Finally, some new developments on the Fantastic Four reboot, and none of them seem to be rotten so far!
After a lengthy pre-production stage comprised of script polishes, the most recent stemming from X-Men: First Class scribe Simon Kinberg, it appears that the screen tests for the titular protagonists of 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot are underway. According to ComingSoon.net, three actors each are in contention for the roles of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic and Sue Storm/Invisible Woman: Jack O’Connell, Kit Harrington and Miles Teller for the former, and Kate Mara, Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan for the latter. As for the status of the other two members of the superhero team, Terry Crews has recently voiced his interest in playing Ben Grimm/The Thing, and there’s still the previously reported possibility of director Josh Trank’s previous collaborator Michael B. Jordan playing the role of Johnny Storm/The Human Torch. The film is currently scheduled to be released on March 6, 2015.
As much as I’ve been advocating the potential of this much-needed reboot, I’m sorry to say that I can’t form a fairly judged opinion of these choices for Richards and Storm due to a lack of exposure to their work to… but I can try. Being the nitpicky geek that I am, I’ll have to resort to narrowing down the choices I think best represent the incarnations of the characters that I’m looking for by appearance. Going by the pictures that ComingSoon.net has provided, all six actors have the features of their respective characters, no doubt. But if I were to do a mix-and-match sort of thing based on a certain criteria of consistency (again, nitpicking here), here’s how I would do it: I would pick either Teller or O’Connell to pair up with Ronan to portray a younger version of the world-saving couple a la Marvel Comics’s Ultimate universe, or I would go with the relatively older Harrington and Mara if the studio is looking for people that are young but not too young. And no offense to Margot Robbie, but sorry, her beauty brings back too much of the Jessica Alba appeal factor from the previous Fantastic Four films. *Shudder*.
Now we’re left with Crews and Jordan. What’s tricky about these two possibly being cast, and a point that has been pointed out by many a comic book purist, is that the race of these actors contradict the characters’ from the original source material. Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be more open to having the ethnicities of established characters be changed, but it’s more difficult to ponder when you consider that Johnny and Sue Storm are brother and sister, and the fact that the actresses currently in the running to play Sue are all white. Again, no problem with the mythos being slightly altered, but as of now the studio is walking into murky territory when it comes to pleasing fans. As for Crews, I wouldn’t mind if he was cast as The Thing, as the human form of the character is completely open to being changed around a bit. If one were to look at Crews’s list of comedic and action-oriented roles, including his overlooked performance in White Chicks (yeah, I said that), he could pull off the joking and threatening nature of Ben Grimm with ease. And seeing that technology is now capable of capturing a real-looing CGI Thing instead of falling back on a mound of orange rubber with a face, I don’t see why Crews couldn’t do some motion-capture work on top of that.
It may still be in its early stages, but gathering everything up to this point, I believe this reboot is going down the right path. At the very least, it can’t get any worse than the abhorrent duo of Fantastic Four movies made before. Then again, I suppose there shouldn’t have been much hope for them once they hired the guy who did freaking Barbershop.
What do you guys think? Do you agree with any of these choices? Is there anybody else you think would fit these roles well? Post your thoughts in the comments below!