When it comes to infamous misfires, Josh Trank's Fantastic Four (2015) is one of the biggest ones for 20th Century Studios. While promoting her limited series, A Teacher, Kate Mara, who played Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, spoke with Collider about her time on the set of the ill-fated reboot. The actress cited the former Fox film as one of two "horrendous experiences" working with male directors. "Have I not gotten along with a female director?" Mara told previously told Emmy Magazine. "Absolutely. And was it not the greatest work experience? Sure. But there was never a time that I felt, 'This is happening because I'm a woman.' Where with the male directors, it 100 percent was only happening with me; it was a power dynamic thing."
Elaborating on her experience on Fantastic Four, the Emmy-Award nominee expressed regret not standing up for herself during filming. "I think that the thing that I always go back to on that one is that I think I should have followed my instincts more," Mara explained to Collider. "Like when my gut was telling me, 'You probably shouldn't let that slide, what that person just said,' or if you're feeling a certain way about what an energy is like and how that is affecting your performance. You're being paid to do a certain thing, and if something is in the way of that, you have the right to speak up and say, 'I'm actually not able to do what I am here to do because of X, Y, and Z.'"
How Fantastic Four Became a Teachable Moment
Mara felt her time on the film became itself became a lesson in assertiveness, and if she did a little more, it could have been better. "I think that speaking up is something that I think that we all probably learn it over and over again, to follow your instincts and if you're feeling a certain thing that is uneasy or whatever, there's a reason for it," she continued. "But, because it was such a big movie and again, usually, except in this case, when you're in a big superhero movie, they usually do incredibly well, like almost always. So even if it's challenging, or this or that, or not everything's perfect, it's probably good for you to do it. That was sort of what I was being told and also was telling myself. And I don't regret doing it at all, but do regret not having stood up for myself. I regret that for sure. Because if my daughter ended up acting and was in a situation like that where she felt like she couldn't speak up – meanwhile, I'm a pretty tough person, and I really do advocate for myself. Granted, this was a few years ago, and maybe this situation was different, but if I was in that situation today, it just wouldn't have happened, or it just would have been a different environment, I think. So again, good learning experience, you know?"
Mara stressed the importance of communication in improving the craft. "This is another great lesson that I learned – asking other actors – and I learned this lesson not just on this movie, but a couple others after that – asking other actors what their experience was like working with either a producer or a director or another actor," she said. "I never used to do that, and now I do because I think that if you really respect another actor and they've worked with someone that you're thinking about working with, then you can learn a lot just by talking to them. And I always say, if anyone ever wants to ask me about my experiences on things, then please do because I think that if you're in a position where you can make a choice about doing something or not doing something – and we're not always, sometimes you just have to work – but if you're in a position where you can, doing the research not just with the role but with the people that you're about to work with creatively is really important." You can check out Mara in A Teacher on FX.