×

Fox ‘Four’ play heats up

Story moves from stylists to superheroes

“Barbershop” helmer Tim Story will direct Marvel Comics’ “The Fantastic Four” at 20th Century Fox.

Lensing is set to begin as early as August on the pic, which follows the exploits of venerable Marvel Comics characters Reed and Sue Richards, Benjamin Grimm and Johnny Storm — better known to comics fans as Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing and the Human Torch.

Pic is being produced by Constantin Film, Marvel’s Avi Arad and by 1492 principals Michael Barnathan and Chris Columbus. “X-Men” producer Ralph Winter and Stan Lee will also produce in capacities still being determined, according to a Fox spokeswoman.

Budget is estimated at between $85 million and $90 million, according to insiders.

Ostensibly the first-ever family of superheroes, the Four aren’t superheroes in the traditional sense. They don’t fight crime or patrol the streets of a particular city. Their true identities are not kept secret. A clan of scientist-astronauts imbued with special mutant powers, they serve as explorers and ambassadors to other planets, and function without traditional “beats” like Superman in Metropolis or Batman in Gotham.

“What attracted me was that they are a family,” said Story, reached while scouting locations in Vancouver. “They might want to wring each others necks. They might storm out and disappear for three days, but you also know they’ll be back. They don’t always get along.”

Marvel Enterprises CEO Avi Arad agreed, noting that because neither the characters’ powers nor their identities are concealed, “Fantastic Four” offers far richer characters than the usual spandex-filled tales.

“Many times, you need a star to define the movie,” Arad said. “That’s not the case here. We can focus on getting the actors that are totally right for the roles.”

While no casting negotiations have begun, the studio has been inquiring about the availability of “The Shield” topliner Michael Chiklis to play the role of the Thing while his FX cable skein is on hiatus late this summer.

And while internet geek sites have buzzed for days that Tim Robbins is in the running to play villain Dr. Doom, Story strongly cautioned that he had yet to have a single casting meeting about the film.

Story most recently helmed Fox’s remake of the French-lingo “Taxi,” starring Queen Latifah, due out in October. Pic is tracking well, according to Parker, “Taxi’s” action/comedy tone was the main reason why “Four” went to Story.

Latest version of the “Four” script is penned by Mark Frost (“Storyville”).

Production on “Four” is being overseen by Fox production prexy Hutch Parker and senior veepee of production Alex Young, with July 1, 2005 earmarked as its opening weekend.

More Film

  • Weinstein Trial jury

    Three More Jurors Selected In Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Three more jurors have been selected in the Harvey Weinstein trial, bringing the number to 10 jurors total. All three are white men. The jurors were selected roughly halfway through the day in court, indicating that the final two jurors will more than likely be selected by the end of the day on Friday. Opening [...]

  • A Perfect Enemy

    First Look Still of Kike Maíllo's 'A Perfect Enemy' Unveiled (EXCLUSIVE)

    The first still of “A Perfect Enemy,” the psychological thriller directed by popular Spanish filmmaker Kike Maíllo and based on Amelie Nothomb’s bestselling novel, has been unveiled by newly-launched sales company Pulsar Content. Pulsar Films is co-representing U.S. rights with CAA and UTA. Based on Nothomb’s “The Enemy’s Cosmetique,” “A Perfect Enemy” stars “Cold War” [...]

  • Olivia Colman - Lead Actress -

    Sundance: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Father' With Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired rights to “The Father” ahead of its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The pact takes one of the hottest titles off the block. “The Father,” based on an acclaimed stage play by Florian Zeller, stars Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. The deal is for U.S. [...]

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. John

    'Dolittle' Headed for Box Office Flop as 'Bad Boys for Life' Opens Solidly

    Robert Downey Jr.’s “Dolittle” is headed for a box office flop. Universal’s fantasy-adventure grossed $925,000 from Thursday night previews from 3,050 North American theaters, with showings beginning at 5 p.m. The film, projected for a four-day opening of $22 million to $25 million, carries a $180 million-plus price tag. “Bad Boys for Life,” meanwhile, launched [...]

  • Paris Recreated for Movie Productions on

    TSF Recreates Paris on Former Air Base for Movie and TV Shoots

    As French outfits move to expand their studio offerings, industry eyes have turned to a 20-hectare stretch of land 20 miles south of Paris. There, in the commune Plessis-Pâté, sits the TSF Backlot 217, a converted air base that has become one the Gallic industry’s banner initiatives. One of France’s leading production suppliers, TSF scoped [...]

  • DSC07163.ARW

    Streamers Urge French Production Sector to Go Green

    For the French industry, the drive to open up additional studio spaces has gone hand-in-hand with the push for green production, because for the most part, they share the same root cause: The international streamers that are causing a surge in audiovisual production tend to have strict criteria when it comes to sustainable development. “Companies [...]

  • ‘Ali & Ava’: First Look at

    ‘Ali & Ava’: First Look at Clio Barnard’s Just-Wrapped Fourth Feature

    Principal photography has wrapped on “Ali & Ava,” the fourth feature from writer-director Clio Barnard (“Dark River,” “The Selfish Giant”), starring Adeel Akhtar (“Four Lions”) and Claire Rushbrook (“Secrets & Lies”). The contemporary British love story follows Ava (Rushbrook), a respected matriarch on a predominantly white Bradford estate masking the scars left by an abusive [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content