 4 inches taller.”

Judgements will be made when “Fantastic Four” hits cinemas on August 7th.