Josh Trank Says Studio Rejected Hiring a Black Actress for ‘Fantastic Four’

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It’s no mystery that director Josh Trank had a notoriously bad time making the 2015 Fox superhero movie “Fantastic Four,” to the degree that he slept with a gun on his nightstand during production. It doesn’t stop there, as according to a new interview with The First Cut (via Geeks of Color), Trank said he was met by friction by the studio when he wanted to cast a Black actress in the role of Sue Storm, which eventually went to Kate Mara.

“There were lots of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes [about a Black Sue Storm],” Trank said. “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 a studio on a massive studio on a movie like [‘Fantastic Four’], everyone wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are going to be…But when it came down to it, I found quite a bit of heavy pushback on casting a Black woman in that role.”

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Trank, who’s currently doing press rounds to promote his biopic “Capone,” relates the studio’s pushback to the fact that the film already had a Black actor in Michael B. Jordan, who plays Johnny Storm. In the Geeks of Color interview, Trank also admitted he felt like, in that moment, he should’ve quit the film.

“When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realization sort of hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle,” Trank said. “Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life. Those weren’t the values then or ever for me. Because I’m somebody who always talks about standing up for what I believe in, even if it means burning my career out. I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”

Trank’s new film “Capone,” like “Fantastic Four,” has scored some criminally bad reviews, but as said in a recent IndieWire interview, Trank is OK with that, suggesting that the negative feedback still reflects his vision for the movie.

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