On Friday, LucasFilm announced that director Josh Trank "decided to depart" the announced second Star Wars anthology film. Calling it a "personal decision," Trank's statement refers to plans to "move forward on a different path" with "original creative opportunities." But according to The Hollywood Reporter, Trank didn't decide to leave but was rather let go from the project by LucasFilm due to "unusual conduct" reported by a senior producer working on both Fantastic Four and the new Star Wars films.
According to THR's report, Trank was described on the set of Fantastic Four as "erratic" and "unclear," which led to "great challenges" for finishing the film.
"If you've got someone who can't answer questions or who isn't sure or is in hiding, that's not good," said someone reportedly inside the production.
Reportedly producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker stepped in at some point during the production of Fantastic Four due to Trank's behavior. There had been reports that major re-shoots were being done to the film earlier this year, although Kinburg has publicly denied them being anything other than normal re-shoots for a major film. THR reports however that Kingberg and Parker were "heavily involved" in the re-shoots, despite taking them away from their planned work on X-Men: Apocalypse which began shooting in April
Incidents for Trank filming Fantastic Four reportedly weren't limited to on-set work. THR states that $100,00 worth of damage was done to a rental house in New Orleans used by Trank, attributed to several small dogs he owned.
"No question there's talent there. You can't do Chronicle by accident," one insider is quoted by THR. "[But Trank seemed] like one of those kids who comes to the NBA with all the talent and none of the character-based skills to handle it. There's equipment he doesn't have yet."
An unnamed Fox spokesperson tells THR that while the studio is "very happy with the movie," they do acknowledge "some bumps on the road."
In addition to producing both the Fantastic Four and X-Men franchises for 20th Century, is also a producer on the Star Wars solo film that Trank was announced as directing. Kinberg reportedly passed along stories of Trank's behavior on the Fantastic Four set to LucasFilm, leading the studio to question having Trank direct a Star Wars film.
At the recent Star Wars: Celebration convention, Trank was absent from an announced panel to discuss the upcoming Star Wars film. At the time, both Disney, LucasFilm and Trank cited an unnamed illness as reason for the absence, but THR says that the studio asked Trank not to attend the convention as his role as director was under review.
In the announcement that Trank was leaving the project, LucasFilm said that work on the project will continue.