Fantastic Four has had perhaps the bumpiest road of any superhero series on the big screen. First, there was that unreleased Roger Corman version which the less said about it at this point, the better. And then there were the Tim Story movies from the mid-2000's that were 'meh' at best. And let's go ahead and skip over Josh Trank's most recent attempt. All of this is to say that Fantastic Four is primed for a reboot and today we have a fun story about a version that ALMOST happened.
A version directed by Samwise Gamgee himself, Sean Astin that would have seen the role of Sue Storm aka The Invisible Woman played by none other than the Genie in a Bottle herself, Christina Aguilera. Again, something tells me this still wouldn't have ended up being the worse Fantastic Four movie out there.
Sean Astin, aka Mikey from The Goonies, recently shared the story on his planned version at a panel at Amazing Comic-Con Las Vegas last weekend. To frame this story, it takes place after The Lord of Rings was a massive success and before Marvel and Fox eventually hired Taxi director Tim Story to bring the fantastic team to the screen.
Apparently, at the time, Fox was developing several Fantastic Four scripts - including one from The Goonies and Gremlins screenwriter Chris Columbus - and Astin thought the film might be a good move for him coming off Peter Jackson's acclaimed franchise. And thus, Astin took a big swing for the gig, eventually snagging a meeting with none other than Kevin Feige, who wasn't the head of Marvel Studios at the time, but merely in charge of production on the planned Fantastic Four movie. Astin says this.
"I was just starring in Lord of the Rings so there was a moment where you could just call people. And I said, 'Listen, is there any way in the world that you'd consider me to direct Fantastic Four?' And he was like, 'Well, I don't know,' and blah, blah, blah. I said, 'So are you saying there's zero chance? Zero? No chance? 100% not gonna do it?' He says, 'Well, I'm not gonna say 0% ...'"
Eventually, Astin had a meeting with the head of 20th Century Fox, Tom Rothman. Astin says this.
"He looks at me and he's like, 'What are you doing here?' I said, 'I want to direct this movie.' He goes, 'Alright, well, this meeting is premature. We've ordered another script. It's due in three weeks from now. And he said, 'And I'll let you read it.' I said, 'Do I have your commitment that I get to read that and have a meeting with you before you set the director? Please, can I have that commitment?' He said, 'I'll give you that commitment.'"
Astin ultimately read the new draft and then here's what happened.
"When I met with the younger executive... I was telling him, 'Look, my short film was nominated for an Academy Award and I did this and I did that and I did the other thing.' And he was like, 'Nobody cares.' He goes, 'All they care about is, do you know what we should do with this character?' Or, 'Do you know what should happen at this point in the story?' Like, 'Why isn't the story working better here? If you can help us make the movie better on its own terms, that's what we really need.' And that was so liberating!"
When he went back for his follow-up meeting, Rothman asked him, 'Why you?' Astin answered with this.
"Before they'll put some 24-year-old kid in a $100,000,000 fighter plane, they put him in the best trainers, simulators ever designed. I said, 'From the time I was 12-years-old, I've been in the best simulators you can possibly have for this kind of thing.' And he goes,'Oh, ok.'"
Needless to say, Sean Astin never got the chance to direct his version of Fantastic Four, but now with the franchise back in the reboot game, maybe Marvel should give Astin another go. I guess we'll see one of these days. This story comes to us via Collider.