"No Galactus in Fantastic Four 2" says Ioan Gruffud

Mr. Fantastic, Ioan Gruffud, was put on the stretch rack by AICN and spilled the news that planet devourer Galactus doesn't make an appearance in Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer...
AICN: Okay, I'm going to carefully broach the subject of the next FANTASTIC FOUR movie. I spoke to Doug Jones recently and he was very generous with some of the details, or at least what he was allowed to talk about. Obviously, we're tracking the film very closely. There's definitely a growing enthusiasm about the film, due in no small part to the Silver Surfer storyline. The trailer is out there now. What do you think of it?

Ioan Gruffud: I think it's fantastic. I'm very excited about it because it takes our movie and our franchise to a whole new level. It's up there now where they're comparing the effects to those of the SPIDER-MAN movies, which is a film that is $100 million more expensive than our movie, and rightfully so, it's an awesome franchise. I think the fans will not be disappointed. It is as he arrived in the comic books. He's an ambiguous character. Is he the protagonist or evil, or just the messenger of evil? We're not quite sure.

AICN: In the comic books, they referred to him as the harbinger.

Ioan Gruffud: The harbinger, that's a great word.

AICN: Okay, since you brought this up...well, is the tone of the film more serious because the implications of the Surfer arriving are that the world could be destroyed?

Ioan Gruffud: Absolutely. The benefit of this film is that we don't have to set up who we are. The first movie struggled in that sense. The fans were a bit upset and thought it was a bit lame the way we set it all up, but for a wider audience we had to explain how we became superheroes.

AICN: Origin movies always seem to struggle with that problem.

Ioan Gruffud: Exactly. In this movie, we start out totally embracing our super powers within the context of a normal life, as normal as you can be, because they are under the scrutiny of the paparazzi and the public. And Reed Richards, this great mind, is now more interested in his fame than his work. So we start off on this light note, and then when the Silver Surfer arrives: Bang, we're off; we're up and running. And it becomes very dark by the end.

AICN: I'm just going to ask: does Galactus play a role in this film?

Ioan Gruffud: Um...his presence is felt in the movie. He doesn't physically appear, no. Galactus does have a form, doesn't he, in the comic books?

AICN: Actually he has a really beautifully designed costume that Jack Kirby created. It's a fairly elaborate costume actually with all sorts of machinations. When I first heard that the Silver Surfer would be in this second film and people were being a bit evasive about whether Galactus appeared, I'd assumed that the second film would set up the coming of Galactus, and that the actual confrontation with him would occur in the third film.

Ioan Gruffud: It's more of a finite movie than the first one. It's not open-ended in that sense. But Galactus doesn't actually appear, so it does leave room for that possibility.

AICN: Have the relationships between the characters changed? Obviously there's a wedding.

Ioan Gruffud: There is a wedding. That's interesting because when the Silver Surfer arrives, he sort of drives a wedge between Sue Storm and myself. She finds him mysterious and appealing, much to Reed Richards chagrin. And then there's the element of, do they want to be superheroes or not, struggling with that fact and having enough of being under the microscope, in the public eye.

AICN: The Fantastic Four were always unique in the Marvel world because they didn't have secret identities and they were always in the public eye. Can you really say you don't want to do it anymore, but is that possible when everybody knows who you are?

Ioan Gruffud: That's what we're grappling with throughout the movie. There's a point in the movie where we say, let's pack it in and go live in the countryside and raise a family like normal people. And then of course they realize they've been given a gift to help people and do things for the greater good, so they get over that sort of self-indulgence pretty quickly.

AICN: How long did it take you to realize with this second film that you were entering the holy waters of comic book fandom with this Silver Surfer storyline. There is a cult around his character that is more substantial than a lot of the major heroes. If you thought you were under the geek microscope with the first film...

Ioan Gruffud: Yeah, yeah. It was first foray into this world. I wasn't a comic book reader, I wasn't aware of this whole...not underworld...but this specific world that existed. And I was blown away when we went to ComicCon when we were first introduced as a cast and we didn't have anything to show the audience. They were introducing the trailer for one of the SPIDER-MAN movies, I think, and we were just being introduced by Avi Arad to this audience. There were 7,000 people in the arena, all of them wanting Jessica Alba's phone number. And they were all sort of baffled at how this British actor going to play this American icon of Mr. Fantastic. And I'm glad that subsequently many people have been very complimentary about my performance and my representing of him.
But with the new film, this is the first time ever where we've had so much scrutiny and paparazzi trying to get an image of the Silver Surfer during the filming. That's when I realized, Wow, this character is something special.

AICN: What are your thoughts on Doug Jones' interpretation of the Surfer? Do you remember anything specifically about his performance that struck you?

Ioan Gruffud: The character is very, very attractive. There is that quality to him that you're never sure who he is. He can turn on a six pence; he can become incredibly angry and violent and quite vicious. And he can be quite calm and gentle. A lot of that was in Doug's voice; he's got a lovely voice. I hope they use Doug's voice in the end.

AICN: Even he wasn't sure when I spoke to him, whether they'd use his voice.

Ioan Gruffud: Oh, god. I hope they do. The studio was trying to play down the whole thing. You know, the Silver Surfer isn't really him. If people got an image of Doug as the Surfer, that wasn't going to be what he looked like in the end. But Doug has created this character that we are responding to, and he does such a moving job and he's such a good actor in that costume, and I hope they use his nuances and what he presented to us. I know they're going to put the sheen on top of him. But his voice is wonderful, I don't know what they could get that would be better.

AICN: It seems that in many of the films he's best known for, they never use his voice. Sometimes for obvious reasons, like that his character is speaking Spanish.

Ioan Gruffud: [laughs] Well that's fair enough.

AICN: I know that Dr. Doom is a part of this film as well. Is he secondary now that the Surfer is the primary focus? I haven't quite figured out what his role is in this film.

Ioan Gruffud: It was strange when he came back, because it's not clear cut us against the Silver Surfer. Dr. Doom being Dr. Doom, he attempts to manipulate the situation to his own means and ends. It's all about the surfboard itself being the source of all the Silver Surfer's power. I probably shouldn't be giving that away.

AICN: I had suspected as much, where Doom would either try to get the Surfer to fight with him or at least find a way to harness his powers.

Ioan Gruffud: That's exactly it.

Thanks go to Ryan for the head's up!
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