Is Josh Trank setting the record straight—or is he spinning it?
In an interview about his upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four, the director who exited a planned Star Wars spin-off movie insists he walked away on his own and was not forced off the project, although that conflicts with what multiple sources have told Entertainment Weekly and other outlets.
Why would a filmmaker accept and then abandon one of the most sought-after projects in the industry? Trank, who also directed the acclaimed 2012 found-footage superpower drama Chronicle, suggests he didn’t want to deal with intense fanbases anymore.
“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,” he told Josh Rottenberg of The Los Angeles Times. “And it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar.”
What does that mean? His Fantastic Four movie will roll into theaters on Aug. 7 amid stories of chaos behind the scenes, including clashes with co-writer and producer Simon Kinberg, part of the story braintrust at Lucasfilm, who is also involved in the spin-off film Trank was attached to make.
The Los Angeles Times interview was conducted with Kinberg sitting beside Trank, and he’s quoted saying the reports of Trank’s exit are “particularly cruel. I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”
The as-yet-untitled Star Wars film, which numerous sources tell EW is a Boba Fett story involving the bounty hunters seen in The Empire Strikes Back, has not yet announced a new filmmaker, but is still on track.
Whether Trank pushed the ejection button himself or was pushed overboard is a question that may never be answered.
What we do know is that when discussed in public, parties involved in conflicts like this try to save face as much as possible and not attack each other. They’re following a rule Darth Vader once laid down for Fett: “No disintegrations!”