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INT: Tim Story

05.25.2007

Combining his creativity and passion for music and film, young and passionate director Tim Story kicked off his career by directing hip hop music videos. He went on to make his feature studio debut with BARBERSHOP before jumping on the remarkable opportunity to adapt and bring Marvel Comics’ FANTASTIC FOUR into life on the silver screen. A big fan of the comic series, he exuded great enthusiasm when interviewed a few moths back at the FF2 set visit. Check out what Story had to say about his return to helm the sequel, FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER.

Tim Story

What was your biggest challenge with this movie so far? The most complicated piece to put together?

I guess it’s been figuring out what the Silver Surfer’s going to look like and more importantly what his powers actually are, how they look and the definition of what the Silver Surfer does in the comics is pretty vague. A couple of things like dealing with light was to figure out here we have a character that is all powerful in a kind of a way we wanted it, he could pretty much control matter and when you give somebody that kind of control you can go wherever you want to go, so it’s really been figuring out his power and then of course bringing that to life in so much of the stuff we’ve done. So it really goes into building the action sequences for the most part.

What did you decide, as far as the Silver Surfer is concerned?

Let me be as vague as I can be. We do take advantage of the fact that he can change matter, which allows him to have some really cool powers and you guys will see this in the action sequences and definitely in the trailer that’s being prepared. He does have a very powerful force in the sense that Johnny has a fireball that he can throw. The Surfer has a pretty powerful power blast as well, and then of course flight and his relationship with his board, we get some really cool advantages to being able to do some interesting things with his board that once again I won’t give away, but they’ve been very creative in this way.

Can you talk in just general terms about mounting a sequel to a film like this. It’s obviously a lot bigger, but beyond that what’s your approach to making this?

It’s interesting because first and foremost you think about the characters and their personal stories and wanting to go with those. One of the biggest things that we all know about is that Reed Richards and Sue Storm at some point get married and it seems pretty obvious that the next chapter would involve them getting married, because at some point they have kids and so on. So there were some things that were fairly obvious. I knew that Ben Grimm and in his last story was all about him wanting to get out of this body that he’s been “given”, and now he is comfortable in it. So apart from him being comfortable, where else do you go with him and his girlfriend Alicia’s relationship.

Johnny’s the biggest playboy and cool kid that you can imagine, what responsibilities can you now throw on him that he actually has to deal with, and then some other surprises that we’ve definitely taken the liberty to go into. I’d definitely have to keep them a surprise, but there’s some stuff in there when you think about where else can you go with these powers and everything else to be taken full advantage of. So in getting to the sequel you first start there and then of course the next thing is the idea that I wanted more action. We wanted to bring back Doom and have Doom be the real issue, and bringing all of that together, I think we’ve accomplished quite a lot.

Were there specific elements of the mythology that you wanted to get into this film that you felt you weren’t able to get into the first one? Obviously the Silver Surfer.

Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think that the first film, as much as I wanted to be able to expand a lot of other things, I think for the most part it hit on the family element. There was a big issue with the Fan Four taking advantage of their stardom and making money and being rich. I wanted to bring up this idea that now they’re actually are in business and they’re well off. For the comic book characters we have out there, there weren’t a lot well off as far as just running a corporation. There was a lot of that I wanted to get involved.

I wanted to bring the high tech world to it in terms of Reed Richards, because in the first one the story really revolved around him not making a lot of money and I had more of an industrial space, and in this case I wanted this to be a little bit more prone to what we know him for, which is technology. So it was all of those, and then of course like you said the Silver Surfer being added in and hopefully we have an opportunity to take Victor and Reed’s relationship somewhere else as well, so there was all of that.

Generally in this genre, this kind of successful corporate world is the source of all evil. How did you make it work for these good people who are rich and have corporate power?

We actually used that to our advantage in the story, that these are good people and when it comes down to a group of people that have every intention of being good. Once you have to deal with running a corporation and what headaches that brings to being who you are, I think any of us say ‘money is the root of all evil,’ but I don’t know about that. We took advantage of using the fact that now they have all these other responsibilities in terms of business and everything else. We used that to our advantage and incorporated it into the story telling in this next film. So we did have to finesse it but at the same time it really brought a good layer to the personal story that these four superheroes have.

Tell us a bit about the car and that you want to get involved in the design of it.

It’s just the coolest thing in the world. We tried to get the Fantasticar in the last movie and it didn’t make sense for it to come that early. I just knew when this first started to come to the idea of doing a second one, the two top things that I started working on were the wedding and the Fantasticar, because the Fantasticar is like the fifth character of the Fantastic Four, and it’s just cool. To think about a flying car and it breaking up in pieces and them all having their own pod that they have to control. I just knew it would be as cool as it’s starting to look to me so I just got into it immediately.

What changes did you want to make in the film from the first one?

There are a lot of things. Of course one of the biggest things that I heard and knew about was the fact that they wanted Ben Grimm to be bigger and bigger. We had it rather large at some point and found that the biggest problem we ran into was that you couldn’t light his eyes, because anytime I lit a set, his eyes would be in shadow. And Chiklis was so amazing at being this character, the last thing we wanted to do was hide his eyes from everybody, so we actually had to scale back his brows from what we were originally thinking we were going to go.

They always wanted Doom to be more of a bad ass, and I’ve taken those ideas to heed and they wanted action. They wanted action, action, action which was the main point that I got from most and I think we deliver on that 100%. So those are three of the top. There were other things that I don’t always respond to in my Bloggs or whatever the case may be, but I read. Not at this point, because now the movie’s taken care of itself, but through preproduction and the early parts of filming, I continued to read things on the web and just anything that I can use and bring to the screen, I would.

Have you guys pretty much stuck to Don Payne’s script, or have there been challenging scenes you needed him to rewrite or modify?

I find it in most of these types of films, you always look at a scene and go, “Hey, we are going to have to add this sub plot,” or whatever the case may be. So we got about 75% of his original production script and then throughout the process, you get on the set with the actors and they bring up points that we didn’t think about and we’d have to go back and Don sometimes is called right on the set. “Don we need you to give me this and I need a line for this and I’m shooting in about two hours, so good luck.” He’s doing some changes to what I’m shooting tonight right now, so it’s always a rewriting process. I’d be lying if I said we get the script and that’s it. We constantly go back and try to improve upon what we’ve done.

Everything seems to be routed in a little bit of reality, from the car and the way it was explained to us. So how do you go about making a Surfer as believable as the original one?

It’s the situation that we throw him in. We’ve done a little situation where we’ve kept him away from human contact for as long as possible in the movie, just because we wanted to keep it more of a mystery and then when he does get into contact with people, there is something that I wish I could tell you but I can’t or else I’ll get in trouble, but there’s a certain thing that you guys will find out about soon enough that keeps it very based in reality. With this at some point it’s a guy from space so what are you going to do?

But after that it’s the way we’ve gotten the character captured and even in the CGI that we do with him, how he moves, his speech and actually how he actually responds. He does have conversations in this movie, on two occasions particularly where you’re talking to a real person, it feels like, that has a history, that understands and you see him react to emotions and this and that. Although he is a space man at the end of the day, he’s an alien, we keep him very grounded in reality and I think you’ll see that in the way we portray that in the movie.

Why are you not using Doug Jones voice for the Silver Surfer?

The plan was always to use an actor to basically cast an actor for the voice. There is a chance we may stick to this, because I must admit in editing him it sounds very good right now, so who’s to know what’s going to happen but the plan was from day one to always voice an actor and let that come through. Our plan was even before Doug Jones was going to do the motion capture, we knew from then that we were going to cast it out.

Talk about Johnny’s powers in part 2.

I’ll just say that Johnny’s powers are enhanced at some point in the movie and I think it brings a very fun and very big twist to what happens in the movie.

What about everyone else’s powers?

You know, we just found ways how can we make them bigger and better. There’s things with Sue that in the first movie we weren’t able to go into. People know that she’s able to create force fields and actually she’s able to hover on top of her force field, so there’s things like that. We didn’t get a chance to really stretch Reed’s powers as much as we could have in the first one and then it’s always fun to just think about Johnny and think about what else he can do with his power. If you can go on fire, does it make you bulletproof in the sense that a bullet comes at you and will it blow up or melt before it gets to you. There’s things like that, and can you go through walls, because it didn’t get so hot in supernova, you could pretty much melt through a wall and go through it, so we always discuss this and the fun part of doing the next movie is where can you take these powers and go further with them.

Do you have any ideas or given any thought to which characters to use for FF3 or 4?

I definitely have ideas. There’s so many different characters. The ones that come to you immediately are Puppet Master, The Inhumans, the Skrull any of those, you immediately think of some of those guys and think what would be the coolest one. But one of the things we always do with the new villain, and I think this goes for any comic book movies, you think of the visuals and what would be the coolest thing to bring the screen and how? So I definitely have a couple of story lines that have been swirling in my head that I’ve already talked to Avi Arad (Producer) about and we’ll see what happens.

Was there any question of how do you keep the comic book idea alive? How do you keep improving on it when for the most part the mainstream audiences now are blasé about CG effects?

Well I think it begins with the characters. I think these movies…it’s cool to see somebody catch on fire and fly and this and that. At the end of the day I think you have to make the story compelling, because I think the audience and we’re talking ten-year-old, they’re so savvy to it that it’s not enough to blow up enough stuff. You have to now always ask yourself the question, you’re the person with the power, even with the Silver Surfer having this cosmic glass that he has. The idea is not to have him use his hands when he does this. How can he emit this power without the normal hand gestures we’re used to.

Instead of seeing him go from A to B, how does the power travel? You have to constantly think of new ways and we’re lucky that in a case with some of our characters, there’s a lot of stuff we haven’t seen before and we were able to just kind of go with it, but I think it always starts with the character. The secret to Batman is Bruce Wayne and I believe that. The secret to these kind of characters are giving the people behind the superheroes the story, and I think once you do that, and you do that successfully, I think you’ll be ok.

What’s the message that you want the audience to take away from the trailer?

That we’re just giving you action and we’re going to make it a fun ride and we haven’t forgotten about the humour, that brought the audience to the first one, and just that we mean business. I think we turn in this trailer at the end of this week and of course the studio decides what they’re going to do with it, but there’s some really cool stuff in it, and I can’t wait for you to see it.

Is the Silver Surfer in it?

We’ve definitely got a lot of Surfer shots. I’m always a part of it, but we always do certain versions and we never know what makes it to the theatres, but there’s some really amazing shots in this trailer.

Will we see any other characters come out of the story?

Wherever I can I try to throw in characters that maybe the world is familiar with. There’s no other “superpower” in this film. Frankie Ray is just if Johnny is going to have a relationship then why not? Why not go there and what happens with her in the future? It does open itself up for the third one. And then there’s some hints that a couple of other characters in the movie that are thrown out at some point and we’ll see where we take those leads and finish them in the third. Stan Lee appears in the movie again and it’s a really funny homage to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and that again, Stan was up there for one day and he was doing the wedding and it’s a really great piece of film.

Source: JoBlo.com

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