‘Fantastic Four’ reboot begins filming today in Baton Rouge

Here's what we know so far

By Mike Scott, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 

Twentieth Century Fox's "Fantastic Four" reboot begins production at Baton Rouge's Celtic Media Centre today (May 5), according to a production spokesperson, continuing what has become a summer of high-profile sequels for the Louisiana film industry. Among other projects, it joins "Terminator: Genesis," which is currently filming in New Orleans, and will be followed by "Jurassic World," which is scheduled to begin production in June, also in New Orleans.

"Chronicle" director Josh Trank is directing "The Fantastic Four," based on the Marvel Comics property about a team of scientists who gain superpowers after accidental exposure to cosmic rays while on a mission to space. As for plot details, Trank and company have gone out of their way to keep things hush-hush.

As a result, there's been no shortage of online speculation about the project (Will the Doombots be involved? Will we see an "X-Men" crossover at some point?), while concrete details have been precious few.

What we do know so far is that actor Toby Kebbell ("Dawn of the Planet of the Apes") will reportedly play Dr. Doom, the telepathic scientist-mystic who is as brilliant as he is ruthless. Just last week, it was announced that he will be joined in the cast by Tim Blake Nelson ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?"). Nelson is reportedly in final negotiations to portray the schlubby genius Harvey Elder, who in the "Fantastic Four" comics eventually becomes the supervillain known as Mole Man.

Dr. Doom and Mole Man will presumably be the chief villains encountered in Trank's film by his main cast: Miles Teller ("The Spectacular Now") as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, alongside Kate Mara ("House of Cards") as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, Jamie Bell ("Defiance") as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station") as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch.

Marvel Films creative consultant Mark Millar has described the project as a contemporary take on the comic, which was created in 1961 by Marvel legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and which boasted a sense of realism that was new to the comics world at the time. While at the Tribeca Film Festival to attend the premiere of another film, the sports documentary "We Could Be Kings," Jordan reaffirmed to ABC News that Tranks's "Fantastic Four" will, indeed, include a dose of modern relevance.

"The movies I want to be a part of, the movies I want to see, mirror the life that I live, the world that I live in," he said. "Everything isn't black and white in the world that we live in. It's a very grounded superhero film. ... It's so relatable, it mirrors the world we walk around in today."

Co-star Mara, speaking to Manhattan magazine for its May issue, added that Trank's take will also have its dark side. "The whole thing will be different than anything I've ever done," she is quoted as saying about the project. "... I really loved Josh Trank's take on it, and I'm a fan of his last film, 'Chronicle,' which was like an anti-superhero movie -- really dark, which is what I like. I like things that are rooted in reality and that are dark and not what you expect. And I think that that's probably what 'Fantastic Four' will be."

This won't be the first time "The Fantastic Four" has been made its way to the big screen, of course. After a forgettable 1994 Roger Corman-produced ashcan production -- intended more to reserve the rights to the project than to turn a profit -- the superhero team was featured in a big-budget 2005 feature film directed by Tim Story. A sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," followed in 2007, also directed by Story.

Trank's reboot is scheduled for release on June 19, 2015. A sequel, also to be directed by Trank, is scheduled for release on July 14, 2017.