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FANTASTIC FOUR is based on Marvel's longest running comic book series, which has well-earned its moniker as "The Greatest Comic in the World.” While several Marvel comics-to-film adaptations have preceded FANTASTIC FOUR, most notably the "X-Men” and "Spider-Man” features, FANTASTIC FOUR required, for self-evident reasons, four times the special effects power of any previous comic-to-film epics; indeed, the film's finalized effects are so groundbreaking that the technology used to create them didn't even exist a year ago. But for all its state-of-the-art effects, what makes FANTASTIC FOUR special is its humor and emotion. The characters are, after all, the superhero world's most famous dysfunctional family.

The "fantastic” phenomenon began 44 years ago, when Marvel Comics' publisher Martin Goodman, after playing a round of golf with an industry competitor, decided to move forward with an intriguing idea. Goodman shared it with the legendary comics writer Stan Lee.

"Martin said to me ‘Why don't you create a team of superheroes?'” recalls Lee. "So, with Jack Kirby, we created the Fantastic Four and over four decades later it remains the jewel in the Marvel crown.”

Lee wanted his superheroes to be real people without secret identities. "I wanted to create them as if they were real people living amongst us in the real world who just happened to have super powers,” he says. "They are the first family of superheroes, four people who live and work together like a family. We hadn't seen a relationship like that in the comics prior to Fantastic Four and it made them very unique and very popular among the fans.

For Stan Lee, seeing this comic book come to life is truly a "Marvel-ous” feeling. "It's thrilling really,” says Lee. "Fox has wanted to make this movie for a long time. I'm glad they waited for the right story and the right technology. They certainly got the perfect cast and it's all going to be up there on the big silver screen…the humor, the drama, the adventure, the action, the fun…all the things that make them so fantastic.”

The movie adaptation of Marvel's Fantastic Four comic book was in development for over a decade, as producers like Constantin Films' Bernd Eichinger and Chris Columbus' 1492 Productions searched for the right screenplay.

Over a period of years, several writers penned script drafts. Things began to coalesce with Michael France's ("Hulk”) screenplay. "I've wanted to see a big-screen ‘Fantastic Four' movie since I was a kid,” says France. "Taking a swing at a ‘Fantastic Four' film is one of the reasons I wanted to get into the movies in the first place.”

To France and the producers, the chief goal was capturing the right tone. "The tone direction was to follow the original comics,” says France. "We wanted the film to be thrilling and full of things you've never seen in a movie.”

After several other drafts, writer Mark Frost ("Twin Peaks”), also a fan of the Fantastic Four comics, stepped in to continue shaping the script. "I thought we needed to go to the roots of the comics,” says Frost. "I felt that at its core, the story was really very simple. My instinct was that the story for the movie needed be like the earlier comics, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby – that it should have a bubbly feel to it. We wanted to capture the excitement of the Fantastic Four gaining their powers, while introducing a new audience to their mythology.”

When director Tim Story came aboard the project, he oversaw drafts that continued to center on the comics. Of course, it was impossible to be faithful to all the comics stories – they number in the thousands – but Story understood that the film would have to be loyal to the characters. He also wanted to humanize the characters, particularly Dr. Doom, who was perhaps less developed in previous drafts than the four heroes.

Throughout those years, as the script took shape, the film

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