Kate Mara Reflects on ‘Fantastic Four’ Experience: “I Do Regret Not Having Stood Up for Myself”

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We all know how things panned out with the 2015 Fantastic Four movie. From start to finish there were bumps in the road which included some extreme creative differences between director Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox. While it is disappointing that things didn’t come together creatively and the film absolutely tanked at the box office, making a mere $167.9 million worldwide on a reported $120 million production budget, the more concerning part of the Fantastic Four story has become the information that’s surfaced regarding the environment on set.

Image via Hulu on FX

During a conversation with Emmy Magazine, Kate Mara admitted that she “had a horrible experience on Fantastic Four.” She pointed out that she had two “horrendous experiences” working with male directors and added, “Have I not gotten along with a female director? 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.”

Mara recently joined us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night in celebration of her new series, A Teacher, and while revisiting her filmography, she took a moment to elaborate on those quotes and discuss what it felt like to be on the set of Fantastic Four:

“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. 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.’”

Mara continued by emphasizing the importance of speaking up when something doesn’t feel right, even if you’re under the impression that forging through the making of a major superhero movie could be beneficial: 

Image via 20th Century Fox

“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. 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?”

In addition to magnifying the importance of speaking up, Fantastic Four also contributed to something else that Mara now puts into practice when joining new projects:

Image via 20th Century Fox

“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. 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.”

If you’re looking for more from Mara, you better keep an eye on Collider because we’ll have her full Ladies Night interview for you next week! In the meantime, keep an eye out for more snippets from the conversation and be sure to check out the first three episode of A Teacher, which are now available to stream on FX on Hulu.

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