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No wonder the new Fantastic Four reboot became a punching bag for film critics, and then got knocked out by indifferent audiences: The set of Fox’s superhero flick was so dysfunctional, it nearly became a boxing ring itself.
There’s been a lot of finger-pointing in the aftermath of the $120 million movie’s disastrous $26 million opening weekend, which actually began with director Josh Trank’s Twitter-diss of the film on the eve of its release. The latest behind-the-scenes allegations finds Trank almost throwing down with star Miles Teller, who played Reed Richards in the Marvel mishap.
Trank initially fought hard to get Teller cast in the film, winning out over Fox’s objections. But the director and actor’s relationship later turned sour. According to a story in this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Trank and Teller did not get along on the set of the film; Trank was allegedly withdrawn during production, and Teller is frequently sarcastic, making for a bad combination. Things got so bad at one point, in fact, that Trank and Teller’s disagreement brought them chest-to-chest, daring one another to throw the first punch (Teller didn’t have the benefit of Mr. Fantastic’s super-stretchy arms in real life).
Neither man actually ended up throwing a punch, but it doesn’t seem as if the rest of the shoot went much better; previous reports from sources from the set have sources calling Trank’s behavior towards cast and crew abusive and cold, especially toward Kate Mara, who got the role of Sue Storm over his objections.
Trank also reportedly got into hot water with the owners of the house that he was renting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the film was shot. Things got a bit more violent there; his dogs supposedly ripped the place up, and he allegedly defaced the owner’s family photos when he was being evicted.
All through post-production, as the film gained bad buzz, Trank tried to defend what was becoming less and less his movie, but news of on-set meltdowns and the near-brawl with Teller make it clear that this film was destined to take it on the chin.
Despite Fantastic Four’s fantastic failure at the box office, Fox hasn’t said anything about the June 2017 date it set for a sequel. One thing’s for sure: If the Four franchise goes forward, Trank — who recently left his gig as director of one of the new Star Wars films — won’t be at the helm.