The Fantastic Four were the original Marvel superheroes, and yet they haven’t translated to film as well as their powerful peers. The first attempts in 2005 and 2007 were deemed ridiculous by most critics, and last year’s attempt — with acclaimed young actors like Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan in starring roles — bombed following some highly publicized on-set strife. Now, in a new interview on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, producer and writer Simon Kinberg said the 2015 movie’s main problem was its darker, almost Cronenbergian tone.
“I think that there were many decisions we made along the way that led to a movie that people didn’t like and a movie that I would do differently next time,” Kinberg said of the Josh Trank film. “I think the biggest takeaway for me, and there were many, is that the tone of the movie, while really interesting and ambitious, ran counter to the DNA of the source material. I think the source material of Fantastic Four is bright, optimistic, poppy in tone. There’s a sort of plucky spirit to those characters, and we made a darker, sort of body-horror kind of version of Fantastic Four, which again as I say it now sounds really interesting and cerebrally ambitious, but isn’t necessarily Fantastic Four.”
After the movie’s box-office flop, fans practically begged Fox to relinquish the rights to Fantastic Four back to Marvel Studios, as Sony did with Spider-Man (leading to that character’s much-acclaimed appearance in this year’s Captain America: Civil War). However, Kinberg says that isn’t happening anytime soon.
“It’s a big part of the plan going forward,” Kinberg, who also wrote the last two X-Men films, said on the podcast. “I think the biggest lesson learned is that Fantastic Four is a great comic book that has its own tone and voice, and we need to let that lead us … I would love to continue making movies with that cast.”
Listen to the full interview below (the Fantastic Four stuff starts around 32:46.