Director Josh Trank is getting real about the behind-the-scenes machinations for 2015’s Fantastic Four. In an interview with Geeks of Color, the filmmaker says he wanted to cast a black actress for the Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) role, but that the studio delivered “pretty heavy pushback.” Jessica Alba was cast as Sue Storm, opposite Chris Evans as the Human Torch.
He says: “There were a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that. I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm, a black Johnny Storm, and a black Franklin Storm. But when you’re dealing with a studio on a massive movie like that, everybody wants to keep an open mind to who the big stars are going to be… When it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role.”
Now, he regrets not standing up to the studio: “When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realization hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle. Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life, and 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, and I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”
As Geeks points out, Fantastic Four did not perform well, and since then, studios have taken more reisks with comic book films. See: Birds of Prey, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Joker, Logan and Deadpool.