Ahead of next week’s release of his Tom Hardy drama Capone, director Josh Trank has opened up about the bitterness and resentment he felt towards comic book movies following the critical and commercial failure of his 2015 film Fantastic Four, but praised superhero filmmakers James Gunn and Zack Snyder.
Back when he was hired to direct Fantastic Four, Trank was hot off the success of Chronicle and wasn’t a fan of superhero films. Indeed, according to Fantastic Four screenwriter Jeremy Slater, Trank hated them, especially Marvel’s The Avengers. Slater told Polygon that the tone of their Fantastic Four movie should be like that of Avengers, and he also tried to expose Trank to the Fantastic Four’s comic book lore. “Josh just did not give a shit.” Slater said.
Trank’s antipathy toward the genre obviously didn’t bode well for either him or his film in the end, something the director seems to understand now.
Trank admits his own arrogance contributed to Fantastic Four’s failure: “What I tried to do with Fantastic Four was so arrogant for somebody who hadn’t really gotten the handle of his own skill set as a filmmaker to do that kind of stuff with it,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Trank also recalled the bitterness he felt toward superhero movies at the time and the resentment he felt even towards filmmakers whose work he admired, such as James Gunn. In time, Trank said he was able to move past those negative feelings and appreciate superhero movies on their own merits.
“Now, I’m able to enjoy them. I definitely felt bitter right when Fantastic Four came out, and it was a bitterness toward that genre. I felt very bitter, and I felt outcasted from a group of cool filmmakers that are making those movies in a successful way,” Trank confessed.
“I probably felt bitter toward people who I have enormous respect for like James Gunn, who was miraculously able to make Guardians of the Galaxy both a massive four-quadrant crowd-pleaser but at the same time, a very personal, auteur-istic, idiosyncratic and crazy film. I just felt bitter toward all of that.”
Trank went on to explain that Gunn was simply destined for this sort of career, and expressed his “respect” for Gunn and his fellow MCU directors Ryan Coogler and Peyton Reed, as well as for “visual genius” Zack Snyder.
“[Gunn’s] taken that genre and shown us that with the right, capable, confident mind that it can be turned into something that is unpredictable, interesting and so cinematic on every level,” Trank said.
In the end, Trank sees Gunn as an inspiration for the kind of future he’d like to enjoy as a filmmaker:
“Why I bring up James Gunn as an example of somebody I find to be very inspiring while he’s doing things that are totally different than where I’m going is that I aspire to someday end up in a place where I’ve found my own type of James Gunn home like he found and now has.”
Josh Trank’s Capone is available on VOD on May 12.