For those who don’t remember, 2015’s Fantastic Four saw major controversy before its release when the announcement of Michael B. Jordan’s casting as Johnny Storm was revealed. At the time, there was some in the online trolling community who found this upsetting as the Human Torch is portrayed as a white character in the comics.
This casting also led to an exciting family dynamic as Storm’s father Franklin was also black, but Kata Mara would play the role of Johnny’s sister Sue Storm, who in this version is adopted by Franklin Storm. It turns out though that Trank intended to actually “race bend” the entire Storm family, but saw the studio push back.
In an interview with the YouTube channel FirstCut, Josh Trank opens up about his experience with casting Fantastic Four. Tranks says there was just as much controversial behind-the-scenes as there was online.
“There was a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that. I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm and a black Johnny Storm and a black Franklin Storm. But…when you’re dealing with the studio on a massive movie like that, everyone wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are going to be, like well maybe it’ll be Margot Robbie or something like that,” says Trank.
He continues, “But when it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role. When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that sort of realization hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that… that I didn’t just out of principal. Those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life, and those weren’t the values then or ever for me. Cause I’m someone who always talks about like standing up for what I believe, even if it means burning my career out.”
Trank does express some regret about not standing up for this original casting choices. “I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard, but that was a weird, unfortunate situation – I don’t know how else to put it… if there’s one regret that I have, it’s that issue.”
Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four saw its release in 2015 to poor reviews and tanked at the box office with just $168 million worldwide.