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Okay, so I finally figured it out. "Simon Kinberg" isn't actually a single person. It's a collective of people who are able to crank out massive amounts of work at any given moment. He's part of the team of writers working on "Star Wars," he's a jack-of-all-trades on "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," he just had "Elysium" in theaters, and now he's also writing "Fantastic Four" while he produces Mark Millar's "Kindergarten Heroes."
Is that correct?
Is that seriously what is happening?
Holy cow, see what I mean? No way one guy's doing all of that at the same time.
Sure, the story broke earlier today about the Mark Millar thing, and then later in the day, word came that he's onboard to write "Fantastic Four." What that means, of course, is that he's the latest man into the pool. No word about whether or not he's already commenced, or if they're still putting together notes or what he was brought in to do. We do know that Jeremy Slater and Seth Grahame-Smith both had previously been reported as working on it, and there were reports that Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz also spent some time on it. Slater was first man in, signing on with Josh Trank back at the start of all of this, and there's a chance those two will share a co-story credit in the final film.
Trank is still officially the director, and I'm curious how much of the various drafts he's attached to. Is this the same story he signed on to tell with some revisions? Or is this something totally different but using the same characters? What's really important to Fox here, and you almost can't blame them for it, is the release date. They have to get something off the ground at a certain point because that's the way all of their Marvel contracts work. There will come a point where Marvel just won't renew, where Fox will let the property revert. I think they're a long way off, though. Those earlier films feel like as much of a false start now as the Corman tax-shelter version.
At this point, I don't know what sort of story they're going for in "Fantastic Four," and I'm not sure what to expect from the film in terms of style or attitude. Trank and whoever ends up working on the film as writers all have a pretty big canvass there, with a lot of possibilities. We've seen two "Fantastic Four" movies, and I'm not sure I think either one of them really figured out why "Fantastic Four" stories are fun when they're fun.
That's all I truly require from one of these at this point. I'm not hung up on the details anymore. I just want to recognize the spirit of what I appreciate about something in the new version. In the case of "Fantastic Four," I want some of the gee, whiz, science is great attitude of the book's early days, some of the spirit of adventure that they represented. Oh, you got bombarded with gamma rays? Well, sack up. You're a superhero. Now get back to your awesome science. I want the family dynamic. Sue and Johhny, Sue and Reed, Johnny and Ben, Ben and Reed… those are great relationships, and all you have to do is set them up right and then be honest about how you play all of them.
Look, like any comic property, there are so many different versions of "Fantastic Four" over the years that what I love may not be what anyone else loves about the characters. It's a tough gig, especially since we've seen the "swing and a miss" versions already. That second one is an improvement, but it goes from "No way" to 'Still not right but I can see what you're trying to do." It's not a good film. It's certainly not the real Fantastic Four. But it's not a rank insult, either.
Kinberg's a closer. He's a guy studios will sign off on when they have to decide whether or not they're going to make a movie. His movies have been big enough consistently enough that he's in that very short list now. I can't see them bringing him on if they felt like they were still way far off the mark. That's not what you pay him for at this point. Slater is a very good writer, and I've enjoyed the spec stuff of his I've read. I've read a lot of Kinberg drafts of things over the years, too, and I think Simon is a guy you apply in very particular ways. My read on this is that they must be close if they're paying Kinberg's rate, and they've already got a release date, so it's time to stop dithering. Let's see how long it is before they officially start now.
I'm curious to see, once this whole thing is done and when the film comes out, what all of this behind-the-scenes energy results in. I'm rooting for them. I'd love to take my boys to see a great movie about these characters. I really would.