Screenwriter Mark Frost Looks Back Upon Writing For The FANTASTIC FOUR Films

Screenwriter Mark Frost Looks Back Upon Writing For The FANTASTIC FOUR Films

Mark Frost, is perhaps best known as a co-creator of Twin Peaks, with David Lynch, but he also dipped his toes in the comic book movie genre with screenwriting duties on both of director Tim Story and 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four films. See what he had do say.

Mark Frost has worn many hats in his life; an acclaimed television writer for NBC's police drama Hill Street Blues, co-creator of the groundbreaking television series Twin Peaks, a film producer (" The Greatest Game Ever Played"), a novelist ("The Paladin Prophecy"), and a screenwriter for Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Recently, Frost participated in an interview with the site, Portable, and he discussed working on Tim Story's superhero films, which starred; Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Chris "Captain America" Evans as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch.

Portable: You worked on the Fantastic Four movies. What’s it like working with someone else’s characters and a pre-established story and adding your own story to that?

Mark Frost: The first movie was a lot fun because I’d collected Fantastic Four as a kid and had a lot of affections for, so they were stories I was very familiar with. The studio had tried to develop the thing for about ten years and it had fallen flat and gone in all sorts of different directions. I kind of steered them back to the original conceptions, the original ideas, the point. In a way it was like working with old friends, these were characters I’d known for 40 years. It was a little different than working with an adaptation that was brand new to me, with characters I didn’t know.

The second movie never really had much of a chance, it had kind of an ass-backwards development where they had named a release date but they didn’t have a movie to go out on that day. The second movie is a bit less effective than the first one, but that was a little different than a straight adaptation. These characters have been around for so long that they’re almost in our collective unconscious of pop culture, so it wasn’t that difficult.

P: Did you feel like you were adding your own voice to a modern myth? The collective unconscious made me think of Jung and Joseph Campbell.

Mark Frost: You’re trying to speak to those characters in the way they spoke to you, bring them up as the archetypes they were originally assigned to be.

P: So to fill the hole they filled back then, while considering the differences in culture?

Mark Frost: Right. I think our infatuation with superhero movies in the last 15 years speaks to that very thing, that interest in trying to form a mythology for a culture, particularly one as diverse and fast-moving as ours. It’s pretty difficult. As the 21st century came on us this set of characters from those books — characters many people first encountered as kids — have suddenly assumed this place of primacy in our collective storytelling. In some ways its a little alarming — they’re not the most mature characters you’ll come across, but at the same time they do address things collectively that are under the surface. These are issues that many people deal with like, identity, and anxiety and “what’s my ultimate role” and “is there such a thing as salvation?” All these things are in these books, these comic books.

P: Did comics and superhero stories help formulate your views of storytelling?

Mark Frost: I was a big Marvel character as a kid, I read a few DC books as well, but they were kinda like the Democrat and Republican party of comics: we didn’t have all the great indie labels that have sprung up since then. Marvel in the way was the upstart, DC had been around for a couple of decades before. I identify pretty strongly with the Marvel brand, and identify with their whole stable of characters.

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Member Since 7/12/2010
Filed Under "Fantastic Four" 12/24/2012 Source: portable
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siggisuperman - 12/24/2012, 5:53 AM
Got the first FF for my 6 year old cousin. I think he'll like it. Second movie could have gone better.
mil05 - 12/24/2012, 5:59 AM
"so it wasn’t that difficult"
regarding the second films script, [frick]..we are all suckers working and this goose gets paid to scribble a few non-sensual words together then hand it in without a spell check. [frick]er
astromerc - 12/24/2012, 6:07 AM
So he grew up reading the FF as a Kid . Was familiar with the FF and comics, yet he did not know how to translate Dooms origin or the rest of the movie...
ATrueHero1987 - 12/24/2012, 7:18 AM
DrDoom - 12/24/2012, 7:27 AM
I would kick him in the shins for writing such terrible movies.
GeekMobRoanoke - 12/24/2012, 7:40 AM
I would have asked him "What is your reaction to almost everyone hating these movies?"

I am not a big fan of reboots..But I am waiting desperately for them to hurry up and reboot FF and DO IT RIGHT!
shamo - 12/24/2012, 8:00 AM
didn't like either movie.
YoungThanos - 12/24/2012, 8:04 AM
@haroldthehand, It's FOX and they're only squeezing this movie into the 2015 lineup to keep the rights. It will fail yet again to be good.
YoungThanos - 12/24/2012, 8:11 AM
The fact that he didn't end this interview by reaching in his pocket while stuttering "Lord please forgive me...BAM!" makes this yet another fail. He should feel about about as great about those scripts as a Tabaco company owner does when business is booming. Yeah thank you for ruining what should've been a great franchise...
Comedian666 - 12/24/2012, 8:11 AM
Maybe with the reboot coming out, they'll finally release that damned directors cut of the first one on blu-ray instead of just DVD...I wish they would release the Cormn one, too. It's cheesy but fun. Hell, Marvel needs to release that, the Power Pack pilot, the Generation X TV movie, and the old Spider-Man TV series.
95 - 12/24/2012, 8:24 AM
I agree with a lot of you guys. The first one was acceptable back in 2005, but the sequel was not entertaining in the slightest.
cmax - 12/24/2012, 8:27 AM
Having Dr. Doom they way the did being a business man, having a connected origin... just a bad idea. I always said Dr. Doom's origin is so [frick]ing awesome, he really could carry his own movie. They should do a FF origin movie, and then a Doom origin movie, then connect the characters in a battle together.
jimpinto24 - 12/24/2012, 8:42 AM
I enjoyed the Fantastic Four movies. (Even though 2005's Fantastic Four was a lot better) My only complaint is that Mark Frost kept adding these plots that did not happen in the comics.
FoxForce5 - 12/24/2012, 9:03 AM
I just pray to Odin that the Fantastic Four reboot ends up in development hell and goes the same route as Daredevil - landing back where it should. Not that Fox will ever let that happen but it is what I wish.
SageMode - 12/24/2012, 9:30 AM
And that bullshit with Silver Surfer's powers coming from his board. WHACK!
Gunslinger - 12/24/2012, 9:41 AM
Shit movies. Genuine cbm cluster[frick]s. The second one is even worse. Galactus as a cloud? If you can't do it, don't try. Thanks for "adding your own voice to the characters" you dumbass.
Funsize - 12/24/2012, 9:57 AM
Marvel needs to get the FF4 back -.-
NillaSoul - 12/24/2012, 10:47 AM
The Thing was shorter then the other 3 and Reed Richards was was a idiot. I won't even go into what I thought about Galactus. Outside of the Human torch and Silver Surfer these movies stunk.
zachman2013 - 12/24/2012, 11:08 AM
FF4 1 was good for an enjoyable summer fun popcorn movie, but Rise of The Silver Surfer was a fucckfest waiting to happen.
ATrueHero1987 - 12/24/2012, 11:12 AM
Both movies were bad. Especially how they treated their villains(especially Galactus). Like I've said before, go epic or go home!
FennecPilot - 12/24/2012, 11:27 AM
@mil05 - unless you have experience working in the industry, you have no idea what you are talking about.
beane2099 - 12/24/2012, 12:02 PM
The fact that he admits to knowing that much about Fantastic Four makes those scripts that much more heinous.
beane2099 - 12/24/2012, 12:05 PM
Mind you I know the screenplay writer is but one component of the movie machine. Tim Story and FOX share most of the blame.
hipnosis - 12/24/2012, 1:20 PM
ThePowerCosmic - 12/24/2012, 1:27 PM
They both sucked but I liked the second one better. Silver surfer was the best thing about either film.
manofmidgard - 12/24/2012, 1:47 PM
i thought the first one was good, except that doctor doom completely sucked.

the second one totally sucked, except that the silver surfer was awesome.

mr. fantastic and thing were cast perfectly. evans played the part of torch well, but they shoulda made him blonde. i like jessica alba but she looks nothing like invisible girl. she also looks nothing like evans; no way they are believable as brother and sister. they got doom so wrong it was unbelievable. doctor doom is one of marvel's most sinister villains. he should be as scary as darth vader, but as powerful as the emperor in magic, and near iron man in technology. he really needed a scary voice; like pinhead from hellraiser or the candyman dude. silver surfer was perfect. i won't even mention galactus. we all know what a disappointment that was.
KingEmperor - 12/24/2012, 4:00 PM
Yup, collecting FF comics as a kid. And then he gave Mr. Fantastic a weakness to heat because he's apparently made of rubber. Doom-in-name-only actually implied this.
KingEmperor - 12/24/2012, 4:02 PM
And Silver Surfer was awesome, until it was revealed that his surfboard was the source of his power. What...?
YoungThanos - 12/24/2012, 6:07 PM
I honestly would've preferred if Trank did a Chronicle pt2 instead of a mediocre F4 reboot simply to hold on to the rights for FUX.
mgeoff88 - 12/24/2012, 7:53 PM
The casting for The Thing and Human Torch was perfect casting. I wish everyone else was cast as good.
MizeatWizad52 - 12/24/2012, 8:30 PM
Liked the casting of the Thing, but seriously wish they would've gone with a combo of CGI and practical effects to bring him to life. Doom was nothing like the books, more like Electro in a Doom suit that acted nothing like Doom. Did, however, enjoy Torch and Surfer, before the whole Board power crap. Completely blocked the whole Galactus thing, it was such shite!
dageekundaground - 12/24/2012, 11:18 PM
I burned my GEEK membership card the moment Jessica Alba stepped onto the Comic con stage to cheers from nerd sh*t poser fanboys
EarOne - 12/25/2012, 2:10 AM
i like the first one, except for Alba's casting. the second one..i was hoping it woulda been, at least, as good as the first one, especially with them NAILING the Surfer's majestic look and voice.

the funniest thing bout it though, WB didn't learn anything from its failure by following their foosteps in having a giant cosmic cloud as the main villain, in their Green Lantern.
Optimus83 - 12/25/2012, 6:12 PM
I want a Thing like Hulk in The Avengers. ...
Troubadour - 4/21/2013, 1:01 PM
First movie: good to excellent.
Second movie: OK -- surfer GREAT -- cloud Galactus: just plain wrong.

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