Josh Trank faced “heavy pushback” over his decision to cast a black actress as Sue Storm in Fantastic Four.
The filmmaker, who helmed the 2015 comic book blockbuster, has revealed that he had a lot of “controversial conversations” when it came to casting decisions with bosses at 20th Century Fox.
In an interview with Geeks of Color, Trank recalled wanting the roles of Sue Storm, her brother Johnny Storm, and their father Franklin Storm to be played by black actors, but faced a lot of resistance.
“There were a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that. I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm, a black Johnny Storm, and a black Franklin Storm,” he stated, noting that studio bosses were keen for a white actress, such as Margot Robbie, to be the film’s leading lady.
Kate Mara was eventually cast as Sue Storm, who was adopted, while Michael B. Jordan played her brother Johnny Storm and Reg E. Cathey portrayed Franklin Storm.
Trank confessed he felt he had “failed” when he relented and scrapped his vision to cast black actors in the superhero roles, and wished he had stood up for his values instead.
“When it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role… When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realisation sort of hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle,” he shared. “Because those aren’t the values I stand for in my own life; those weren’t the values then or ever for me… I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”
The director previously revealed he received death threats over casting Jordan as Johnny Storm in the 2015 reboot.
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