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Three Out of Four Set For Fantastic Cast

Fox has signed three of four members of the superhero team that will headline the studio's FANTASTIC FOUR feature, reports VARIETY. Taking the lead of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic will be Iaon Gruffudd, who played Lancelot in KING ARTHUR. THE SHIELD star Michael Chiklis will play Ben Grimm/the Thing and Chris Evans (NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE) is set to play Johnny Storm/the Human Torch. Sue Richards/the Invisible Woman is the only empty slot open with leading candidates including Jessica Alba (TV's DARK ANGEL), Rachel MacAdams (THE NOTEBOOK), Keri Russell (TV's FELICITY) and Elisha Cuthbert (GIRL NEXT DOOR).

"We see FANTASTIC FOUR as the last great jewel in the comicbook crown," said Fox production president Hutch Parker. "The casting has been extremely important in terms of fulfilling expectations of an audience that's been incredibly loyal to these characters for over 40 years."

The Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comicbook story centers around scientist Reed Richards, his wife, her brother and their friend Ben Grimm as they gain superpowers after being exposed to cosmic rays while flying into space in an experimental spaceship. The film's planned villain will be Dr. Doom, who in the comics was the dictator of an Eastern European country with plans to rule the world. The comic, which debuted in 1962, broke comicbook conventions and featured a team of heroes that didn't always get along. Mr. Fantastic often fought with the hotheaded Human Torch and The Thing often held his less-than-appealing rock-like appearance against his longtime friend.

Set to go before cameras in August or September, the $85-$90 million film is being directed by BARBERSHOP director Tim Story from a script by Simon Kinberg. Ralph Winter is producing, with Parker and svp of production Alex Young sheparding the flick for the studio.

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