… and is the movie better or worse for it?
The production troubles on Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four are well known at this point. No matter the outcome, it seems like there’s enough blame to go around for everyone involved. Despite the PR blame game and final product, everyone wants to know what the original of the film was like before Fox did reshoots.
One film that has a lot in common with Fantastic Four is David Fincher’s Alien 3, which had one of the most notoriously troubled productions in movie history. Fincher was clashing with the producers, who were trying to rewrite his film and take it away from him. Ficher, however, had a very specific vision for the film… even if it’s one movie audiences didn’t necessarily want to see. Eventually, the movie found a second chance on blu-ray, where the assembly cut has gained a cult following.
Many wonder if the same thing will happen to Fantastic Four one day… but is there enough material for that to be possible? Reports vary, but thanks to a scoop from Entertainment Weekly we have an idea of at least one scene from Trank’s version that didn’t make it to the film.
What scene was it?
You can actually see part of it in the trailer:
You’ll notice The Thing being dropped into a warzone like the Enola Gay dropping the atomic bomb. It was something of an iconic shot from the trailers, but is conspicuously absent from the finished film. Apparently, this scene was supposed to act as a bridge with the story’s time jump.
What happened in it?
According to the story:
“A Chechen rebel camp in the wee hours of the night. There’s no explanation for where we are, but there are soldiers speaking a foreign language, and they are loading up some heavy-duty weaponry.
Crews are filling truck beds with the gear, preparing to mobilize – then a siren goes off. Everyone freezes, and one by one they turn their faces to the sky. A stealth bomber whispers by overhead, and a large object falls from it, streaking through the air at great speed.
The object – a bomb, a missile? – collides with the earth in the center of the camp, sending debris is all directions. The soldiers take cover, then tentatively emerge and walk toward the crater, where there is a giant pile of orange boulders.
Slowly, the rocks begin to move on their own, becoming arms, legs, a torso, a head…
This rock-figure lumbers out of the smoke, and the soldiers level their weapons – then open fire.
As The Thing lurches into view, bullets spark and ping off his impenetrable exterior.
Rather than some elegant, balletic action sequence, The Thing moves slowly and deliberately. He’s in no hurry. The storytelling goal was to show the futility of firepower against him as he casually demolishes the terrorists. It’s a blue-collar kind of heroism.
When it becomes clear this rock-beast cannot be stopped, the surviving Chechen rebels make a run for it – and that’s when a hail of gunfire finishes them off.
From the shadows of the surrounding forest, a team of Navy SEALS emerge with their guns drawn and smoking. The cavalry has arrived, but the enemy has already been subdued.
The film would then have shifted to a bird’s-eye view of the camp, an aerial shot showing waves of American soldiers flooding in to secure the base. Just when it appears the American soldiers may be ready to clash with the rock monster, The Thing gives them a solemn nod, and they clear a path. He lumbers past them, almost sadly, a heartsick warrior. Then he boards a large helicopter and is lifted away.”
That sounds pretty sick.
Doesn’t it just?
So why isn’t it in the finished movie?
Well, like most things concerning Trank’s Fantastic Four… the truth is a little hard to pin down. Some are saying that Trank was constant flip flopping on including the scene, which isn’t the best situation when the scene in question is going to cost millions of dollars for special effects work…
… which makes it no surprise that it had to be cut when the studio rolled back the film’s budget. When the execs at Fox realized their movie had no action, the decided to put it back in without Trank’s participation. Unfortunately, the footage was shot hand held style, which means the scene didn’t look like the rest of the film. Thus, it was cut for good.
So, instead it was put in the trailers. A painful reminder that movie marketing can sometimes be misleading.