Tulsa actor Tim Blake Nelson told me that he is returning to the Marvel Comics filmmaking world in next year's reboot of "The Fantastic Four" franchise, playing a character who is set up to become a future supervillain.
Nelson has been cast to play Harvey Elder, a nuclear engineer who in the comics series is transformed into Mole Man, a creature/scientific genius who was featured in issue No. 1 of "The Fantastic Four."
The case was virtually the same when Nelson appeared in 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" film with Edward Norton. Nelson played scientist Samuel Sterns, a character who in comic-book lore was exposed to radiation and became the Leader, a nemesis of the Hulk.
While "The Incredible Hulk" was a $263 million success at the global box-office, it never spawned a sequel, and Nelson's character was never expanded.
"Yes, it's pretty much closed, with me playing Harvey Elder, who becomes the Mole Man," Nelson told me of his "Fantastic Four" casting, while adding that he couldn’t give further details on the film, which is set for release next summer.
"I absolutely loved working on 'Hulk' and feel extremely blessed that Marvel, Fox, and especially ("Fantastic Four" director) Josh Trank and his team have invited me back into the universe. The script is excellent. It has real heart, and it shows a true understanding of what it is to be a burgeoning adult geeked out to the margins."
There were movies for "The Fantastic Four" in 2005 and 2007, with legendary villain Dr. Doom facing off against the quartet of astronauts who gain superpowers after being exposed to outer-space radiation, and with a sequel that featured the Silver Surfer.
Those films, cast with Jessica Alba and Chris Evans as the Human Torch, were disappointments with audiences, comic-book lovers and critics.
We can be thankful that the series tanked. That allowed the over-the-top Evans to become Marvel's "Captain America" and show that he can play subtle and powerful at the same time as one of the Avengers.
The new, rebranded Fantastic Four features Kate Mara (playing the Invisible Woman), Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Michael B. Jordan (the Human Torch), and Jamie Bell (the Thing) as the superheroes. They will again face off against Dr. Doom, who is being played by Toby Kebbell.
Nelson is a native Tulsan and Holland Hall graduate who has multiple films being released this year, including the Western drama "The Homesman" with Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank, and "Kill the Messenger," a conspiracy thriller starring Jeremy Renner.
Nelson expressed great trust in Trank, who wowed with 2012's low-budget science-fiction thriller "Chronicle" for Fox studios, which saw him as the man to push the restart-button on their attempt at a "Fantastic Four" film franchise.
"Without going into detail, the script has as much soul as it does action, and it has a lot of action," Nelson said. "We're all going to have blast making it."