We recently learned from former Gambit director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of The Planet of The Apes) that Fantastic Four bombing at the box office sabotaged their budget, as the studio slashed it so much it led to massive rewrites and Rupert’s exit. Rupert was the first director hired and preceded replacements, Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) and Gore Verbinski (Pirates of The Caribbean).
He continues talking about the film with Collider while promoting his current film Captive State.
“Fantastic Four came out, did not do very well for Fox, [and] they decided to lower our budget. We were 12 weeks out, we couldn’t recover. The script needed a huge amount of rewriting in order to fit that budget, and ultimately the powers that be chose not to go down that road, so the film didn’t happen. And then, of course, whatever happened after me with other directors, I have no idea. What I do know is that Channing Tatum and his producing partner Reid Carolin had an amazing idea of what that movie was going to be, and Josh Zeutemer, the writer, as well. It was terrific, it was a really exciting sort of Godfather with mutants set in the world of New Orleans with different gangs.”
He also reveals new information about the movie possibly taking place during the 1970s, possibly taking cues from other movies like X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse taking place in the past.
“Yeah [a heist film] of a sort. I mean it was a period film. It dealt with the 70s up until the present day. It was about kind of mutant gangs and the notion of what it means to belong, tribalism in this bayou-like environment. The swamps of New Orleans. So it would’ve been a lot of fun. I know Channing sort of worked on the script to make it into more of a romantic comedy, I think. Which I read and it was great, it was very different to what I was involved in. But now Disney have the reins so I don’t know what their plans are.”
He also seemingly confirmed the film’s budget was $150 million, although it sounds like that was drastically trimmed when other directors took over.
“I mean look, this is probably getting in the weeds too much but it is interesting to talk about. Invariably what happens with that kind of process of filmmaking, if people don’t have their ducks in a row, they’ll throw it at the wall and they’ll then realize it’s not sticking, and they’ll then spend the $150 million to get it right. Now as a filmmaker I’ve been through that process and it’s really hard to then end up with a piece of work that actually functions and has a cohesive story to it. I think we were in a place—Channing, me, Reid, the producers—where we didn’t wanna have to go through that experience. We wanted to set out to make a particular film and deliver on that, so the whole process of reshoots and all of that stuff, we didn’t wanna go down that road.”
The project is now in the hands of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige (the Disney-Fox merger closes on March 20th according to Disney), who according to Doctor Doom screenwriter Noah Hawley recently asked him if he was still writing it. There is a good chance that Feige my keep certain Fox projects if they sound interesting to him.