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''Fantastic Four'' hits screens in July

”Fantastic Four” hits screens in July — The superhero movie is one of the most highly anticipate summer flicks

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Here’s the Thing: Michael Chiklis is not a fan of full-body makeup. ”It’s glued inside my lips, inside my nostrils, to the very edge of my eyelids,” reports the star of The Shield. He’s leaping to the big screen as the (literally) craggy orange Thing, one quarter of the fractious Marvel Comics foursome making their long-awaited movie debut. (We’ll overlook the notoriously low-budget 1994 Roger Corman-produced version.) Chiklis, a die-hard fan of the comic, was thrilled to get the part — but the adjustment period was rocky: ”I had to literally speak to a psychiatrist the day I came out here.” Luckily, fellow heroes Jessica Alba (Sue ”The Invisible Woman” Storm), Ioan Gruffudd (Reed ”Mr. Fantastic” Richards), and Chris Evans(Johnny ”The Human Torch” Storm) have been understanding. Says Chiklis, ”If I had to work with jerks, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this thing.” On the bright side, the costume gave him plenty to work with. ”It’s a godsend in terms of the physicality,” he says of his character, who is mutated by cosmic rays along with his three astronaut cohorts — but unlike them, he’s disfigured. ”This is a man who’s trapped in a body he doesn’t want to be in.” Hey, nothing a little exfoliant couldn’t clear up.