The Marvel Superhero Movies That Never Were: PEYTON REED'S FANTASTIC FOUR - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The Marvel Superhero Movies That Never Were: PEYTON REED'S FANTASTIC FOUR

More the Fab Four than the Fantastic Four...

Peyton Reed, the director who finally introduced Ant-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015 (after Edgar Wright's departure from the project) was attached to direct an entirely different Marvel superhero movie over a decade earlier. The suitable named Reed was to bring Reed Richard's and his team, Marvel's The Fantastic Four, to the big screen for 20th Century Fox.

In 2002, whilst Sam Raimi's Spider-Man was doing huge business for Sony, Fox held talks with Peyton Reed, fresh from finishing up Bring It On, Home Alone's Chris Columbus and Tommy Boy's Peter Segal to find themselves a director with a vision for bringing The Fantastic Four to the screen. The team of Dr. Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), wife Susan Storm (the Invisible Woman), her brother Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Benjamin Grimm (the Thing) had been the subject of an incredibly low budget Roger Corman movie in 1994, that was never widely released, but this was to be a big budget spectacle, worthy of Marvel's first family. It was Reed that won them over, and together with scriptwriter Doug Petrie they worked on the project for two years.

Later that year, during the development stage for the film, Petrie revealed to MTV what was different about their take on The Fantastic Four and what audiences should expect:
"[The other scripts] were very big on 'these are astronauts that go to space' for the first, like, half-hour, [they were] something like 'Armageddon.' I just kept saying it's got to be like 'A Hard Day's Night.' "
That's right, The Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night. It's The Fab-tastic Four! Some years later, Reed explained:
"[The film was to be a] set-in-the-’60s thing that at the time was structurally gonna be basically like A Hard Day’s Night, where we were not going to even deal with the origin story.”
Of course, in the Marvel Comics mythos, the Fantastic Four gained their superpowers after an experimental rocketship ride bombarded them with radiation. So eliminating that "half-hour in space" and rocket ship ride would allow the action to start from the get-go. The team are well-known and are, basically, New York celebrities, and the opening sequence would establish that whilst also being a tip-of-the-hat to the cover of the original 1961 The Fantastic Four #1 comic book cover...

Petrie explained:
"They're the biggest celebrities in New York City. [We have} a live-action version of a giant monster ripping through Fifth Avenue and Fantastic Four kicking its ass. To the world outside, they are the world's coolest superheroes. 
[But] when they get home, they just fight with each other about everything. They order pizzas and argue about who gets the better costumes and stuff like that. It's a family comedy when they get behind closed doors."
Although no casting had taken place, Reed and Petrie had specific actors in mind; Alexis Denisof (Angel) as Reed Richards, Charlize Theron as Sue Storm, John C. Reilly as the voice of Ben Grimm, Paul Walker as Johnny Storm, and Jude Law as Doctor Doom.

Talking of their arch-nemesis, the plans for Doctor Doom, he got The Beatles treatment too... 
"We played him as the Pete Best of the Fantastic Four. He gets screwed out of the superpowers, so he made himself who he is. ... I got caught up with how to show his face but keep the scariness of a guy in a mask. I wanted the big reveal to be [that] the mask is a high-tech thing that can separate and retract off his face when he wants it to, you see that he's unbelievably handsome. ... But it doesn't end there. When he's handsome, he's lying. When his real character comes out, his face starts to sag and melt and scarify in this horrible way. And what you learn is that his face got so smashed upon his re-entry — he was one of the original astronauts — he's literally falling apart. And the mask is the only thing keeping him together."
Peyton Reed "developed the project for a year" but it seems that he and the Fox executives couldn’t get on the same page with regard to the film's shooting budget. As reed explained:
“Fantastic Four, for those of you who aren’t avid Marvel Comics readers, they are the royal family of the Marvel Comics universe, right? The first family of Marvel. And it felt like they sort of wanted to make a B-movie out of it. So we parted ways.”
Tim Story was then bought in as director by Fox. He went back to the drawing board and eventually delivered the 2005 Fantastic Four film and it's 2007 sequel. Neither were hardly B-movies, but neither were that well received either.

However, with Marvel now in control of the film rights to the characters, would Peyton Reed ever take another shot at The Fantastic Four? Could he be the man to finally introduce into them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? When asked this was Reed's cryptic response...
"Kevin [Feige] knows of my love and passion for The Fantastic Four.”
Would you like to see Peyton Reed's take on The Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

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