Michael B. Jordan talks Fantastic Four

The upcoming Fox Studios reboot of Marvel’s popular and long-running comic franchise The Fantastic Four, shooting now in Baton Rouge, will not be your typical superhero movie, says the film’s acclaimed star Michael B. Jordan. In fact, the film’s characters may not even view their abilities as “super powers” at all. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, The Wire) who is portraying Johnny Storm—aka “The Human Torch”—and is the first African American actor to do so, recently spoke to MTV about the project.

“We aren’t looking at this as like, being superheroes,” he told the network. “We’re more or less a bunch of kids that had an accident and we have disabilities now that we have to cope with, and try to find a life afterwards – try to be as normal as we can.”

That sounds an awful lot like Chronicle, but Fantastic director Josh Trank did well with that 2012 indie, and this would not be a bad direction for a franchise that has never taken off on screen in a credible way.

Jordan also describes the script as being as realistic as possible and says Trank is giving a lot of leeway for improvisation to his cast, which includes House of Cards star Kate Mara, Divergent‘s Miles Teller and Jumper‘s Jamie Bell.

“We’re taking it seriously, taking a lot of risks. I think it’s going to pay off,” he says. “Josh’s vision is very clear and he knows exactly what he wants, and he gives us room to adapt and to play. That’s what I kind of think sets us apart, is that this is going to be grounded and unconventional.”

It will be interesting to see how the improvisational style Jordan is describing actually plays out on screen. Many blockbuster actors and directors have talked up spectacle films as being “grounded in reality” ever since The Dark Knight in 2008, but more often than not those attempts are cosmetic at best or simply overly dark for the sake of being “real.”

Jordan’s comments follow a recent Esquire interview in which Mara, who portrays Sue Storm—aka “The Invisible Woman”—said Trank told her not to read any of the Fantastic comics before shooting because their film was not based on any of them.

“We’re trying to create a new way of seeing these superheroes, she said. “I’m focusing on making her (Susan Storm) as real as possible.”

So can The Fantastic Four present a believable world with real characters that still retains a sense of fun and adventure? We may get our first glimpse of the Baton Rouge-shot film via Comic Con this week.

The Fantastic Four arrives June 19, 2015