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CON: Fantastic Four

07.29.2004

FANTASTIC FOUR PANEL:

Participants:
Avi Arad (producer)


Tim Story (director)


Ralph Winter (producer)


Ioan Gruffudd (Reed Richards)


Jessica Alba (Invisible Woman)


Michael Chiklis (The Thing)

The film stars:
Ioan Gruffudd
Jessica Alba
Michael Chiklis
Chris Evans

Release date:
July 1, 2005

It was a great idea for Marvel to set up a panel at the Comic Con for this highly anticipated adaptation of the famous comic book as well as letting us sit in on an interview with the three actors afterwards. Creating some early positive buzz on the film was the plan here…

Before the filmmakers and cast showed up, a Fox studio moderator previewed a quick teaser/behind-the-scenes montage of ELEKTRA that just finished principal photography a few days before. We’d been invited on the set about a month ago [read set visit report here] and as far as I could tell, things looked pretty good, mostly because of Bowman’s enthusiasm and ambitious personality. The teaser looked okay…mostly due to some money shots including the lovely Jen Garner swimming underwater in a sexy swimsuit as well as the criminally sexy Typhoid Mary getting ready to smooch Elektra. The mod told us to expect the film in January even though we’d been told the film’s release date was originally set for February.

One thing that was noticeable throughout the FF panel was the weak applause that followed whenever Tim Story spoke about the film. The moderator went out of his way to continually justify hiring this guy (who previously directed BARBERSHOP and the upcoming action comedy remake TAXI) to helm this film. It’s no wonder the audience and I have our reservations about this dude. All that to say, having the mod tell us that Story’s experience with the “ family situations” and “heart” of BARBERSHOP was not enough to convince any of us he could handle a big budget and universally adored comic franchise like FANTASTIC FOUR.

As far as the talent went, Avi Arad went all out with his great salesmanship skills again, spinning the positive into every question thrown at him. I have to hand it to man, he does not flinch. Also, the man scared the shit out of me - he’s one menacing looking son-of-a-bitch. Alba was simply the most charming and loveable creature I saw all weekend; managing to put everybody in the SIN CITY and FANTASTIC FOUR panels under her spell. Chiklis was the best of the bunch, bringing in a little The Thing figurine in with him and enjoying every minute of his experience at the panel. The first words he shouted as he sat down were: “It’s clobberin’ time!” Here are some of the points that were brought up throughout my afternoon with this bunch…

  • Shooting will begin in 4 weeks, in Vancouver.

  • The Thing, like Hellboy was, will be in a costume. There will be little to no CGI used for the superhero. Also, The Thing will very much look like Ben Grimm (a life cast was made), all the little subtleties and nuances of Grimm (Chiklis) will be apparent through the costume. Chiklis let it slip there would be a very cool sequence involving The Thing and a lamppost.
  • Dr. Doom will be known under the name Victor Von Doom. We were also told that his mask will reflect the way we’ve come to know him. No word on the costume though. They will decide on an actor for the role in about a week from now. Word is; a famous actor with a very recognizable accent is close to nabbing the part. Tim Story assured us we wouldn’t be disappointed.
  • There won’t be any kind of love triangle in this film.
  • The effects team responsible for this movie are from Giant Killer Robots (originally from ILM).
  • Rumor had it BATMAN BEGINS and FANTASTIC FOUR were to be released on the same weekend next year. Arad, confident as ever, assured us that wouldn’t be the case and added it’s a good thing for BB that it doesn’t. 
  • When asked, Chiklis told a die-hard THE SHIELD fan he would indeed be doing a fourth season.
  • When the filmmakers were asked what kind of ‘mood’ this film would have, the overall responses gave me the impression there would be a fair amount of comedy in the film, mixed in with the tragedy and action elements. The Fantastic Four team will have to learn responsibility and Reed Richards and Sue Storm play a large part in keeping the team together. Storm being the heart and emotional core of the group. The impression is this will be a very emotional script with many, many comic touches. There was very little evidence that this will be a “dark” superhero flick like the first BATMAN. Arad disagreed with the idea brought up by one fan, that the film seems it might be a little lightweight  and there is some concern out there that it’s starting to look like a sitcom.
  • As far as Story’s knowledge on the comic book, he told us he grew up with it but confessed that he’s had to start reading and going over many of them lately, as there is so much to take in again and there are a lot of things he didn’t know about. But…I thought he said he grew up with it?
  • There will be a lot of Jack Kirby’s (one of the original artists of FF) art direction, visual and comic touches apparent in this film.
  • In the “last but not least file”, Alba told us a very COOL story about how when getting ready to get her life cast going, she was lubed by 8 guys with vaseline (this is what they use to get the body ready for the cast) and they even covered the areas where (as she put it) she gives only certain people the permission to go to. Needless to say I couldn’t sleep that night and that I love Jessica Alba all the more now. DAMN!!!

I’m on the fence with this one. I’ll have to see a first trailer to really see what the direction of this film is. I don’t really feel confident with the choice of director, that’s for sure. He has a lot to prove and he better be completely on the ball with this one. 

BACK TO SAN DIEGO COMIC CON
CENTRAL HERE

Source: JoBlo.com

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