Josh Trank (Chronicle) has been let go from his duties as director of one of the two Star Wars standalone films, with the filmmaker stating that he made the decision to leave the highly profile project.
Rumors of problems with Trank actually started during the final day of Star Wars Celebration last month, when he was a no-show during a panel with Gareth Edwards (Star Wars: Rogue One) and LucasFilms President Kathleen Kennedy about the spinoff Anthology films. The director, who was slotted to do the second spinoff film, cited illness as the reason he couldn’t appear at the panel. Oddly enough, Fox dropped their newest Fantastic Four trailer on that same day, which also happened to be a Sunday of all days, leading many to believe there were conflicts between the two parties.
While a statement from Lucasfilm has the director saying that he’s “making a personal decision to move forward on a different path,” Hollywood trades cite that he was let go because of tensions between him and his Fantastic Four producer Simon Kinberg, who’s also producer and consultant of the Star Wars films. According to a report from Variety, Kinberg wasn’t “thrilled with the idea of working together again.” An inside look at the situation by THR reports that it was 30-year-old Trank’s “erratic behavior” on the set of FOX’s Fantastic Four movie is what led to him being let go by Disney/Lucasfilm.
Fantastic Four producers “faced challenges” putting that film together, and saw erratic behavior from the director, according to THR. One of these problems stemmed from when several of Trank’s dogs destroyed a house rented to him in New Orleans during the production of Fantastic Four, causing up to $100,000 of damages.
Based on the report, Trank seemed to be in way over his head, at times appearing indecisive and uncommunicative. A source close to THR said the following:
“If you’ve got someone who can’t answer questions or who isn’t sure or is in hiding, that’s not good.”
That is a clear warning sign, and given the mixed to negative reactions to the upcoming Fantastic Four, things aren’t looking good for the film. There appears to be so many issues with Trank’s work ethic that Kinberg and Hutch Parker were heavily involved with Fantastic Four, with Stephen Rivkin (Avatar) being brought on to eventually help pull the film together. However, the title of director will remain with Trank, as the producers didn’t want to have a conflict with the Directors Guild of America.
Outside of the “erratic” and “isolated” behavior, Trank is reportedly doing reshoots three months before the release of Fantastic Four. These aren’t just any ordinary reshoots; they require main stars to appear on set. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan — who have other film obligations — are reportedly being flown in at the last minute to do reshoots on the weekends. Kinberg is also being pulled away from producing X-Men: Apocalypse, which started filming in Montreal a couple of days ago.
Since the Star Wars story trust is in constant communication, Kinberg may have informed by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy about these ongoing problems with Trank. Both Kinberg and Kennedy were present at Star Wars Celebration two weeks ago. Because of Trank’s absence during the event, his firing doesn’t come off has a huge surprise.
Here’s the statement that Trank posted on StarWars.com,
“After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making 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. That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.”
But the second Star Wars spinoff isn’t the only film that is looking for a new director. Variety says that Trank isn’t confirmed for the Fantastic Four sequel saying that “no director or writer has been set.”