Saturday, May 2, 2015

Director Josh Trank exits 'Star Wars' Anthology film

The Star Wars franchise is moving full speed ahead but one big question mark has remained: Josh Trank. Last year, the director of Chronicle signed on to direct an untitled Star Wars spin-off film (now known as the Star Wars Anthology series) and fan excitement was through the roof. Trank had gained a lot of goodwill from Chronicle and was in the thick of directing Fantastic Four for Fox, which promised to be a unique and interesting spin on the classic superhero family. However, everything didn't quite work as planned. Reports of Fox's displeasure with Fantastic Four started to circulate around Hollywood, and Trank's on-set behavior was considered to be quite ridiculous. Fans started to get even more worried when Trank didn't show up at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim back in April, even though the director was reportedly sick with a nasty flu. Now, our fears have seemingly been confirmed as Josh Trank is officially departing the Star Wars universe. In a press release on Star, Trank wrote:

"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."

LucasFilm development VP Kiri Hart followed up Trank's statement with one of her own. It reads as follows:

"It was a privilege to collaborate with Josh. We are grateful for the energy and love of Star Wars that he brought to the process, and we wish him all the best."

Trank's exit is not all that surprising, but it has sparked an explosion of reports, insider details and conversations about why Trank left (or was fired) from the project. Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon has a fairly comprehensive piece on the whole ordeal, but most of the original details came from the article "Inside a 'Star Wars' Firing: 'Fantastic Four' Problems Led to Trank's Ouster" over at The Hollywood Reporter.

Firstly, The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Trank was asked to stay away from Star Wars Celebration by multiple LucasFilm and Disney officials. After multiple reports of misconduct on the set of Fantastic Four, Disney was starting to become quite concerned about working with the director. Among the allegations against Trank, reports cite that he left five of his dogs in a production house, causing $100,000 in damage. Others say that Trank was "erratic" and "isolated" during the production and that Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker were required to step in and finish the movie.

None of these reports have been confirmed by Fox and I doubt they ever will. But unfortunately, unless they say otherwise, this will be a big hit to Trank's career. However, if Fantastic Four is ultimately a success and the franchise is rejuvenated, maybe Trank's Hollywood future is saved as well. He's currently in contention for Fantastic Four 2, but I can see that changing very soon. All in all, Trank is not in good shape right now, but hopefully his career can get on the right track. Fantastic Four is set to hit theaters on August 7, 2015 while the untitled Star Wars Anthology film (now without a director) will hit theaters in 2018.

Sources: Rope of Silicon, Hollywood Reporter, 
Image Credits: Comic Book Movie, IFC, Marvel Movies Wikia

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