2015’s FANTASTIC FOUR was riddled with its fair share of problems that ranged from the start of production to its ill-fated release that was met with poor box office and toxic critical reaction. As the film’s history became more apparent, the more concerning part of the FANTASTIC FOUR experience was the information that surfaced about the environment on set. Actress Kate Mara, who played Sue Storm in the film, revealed in a recent conversation with “Emmy Magazine” that her experience on FANTASTIC FOUR was far from pleasant.
During the conversation with “Emmy Magazine,” Mara said she “had a horrible experience on Fantastic Four” and pointed out that she had two “horrendous experiences” working with male directors and added, “Have I not gotten along with a female director? Absolutely. And was it not the greatest work experience? Sure. But there was never a time that I felt, ‘This is happening because I’m a woman.’ Wherewith the male directors, it 100 percent was only happening with me; it was a power dynamic thing.”
Mara was then a guest on an episode of “Collider Ladies Night” in celebration of her new series, A Teacher, and while revisiting her filmography, she took a moment to elaborate on those quotes and discuss what it felt like to be on the set of FANTASTIC FOUR:
“I think that the thing that I always go back to on that one is that I think I should have followed my instincts more. Like when my gut was telling me, ‘You probably shouldn’t let that slide, what that person just said,’ or if you’re feeling a certain way about what an energy is like and how that is affecting your performance. You’re being paid to do a certain thing and if something is in the way of that, you have the right to speak up and say, ‘I’m actually not able to do what I am here to do because of X, Y and Z.’”
Mara went on to discuss the importance of trusting your instincts and speaking up when things don’t feel right, even if you are working a potential blockbuster release:
“I think that speaking up is something that I think that we all probably learn it over and over again, to follow your instincts and if you’re feeling a certain thing that is uneasy or whatever, there’s a reason for it. But, because it was such a big movie and again, usually, except in this case, when you’re in a big superhero movie they usually do incredibly well, like almost always. So even if it’s challenging, or this or that, or not everything’s perfect, it’s probably good for you to do it. That was sort of what I was being told and also was telling myself. And I don’t regret doing it at all, but do regret not having stood up for myself. I regret that for sure. Because if my daughter ended up acting and was in a situation like that where she felt like she couldn’t speak up – meanwhile, I’m a pretty tough person and I really do advocate for myself. Granted, this was a few years ago and maybe this situation was different, but if I was in that situation today, it just wouldn’t have happened or it just would have been a different environment I think. So again, good learning experience, you know?”
In addition to pointing to the importance of speaking up, FANTASTIC FOUR also contributed to something else that Mara now puts into practice when joining any of her new projects:
“This is another great lesson that I learned – asking other actors – and I learned this lesson not just on this movie, but a couple others after that – asking other actors what their experience was like working with either a producer or a director or another actor. I never used to do that and now I do because I think that if you really respect another actor and they’ve worked with someone that you’re thinking about working with, then you can learn a lot just by talking to them. And I always say, if anyone ever wants to ask me about my experiences on things, then please do because I think that if you’re in a position where you can make a choice about doing something or not doing something – and we’re not always, sometimes you just have to work – but if you’re in a position where you can, doing the research not just with the role but with the people that you’re about to work with creatively is really important.”
Stories about how Mara was allegedly treated on set, particularly by director Josh Trank, were reported on a few occasions after the film was released and her recent quotes seem to reflect that a lot of that treatment was indeed true. The experience of making FANTASTIC FOUR wasn’t a total loss for Mara as she did marry her FANTASTIC FOUR co-star, Jamie Bell, and they welcomed a baby girl into their family in May of 2019. It also seems she took a negative experience and spun it into something positive by making sure she will not be treated like that again on projects moving forward.
What are YOUR thoughts on Kate Mara’s FANTASTIC FOUR experience?