×

Josh Trank Explains His Decision to Leave ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff

Josh Trank has cited the pressures of directing the “Star Wars” spinoff, following four years of work on “Fantastic Four,” as the key reason for dropping out of the Disney-Lucasfilm project a month ago.

In his first public interview since the May 1 announcement, Trank told the Los Angeles Times that he wants to do a lower profile project rather than a “Star Wars” movie after working on Fox’s “Fantastic Four.”

“I want to do something original after this because I’ve been living under public scrutiny, as you’ve seen, for the last four years of my life,” he told the newspaper. “And it’s not healthy for me right now in my life. I want to do something that’s below the radar.”

Trank’s statement on May 1 said only that he made a “personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities.”

He told the Times that he had hoped there would be no lingering fallout from the decision to leave the “Star Wars” movie. That has not been the case, Trank asserted.

“At first I was like, ‘I’m just not going to say anything because it will blow over,’” he said. “But I was shocked – it just hasn’t blown over. People get so excited to raise their pitchforks. I knew that this was going to be questioned and it was going to come under skepticism as to why I left ‘Star Wars.’ And it was hard. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”

Speculation emerged following the announcement that Trank been fired from the “Star Wars” film due to erratic behavior on the set of “Fantastic Four” and that a rift had opened up between Trank and “Fantastic Four” producer and co-writer Simon Kinberg — also a producer on the “Star Wars” spinoff. Trank denied those rumors, as did Kinberg, who was also there for the Times’ interview.

“None of those facts were true – and any of the facts that were true were spun in such a maliciously wrong way,” Trank said.

Kinberg noted that Trank’s vision for “Fantastic Four” persuaded him to sign on to produce that  project. “This, I would say, is particularly cruel,” Kinberg said of the rumors. “I haven’t really seen this level of vehemence against a filmmaker. And it’s surreal and unfair.”

Trank also said he and Kimberg have become “closer” friends as a result.

“It feels sometimes like I’m living in a Paddy Chayefsky script or something like that,” he said. “Every misconception that could possibly be made about this has been made to a hilariously satirical degree. And it’s people who haven’t met me before. If they met me – I don’t know, I feel like I’m a pretty harmless person.”

Trank’s exit wasn’t a total shock. Less than two weeks before, the “Chronicle” director was a no-show to Disney’s Star Wars Celebration at the last minute, prompting Internet speculation that something was afoot. The 30 year-old quickly apologized on Twitter, telling fans that he was sick with the flu.

The untitled “Star Wars” movie is not expected to be released until 2019 as the second of two standalone movies that Disney and Lucasfilm are developing. Gareth Edwards’ spinoff “Rogue One,” starring Felicity Jones, opens on Dec. 16, 2016.

“Fantastic Four,” starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan, will be released Aug. 7.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Inside the Spider-Man Split: Finger-Pointing and Executive Endgames

    Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go [...]

  • Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch

    Variety Announces 10 Actors to Watch for 2019

    Variety has announced its 10 Actors to Watch for 2019, an honor the publication has bestowed since 1998. Past honorees include many future Oscar winners and nominees, such as Mahershala Ali, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o and Melissa Leo. This year’s honorees will be feted in the Oct. 27 issue of [...]

  • August Maturo

    Film News Roundup: August Maturo to Star in Horror Movie 'Slapface'

    In today’s film news roundup, August Maturo gets a starring role and “Death of Me” and “Fatale” find homes. CASTING “Girl Meets World” star August Maturo has been cast as the lead character in the upcoming indie horror feature, “Slapface.” Maturo will play a boy who deals with the loss of his mother by creating [...]

  • Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star

    Taron Egerton, Lucy Boynton to Star in Virtual Reality Project 'Glimpse'

    Taron Egerton and Lucy Boynton will star in “Glimpse,” a new virtual reality experience that will be unveiled at the Venice Film Festival. Written and directed by Benjamin Cleary and VR creator Michael O’Connor, “Glimpse” will be entered in the Venice Virtual Reality Interactive showcase. It’s set in the imaginative mind of a heartbroken panda, [...]

  • Dan Trachtenberg

    Tom Holland's 'Uncharted' Movie Loses Director

    Dan Trachtenberg has exited the director’s chair for Sony’s “Uncharted” movie starring Tom Holland, with the studio taking meetings with top filmmakers and production starting early next year. The studio confirmed Trachtenberg’s departure Thursday. It also said Sony-based PlayStation Productions — headed by Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan — had come on to produce alongside [...]

  • Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel

    Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel to Head Film Department

    Participant Media has named industry veterans Anikah McLaren and Robert Kessel as co-heads of the company’s film department with the titles of executive vice president. Both executives will report together to Participant CEO David Linde, who made the announcement Thursday. McLaren joins Participant having most recently served as a production executive for Fox Searchlight Pictures. [...]

  • 'The Son' Review: Bosnian Family Drama

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'The Son'

    It is a mixed blessing to be born in the aftermath of a war. On the one hand, you never have to experience the terror and suffering your parents did; on the other, you grow up with your own personal crises forever made to feel smaller by comparison. That, at least, is the frustration driving [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content