It’s been a rough month for Josh Trank. When the Chronicle and Fantastic Four director was a no-show for his planned Star Wars Celebration appearance, rumors immediately began circulating that his Star Wars anthology film was doomed. It was only a matter of weeks before fan suspicion was confirmed and Trank dropped off the project.
Following his departure, the rumor mill spun into overdrive, speculating that there were troubles during the production of Fantastic Four spanning from erratic, indecisive behavior from Trank to costly rental property damages from his dogs. Unconfirmed reports claimed that this behavior led Simon Kinberg to doubt Trank’s abilities as a director, causing a rift in their relationship.
In an interview with LA Times, Trank finally addressed the rumors for the first time, “None of those facts were true – and any of the facts that were true were spun in such a maliciously wrong way.” Kinberg also spoke up in Trank’s defense, “I’ve been around some version of this for a long time…This, I would say, is particularly cruel. I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”
So what really happened? According to Trank, who’s faced relentless fan criticism over Fantastic Four for everything from switching up the race of Johnny Storm to his Cronenberg-inspired sci-fi approach to the material, he just wasn’t up to taking on another massive franchise so soon. Trank explains,
“I want to do something original after this [Fantastic Four] because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life…And it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar.”
That’s certainly fair, and there’s no doubt the fandom and rumor mills have been unkind to Trank of late. After all, the many complaints and criticisms about Fantastic Four began well in advance of the film’s release, with no signs of slowing down. And as we all saw when he dropped off Star Wars, the public can be a bit eager to believe the worst. Trank addressed the public’s ready acceptance of the rumors,
At first I was like, ‘I’m just not going to say anything because it will blow over. But I was shocked – it just hasn’t blown over. People get so excited to raise their pitchforks. I knew that this was going to be questioned and it was going to come under skepticism as to why I left ‘Star Wars.’ And it was hard. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.
Trank went on to say that he maintains a great relationship with everyone at LucasFilm, and that there are no hard feelings about the departure. I have to say, this all makes sense, and it’s kind of just a shitty scenario. Trank went from an indie director with one success under his belt to a household name (at least in geeky households), and that’s an enormous, likely very difficult transition.