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Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer - Tim Story interview

Tim Story, director of Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Interview by Rob Carnevale

TIM Story, director of Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, discusses some of the challenges of returning to the franchise and why one of his principal characters looks set to get a movie of his own…

Q. Was it easier this time around, now that you have a grasp of these characters and this scale of film?
Tim Story: I’d say it was easier, not easy. This was my first time working with a CGI character, so after you’ve directed the real cast members you then have to go back and direct nothing. So it was definitely still hard at times. But I have a shorthand with my cast and a better handle on their characters.

Q. Would you be up for number three if this performs at the box office as expected?
Tim Story: Of course! There are still a lot of stories, so if everything goes well it would be great to come back and explore them.

Q. How difficult is it as a director to keep the enthusiasm of your cast upbeat, especially when it comes to working against green screens for a lot of the big sequences?
Tim Story: I guess sometimes I forget to tell them because I’ve already seen it, so I know what it’s going to look like, whereas they haven’t always. Sometimes I’d say: “Go guys!” And they’d have to ask me what it is they were supposed to be looking at.

Q. Was the Stan Lee cameo always intended and did you listen to fans more this time when putting Rise of the Silver Surfer together?
Tim Story: Well, there’s sort of an unwritten rule that you have to have him in the movie. It’s a given. And yes, I kind of listened to fans a lot this time. You know, the whole MySpace thing, first you laugh at it and then you’re on it all the time. It was great to interact with them and find out what they wanted. I actually found there was a lot of constructive criticism. I even posed the question about what they thought the title of the movie should be and Rise of the Silver Surfer was one they liked.

In terms of the movie, there were a lot of things I wanted to improve upon so why not ask some of the fans what they wanted to see as well?

Q. Is it true you changed The Thing’s head a little bit this time, especially in terms of his brow?
Tim Story: Well, the brow has always been the thing that fans have talked about – it comes out further in the comic books. But there were a couple of reasons why we couldn’t. One of them was that we wanted to see Michael’s eyes because his performance is all there. I couldn’t put a light underneath the brow. We did bring it out as much as we could and even took it out a little further, but we had to bring it back.

Q. How late in the day was The Silver Surfer finished for everyone to see?
Tim Story: It took a second to figure him out but once we had him figured out putting him in the scenes becomes quite easy. It’s more about specific shots and that can be more difficult. Some of that stuff was finished a week and a half ago. It’s pretty simple to put him where you need him, it’s just figuring out the lighting…

Q. Clearly it’s been worth all the effort because apparently he’s going to be given his own movie?
Tim Story: I know it’s always been a plan to have a surfer movie and we kind of stole him from a pre-existing plan. So, now that you kind of have him introduced I think it’s quite exciting that you might get to see him in action in his world.

Q. Would you agree that this plays a little younger than the last one? Was that conscious?
Tim Story: I actually thought this didn’t play as young. I’ve always looked at it as being a little like The Empire Strikes Back to Star Wars. We realised what worked and what felt great in the first film and held on to it, but as far as the characters were concerned and the situations we wanted to get a little edgier and play to a more mature audience. In my opinion, I think the film is exactly what I was hoping it would be and that’s a mix of both worlds.

Read our verdict on the movie