The embarrassing and joyless disaster known as Fantastic Four was released in 2015, with director Josh Trank taking a long hiatus from Hollywood after the film’s gossip-filled flop dominated film headlines for months on end. (We salute you, Kate Mara’s awful wig.) Trank is now doing a round of press for his new biopic Capone, during which he revealed to Geeks of Color on June 5 that he received “pretty heavy pushback” and “controversial conversations” from Fantastic Four’s higher-ups to not cast a black woman as Sue Storm, because her brother, Johnny Storm, was being played by Michael B. Jordan. It’s explained in the film that Sue, played by Mara, is adopted.
“When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realization sort of hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle,” Trank admitted. “Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life. Those weren’t the values then or ever for me. Because I’m somebody who always talks about standing up for what I believe in, even if it means burning my career out. I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.” Trank said that while it’s common for big studio movies to “keep an open mind” for casting choices, it became obvious to him that Fantastic Four’s executives were never going to cast two main actors who were black. “I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm, a black Johnny Storm, and a black Franklin Storm,” he added.