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Fantastic Four (Archives)
Reported by Comics2Film, 10/24/2001:

Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios told Comics2Film that recent rumors linking Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate SG-1, MacGyver) to the role of Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movie are false.

Reported by Comics2Film, 8/9/2001:

Casting rumors are half the fun of movie news, but oftentimes the facts don't support the sound bites. Comics2Film dug into a trio of recent rumors to see what's what.

Rumor #1: The UK press recently reported that former Batman George Clooney had been approached to play Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards in the planned Fantastic Four movie. Not so, says Kevin Feige. "[Director Peyton Reed] is working on firming up the story now," Feige told C2F. "We've not discussed casting."

Rumor #2: Internet outlets have reported that Daniel Day Lewis (The Gangs of New York) has expressed interest in the Sub-Mariner movie to Marvel Prexy Avi Arad. Feige sinks this rumor as well. "Not true," Feige said. "Interesting but not true." Of course it's still possible that Lewis and Arad talked informally, but so far it doesn't appear to be an more solid than that.

Rumor #3: The  U.K. press reports that Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2) has signed to star in a movie called Preacher. Based on the brief description provided, this didn't sound a movie that is based on the comic book of the same name. Never the less, Comics2Film checked it out. Scott's agents in both Hollywood and London told C2F that their client had not signed to any such movie.

Reported by Comics2Film, 5/10/2001:

Comics2Film has heard that Marvel and Fox are seeking a new writer to work on the Fantastic Four script. Sam Hamm (Batman) did two drafts of the script last year. However, the studio recently signed Peyton Reed (Bring It On) to direct the film and will likely be seeking changes based on the director's input, which is not unusual.

Reported by Variety, 4/25/2001:

Today's Variety reports that Peyton Reed has signed on to direct the Fantastic Four movie. Reed is best known for last years teen hit Bring it On. The report indicates that Reed will probably bring in a new writer to work on the script for the film.

Ain't It Cool first reported Reed's attachment to the movie last December. However, at that time, sources at Marvel stated the director was not on board. 

Reported by Cinescape, 1/15/2001:

Cinescape magazine recently spoke with screenwriter Sam Hamm about his work on the Fantastic Four movie. Hamm reports that he finished a draft of the screenplay for that movie in the summer and has turned in a second draft since then.

Hamm contrasted the work to his first big comic book adaptation. "The Fantastic Four are generally a sunnier bunch than Batman," Hamm told Cinescape. "And the fun of doing a team story is that it's really about an extended dysfunctional family."

Hamm aims to be true to comics first family and cites an early issue of the comic as an influence on the script. In that comic, the group has to deal with the fact that Reed Richards has lost all their money on bad investments. "The notion of comics characters having to deal with petty real-life issues in addition to alien invasions and supervillains who want to take over the world is what gave them so much flavor. And that's really what we tried to capture in [the script]."

Reported by Comics2Film, 12/21/2000:

A source at Marvel told Comics2Film that there is no new director under consideration for the Fantastic Four movie. When we asked about recent rumors that Peyton Reed (Bring It On) was up for the job our source told us the rumors are false.

Reported by Corona Coming Attractions, 8/24/2000:

Corona Coming Attractions reports confirmation that Alex Ross is negotiating to do character designs for the Spider-Man movie. Furthermore, the popular comic book painter is said to be in talks to come aboard the Fantastic Four movie as well. The scoop comes from Nathan Alderman, a journalist who recently interviewed Ross.

Reported by L.A. Times, 8/1/2000:

A recent article in the L.A. Times details the rising star of director Raja Gosnell (Big Momma's House). Gosnell, it appears, has two major studios with big-budget projects vying for his services.

Fox, hoping to strike while the X-Men iron is hot,  is eager to sew up its deal with Gosnell to direct Fantastic Four, while Warner Bros. is offering big snacks to lure him over to helm Scooby Doo.

Tim Rothman, newly named chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment told The Times "We expect and hope to make [Fantastic Four] pretty soon. If X-Men hadn't worked, we may have reconsidered." The studio is hoping to budget the movie at $75 million which is the same ballpark as X-Men. Rothman also told the times that it could be year's end before production gets underway. 

The directory aggressively pursued the project, which has been in development with Chris Columbus' 1492 for years. "I worked really hard to get a meeting on it," Gosnell told The Times. "I really wanted to do a big action comedy thrill ride like Men in Black." The movie is described as more comedic than X-Men. In previous reports, Marvel's Avi Arad described the movie by saying "It's probably the biggest sitcom of all time." 

Thanks to Corona Coming Attractions for the lead.

Reported by Wizard #107, August, 2000:

In the latest issue of Wizard magazine, Marvel's Avi Arad talks about various movie projects in the works.

About Fantastic Four, Arad told Wizard, "We're aiming for a release date of July 4, 2001. We've got a script and a director in place, and we'll be casting very soon." Previous reports indicate that the director is Raja Gosnell (Mrs. Doubtfire).

Arad also talked about the Hulk movie, which now sports Michael Tolkin (Deep Impact) as a writer. "Slated by Universal for a Thanksgiving 2001 or summer 2002 release. Big announcements on this one are coming very soon."

Thanks to Drew Reiber for the lead.

Reported by Entertainment Weekly, 6/12/2000:

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly provides what they describe as "your complete guide to comic book flicks." (Excuse me...I'm not laughing...just need to clear my throat). The article provides some interesting editorial remarks about what does and doesn't work in comic book movies.  Likewise, comic and film pros like Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis, Todd McFarlane, Stan Lee and some others comment on the top comic book movies to date.

The write up does provide one or two newsworthy remarks. For example, the report that Daredevil is now set up at New Regency with plans for a 2003 release.  Marvel big shot Avi Arad states that he did not move the project (along with Dr. Strange) from Sony due to internet tie-ins.  He just got a better deal from New Regency.

Arad provides this quote regarding the Fantastic Four movie, which will have the first family displaying their dysfunctional qualities: "It's probably the biggest sitcom of all time." 

Reported by Daily Variety and Cinescape, 4/28/2000:

A little over a week an internet buzz began indicating that the Fantastic Four movie may be showing signs of moving forward.  Additional reports this week seem to support the notion that a Fantastic Four flick may be in our near-future. 

On Friday, Daily Variety reported on a major television development deal for FF producer Chris Columbus.  The article states that several Columbus films are to be released by 20th Century Fox over the next year.  The projects named are Monkeybone, The Interpreter and Fantastic Four.

Meanwhile, syndicated columnist Cindy Pearlman interviewed director Raja Gosnell for her new Cin City at the Cinescape website.  Gosnell has long been attached as the director of Fantastic Four.  "It's in the future," Gosnell told Pearlman about the movie.  "It's such a big project that we're really taking the time to get it right."

Comments from Chris Columbus about the movie will be found in the May/June issue of Cinescape magazine.

Reported by Corona Coming Attractions, 4/20/2000:

Corona Coming Attractions reports that Ralph Winter is now on-board the Fantastic Four movie.  Winter may be best known to C2F readers as one of the producers on X-Men.  The source who gave this scoop to CCA also told them that FF should go into production in August or September.

CCA was also able to verify that there does seem to be some recent activity on the much-delayed project.

Reported by Cinescape, 4/2/2000:

Producer/Director Chris Columbus has recently been attached to the Harry Potter movie leaving some fans wondering what will happen to the Fantastic Four movie.  Cinescape contributor Cindy Pearlman asked Columbus for an update on that comic book movie.

"We had budgetary concerns," Columbus told Pearlman.  " You have four characters who have these intense superpowers. One person is invisible, which is fairly easy to do. But when you combine that with a guy who bursts into flames plus can fly and a guy who can stretch nearly any part of his body nearly a mile and an eight-foot character made out of concrete and rock--well, it gets to be a budgetary nightmare. We're trying to find a way to do it that's not complete animation. It's really daunting. Right now, the budget would be about $280 million. It's prohibitively expensive. We can't make that film. So we continue to tinker with the script to get this movie down to size."

Thanks to BloodFang for the tip.

Reported by Daily Variety, 2/24/2000:

Although Daily Variety recently reported that Roger Donaldson (Dante's Peak) had signed on to direct the Fantastic Four movie, it turns out the this is not so.  The esteemed Corona Coming Attractions websites checked in with Chris Columbus' 1492 Productions, the producer on the film, to verify the story.  CCA learned that Raja Gosnell (Mrs. Doubtfire) is still attached to Fantastic Four and Roger Donaldson is not.

Reported by Daily Variety, 2/24/2000:

Daily Variety ran a feature article on Chris Columbus' move from Twentieth Century Fox to Sony.  Columbus' 1492 Pictures has had a first-look deal with Fox for six years, which expires this spring.

Buried at the end of the article is a mention that 1492 will continue to work on The Fantastic Four for Fox.  The article also states that Roger Donaldson was recently signed as the director of the movie.  Donaldson has recently helmed such movies as Dante's Peak, Species and No Way Out.

Reported by Jam! Showbiz, 12/14/99:

In an article from the Calgary Sun and presented online by Canada's Jam! Showbiz website, director Chris Columbus (Bicentennial Man) talks about the prospect of directing the Fantastic Four movie, to which he's long been attached.

"Bringing this one to the screen is a budgeting nightmare," Columbus said. "One estimate was as high as $280 million US because every time the four characters walk into a scene, it will cost upwards of $100,000."

The director also mentions that the performance of X-Men will greatly influence the chances of a Fantastic Four movie.  Both films are set up at 20th Century Fox.

Reported by Comics Continuum, 10/13/99:

Rob Allstetter of the Comics Continuum spoke to Marvel executive Avi Arad who gave him an update on various Marvel movies.

Arad told Allstetter that Blade 2 will begin production early next year, shooting for a possible release date of the holiday 2000 season.  Arad also said, "We are interviewing directors, and I think we'll be able to announce something in a couple of weeks.  Wesley is committed to it, and we have a great script that is ready to go. We are talking to a bunch of directors, and we go from there. But the movie is ready and the movie is a go."

Arad also said the Fantastic Four movie is "on a very fast track," and a new script for The Hulk is expected soon.

Reported by Daily Variety, 7/13/99:

Daily Variety featured an extensive report on the status of various Marvel movies in Michael Fleming's Dish column.  The article discusses the re-emerging value of Marvel properties in Hollywood following the bankruptcy problems of recent history.

Marvel president and CEO Avi Arad told Flemming, "Look at our library: It is an endless supply of protectable characters with huge followings.  With 3,500 characters at least, it is the only content library of its kind in terms of sheer volume, depth of characters and range, from superheroes to horror to comedy and romance."

Marvel's clout has allowed them to cut better deals, with the hopes of getting truer versions of their characters on the big screen.   "We have story and outline approval, and the script cannot be different from what was approved," Arad is quoted as saying. "We have a say over how the characters will look, access to dailies in a timely fashion, and we either exec produce or produce. Legally, we have a lot of checks and balances, but the way we work with studios is very collaborative."

Apparently the publisher recently had to flex this muscle during the development of the Spider-Man movie.  The story in development had the webslinger killing one of his villains.  Marvel nixed the idea.  "Spider-Man never kills anybody," Arad said.

We all know that Spider-Man and X-Men are moving forward.  But the article reports on several other projects as well.

Marvel and Twentieth Century Fox are reportedly looking to hire Raja Gosnell (Home Alone 3, Never Been Kissed) for directing duties on Fantastic Four.   Chris Columbus is the producer on that film.

Silver Surfer is also making progress.   Andrew Kevin Walker (Seven) has been hired for writing chores on that one.

Even dormant projects like Hulk are now stirring again.  Michael France is writing and Gale Anne Hurd is still on board as producer.

The Malibu universe character Prime, a project that hasn't shown signs of life for years, now has a new life at Universal.   Doug Chamberlin and Chris Webb (Toy Story 2) are writing the screenplay about "a comedy about a scrawny little kid who has the ability or handicap of going instantly from a kid to an Arnold-like man. It’s Big in a superhero’s body," as Arad describes it.  Chuck Gordon is producing.

Staple characters like Captain America and Doctor Strange are also riding the wave.  Mark Gordon and Gary Levinsohn of Mutual Film, producers of Saving Private Ryan, are in talks with Marvel about Cap. 

Sony Pictures Entertainment, who landed the Spider-Man license earlier this year are after the good Doctor Strange.   The studio is negotiating the rights for David Goyer to write.  Goyer, of course, wrote the screenplay for Blade.

Speaking of Blade, star Wesley Snipes is not only on board for a sequel, but he's also eyeing another Marvel character.  Black Panther was a stalled concept that Snipes walked away from to do Blade.  Now he's back on board with his Amen-Ra production company developing it in cooperation with Marvel.   No major studio is attached.

Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff) is said to be developing Namor with Sam Hamm in talks to write the screenplay.

Even lesser known Marvel properties are looking viable.   Damage Control, the humorous take on a task force that cleans up after superhero battles, has been optioned.  The concept is at Village Roadshow Pictures.  Neal Moritz and Barry Levine are producers.

The article also mentions that studio deals are in the works for Iron Man, Daredevil and animated feature for Thor.

Reported By VRTY, 2/9/99:

20th Century Fox has renewed its three film licenses with Marvel EntertainmentFox has been developing Fantastic Four, X-Men and Silver Surfer for years, but word is that two of the three deals were in danger of expiring shortly.  VRTY reports that Fox has taken steps to ensure that development efforts could continue.  The studio's deal called for principal photography to commence under a specific schedule and that due to production delays, those deadlines were in danger of slipping.  The new deal extends the deadlines for at least two years.

The article also mentions that X-Men is in pre-production with an eye towards a summer filming start.  The movie is targeted for a 2000 release.  Likewise Fantastic Four is on deck also shooting for a 2000 or, more likely, a 2001 release.  Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures and Bernd Eichinger are producing Fantastic Four.   Eichinger is also the producer on Silver Surfer.

Reported by DRKH & CCA, 1/18/99:

If a recent script review posted on DRKH is any indication, things could be looking for the grim for the Fantastic Four movie.  DH's reviewer expressed "major disappointment" over Sam Hamm's second draft of the FF screenplay.   According to the script presents a "half-assed montage" of elements of the FF comic, interspersed with extravagant special effects.   According to the reviewer, what the script lacks is a strong plot and a sense of logic (especially in regards to the actions and motivations of Doctor Doom).  For spoiler level details, read the complete review at the DH website.

CCA also posted a script review and added an interesting wrinkle to the struggle to bring Fantastic Four to the screen.  CCA's scooper is a bit more mild in his criticism.   He does seem to agree that the script gets somewhat over-the-top for no good reason, especially near the end.  However, this scooper also adds that 20th Century Fox is considering holding off on FF until they see how things go with X-Men.  This could mean a delay of several years.  CCA also asserts that one other source has confirmed this story.

Reported by CCA, 1/5/99:

CCA is just full of bad news for comic book movies lately.  Their latest report on Fantastic Four indicates that that film is still suffering from budgetary problems.   It was previously reported that Sam Hamm (Batman) had been tapped to do re-writes on the script and cut the budget back to a reasonable size.   CCA claims that prior to Hamm's latest draft the projected production costs for the film had swelled to a titanic $183 million.  Hamm's latest draft is said to bring the number down to $150 million which is presumably high above the comfort zone of 20th Century FoxCCA also maintains that the current draft still contains a scene where Doctor Doom transforms into an animated Statue of Liberty.

Reported by CCA, 12/14/98:

According to CCA, movement on the Fantastic Four movie may pick up steam early next year.   Unnamed CCA sources tell them that the latest script by Sam Hamm (Batman) incorporates much of the Michael France (Goldeneye) and Chris Columbus script, but completely discards Philip Morton's (Fire Down Below) take on the super-team.  Hamm is apparently working on a new draft that would reduce the movie's budget.

Reported by CCA, 11/3/98:

CCA printed an update on the Fantastic Four movie script this week.   Sam Hamm (Batman) was hired on this summer to work on the screenplay.  As with many recent movies in development, producers at Twentieth Century Fox are proceeding cautiously with what will surely be an expensive movie to make.  Corona's scooper reports that the latest script is a big improvement over the previous script by Philip Morton (Fire Down Below) but is essentially just a polish on Michael France's (Goldeneye) draft.   The scooper reports that Morton is out of the picture both literally and in terms of his contributions to the script.  According to the scooper, the latest script has a scene in which Doctor Doom "actually becomes the Statue of Liberty."   Well...there's one special effect that can be immediately cut from the budget!

Reported by CNSC, 10/6/98:

According to an article on CNSC a new script has been handed in for the Fantastic Four movie.  According to Cinescape's anonymous source Sam Hamm (Batman) turned in a draft that has the executives at Fox pleased and almost ready to go ahead with the movie.   However,  Hamm's new script does not completely solve the budgetary gripes that have recently stalled the movie.  The source reports that five of the main characters will require extensive CGI effects which may keep the budget high.

Reported By DNCC, 8/13/98:

With a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to Marvel's financial difficulties, Stan Lee told the DNCC that the publisher would be refocusing its efforts to bring it's comic properties to the silver screen.  "As soon as Toy Biz takes over, that is our number one objective, to get our movies, television and animation projects going," Lee is quoted as saying. 

The article reports that X-Men, Silver Surfer and Fantastic Four are all still active at Fox, Hulk is being retooled at Universal and Mort The Dead Teenager is in development at Dreamworks.  Diversification is part of Marvel's new movie strategy.  Spreading the characters over different studios will give the movies a lesser reliance on each other's success.

Reported by VRTY, 4/14/98:

Michael Fleming's Dish column in VRTY gives a report on screenwriter Sam Hamm.  Hamm has just finished up screenwriting chores on Dark Town, which is produced by Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire).

According to Flemming, Columbus has asked Hamm to rewrite Fantastic Four.  The original draft of the FF script was by Columbus and Michael France.  That script has been deemed cost-prohibitive and has left the project temporarily grounded.  Hopefully Hamm will be able to rework the story into a shootable movie.

Reported By DNCC, 12/18/97:

DNCC reports that Peter Segal is still attached to the Fantastic Four movie as director.   Apparently Segal had left the project but has now returned to it.

Reported By DNCC, 12/10/97:

DNCC reports that Philip Morton (Fire Down Below) is working on the Fantastic Four movie script.

Reported By VRTY, 12/8/97:

In an article entitled BUZZ: Slimmer 'Racer' Speeds Ahead, Daily Variety reports on the progress of the Speed Racer movie, that was stalled with budget woes.  The same article mentions several other cases where the studios have decided to be pennywise and keep careful track of film costs.  Fantastic Four is mentioned as a movie "halted during pre-production" due to budget concerns.

Reported In MV #24:

In the Andy Mangels' Marvel Reel News column, Andy confirms the below information and also mentions that the movie will have extensive CGI effects. The villain of the piece is...try and guess...Dr. Doom.

Reported In FOX, Spring 97

Peter Segal will direct from a script by Michael France and Chris Columbus.

Reported In SSB:

FF movie is mentioned in the Stan's Soapbox which ran in the Marvel comics cover dated June, 1997.

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