The Roger Corman’s ill-fated film The Fantastic Four was supposed to officially release in 1994, but that never happened. In 2005, Stan Lee said that the only reason the film was ever made was because executive producer Bernd Eichinger wanted to retain the rights to the film series, so he made a low budget film knowing it would never see the light of day, and one day make a big-budget version for the public to see. Eichinger and Corman deny these claims, stating that their intentions were always to release the film.
Avid Arad, who was a Marvel executive at the time and would later found Marvel Studios, bought the film and ordered that it be buried without even seeing the movie because he didn’t want Marvel to be associated with low-budget B movies as it might tarnish the franchise. So what happened to the movie? It is still available for free to stream on Youtube and Dailymotion. The quality as admittedly quite poor, but it is still watchable for anyone interested in a superhero movie with the incredibly low budget. And what about the cast and crew of this Marvel anomaly? Let’s take a look at what they’ve all been up to since their work on this film.
15. JAY UNDERWOOD (JOHNNY STORM)
Jay Underwood had a promising start to his acting career in Desert Bloom with Jon Voight before getting his first big role in The Boy Who Could Fly. After his work as Johnny Storm, he further pursued acting, taking small roles in different shows like The X-Files, ER and The West Wing. He still acts to this day, but he has found another calling: religion.
When asked about his career change, he said: “I imagine someday standing before the Lord and if He were to ask me what I did with the life that He gave me, I don’t want to merely list off my acting credits which are things that really don’t have a lot of eternal value, but I want to hear those works from Jesus, ‘Well done good and faithful servant'”. He is currently a full-time pastor in Weaverville, California and lives with his wife and children.
14. OLEY SASSONE (DIRECTOR)
The New Orleans born director’s most famous work post Fantastic Four was his direction of a few episodes of popular television shows such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. His last directing gig was in 2006 (a TV movie called Cradle of Lies starring Dylan Neal who played D. Anthony Ivo on Arrow) but that does not mean he hasn’t had an active role on film sets.
These days, he has been working as a cinematographer, mostly on chef and motivational speaker Jeff Henderson’s many TV shows. Sassone did the cinematography for the famous Chef Jeff’s shows Family Style (14 episodes) and Flip my Food (58 episodes). His last credit is as the cinematographer for the 2016 mystery short A New Wrinkle.
13. ALEX HYDE-WHITE (REED RICHARDS)
The actor behind the elastic man and leader of The Fantastic Four, Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic, was born in London, England and started his acting career in 1965 playing a spot on Days of Our Lives as a young child. Since then, he has taken on 89 acting gigs including small roles in really big movies like the Steven Spielberg biographical drama Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
After a fulfilling career on the big screen, Alex Hyde-White has since been on a variety of different television shows including Criminal Minds, NCIS, The Mentalist and Dexter. He has also played a small role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Shameless. He is married to Shelly Bovert Hyde-White and has two children.
12. ROGER CORMAN (EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
The man is a legend in Hollywood as he helped kickstart the career of many actors and directors including Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. 91-year old Roger Corman has produced a whopping 411 titles since he began his film career in 1954, and he’s still going strong to this day.
He has produced a lot of the exploitative monster TV movies that have been coming out recently such as Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda, Piranhaconda and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf. If film titles sound ridiculous, it’s entirely done on purpose — i’s all part of the fun. His most famous work of late has probably been Death Race starring Jason Statham. His latest features are Death Race 2050 and the yet to be released CobraGator.
11. DAVID AND ERIC WURST (MUSIC)
To give you an idea of how small the budget for this film was, brothers David and Eric Wurst were instrumental in the budget for the soundtrack. They gave $6,000 to the production, as they wanted to use a 48-piece orchestra. Both composers have been quite busy since the film.
David Wurst has worked on the music for a lot of television shows including Chelsea Lately and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Eric Wurst went on to work on the music for quite a few superhero and animated shorts such as Ice Age: Sid’s Arctic Adventure in 2014 and Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 4D in 2015. He has also had a hand in a lot of the music for LEGO shorts, and TV movies. David and Eric collaborated most recently together on the LEGO show Hero Factory from 2010 to 2013.
10. MERCEDES MCNAB (YOUNG SUSAN)
Mercedes McNab has been acting since she was 10 years old. She was 13 at the time that she played Sue Storm as a child in the earlier scenes of the film, but she already had a few film credits under her belt including two small parts in Addams Family films. Since working on The Fantastic Four, she auditioned for the role of Buffy in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series. Instead she was given a recurring role as Harmony Kendall, a Sunnydale High student who later became a vampire.
She later reprised the role in the Buffy spin-off Angel. Since then, she has had a few spots on different shows like Supernatural and Criminal Minds. Her latest work includes the comedy/horror film series Hatchet.
9. CRAIG J. NEVIUS AND KEVIN ROCK (WRITERS)
Craig J. Nevius has continued to write as well as produce quite a few projects over the years. His work on FF allowed him to write other superhero scripts, like Black Scorpion which is heavily inspired by Batman. It was then adapted to a 22 episode mini-series starring Adam West as Black Scorpion‘s villain the Breathtaker.
He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special in 2009 for his work as a producer for Farrah’s Story, a documentary about Farrah Fawcett’s life as she battles cancer. Kevin Rock doesn’t have many writing credits after FF and none of them have particularly great reviews online. The best of the short list would be his work writing 3 episodes of Perversions of Science which is described as a cross between The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt.
8. PHILLIP VAN DYKE (YOUNG JOHNNY)
The San Francisco born Phillip Van Dyke starred as the young Johnny Storm in the early scenes of The Fantastic Four in one of his first acting roles. Since then, he has done quite a bit of television acting in live-action roles as well as voice work. His most famous acting credit is his voiceover work on Nickelodeon’s animated show Hey Arnold! where he played the titular hero as well as the role of Luke in the Disney Channel film series Halloweentown.
His last acting credits are from 2003. Since then, he rules sales for a financial services company. He currently lives in Moorpark, California where he lives with his wife Jennifer and his son Flynn who was born in 2011. He also has an older daughter Paris who was born in 2002, with his first wife Danielle.
7. MICHAEL BAILEY SMITH (BEN GRIMM)
Michael Bailey Smith has had a decent film and television career and continues to take some small roles to this day. He has made an appearance in quite a few shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The X-Files, Desperate Housewives, The O.C., My Name is Eal and Black-ish to name a few.
As for his movie roles, he played the villain in the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes named Pluto. In 2007, he played a different villain in the sequel named Papa Hades. Apart from his minor roles on television in the part few years, he has stepped away from acting and works as a director of IoT Business Development at Leedarson Lighting in Dallas, Texas. Not exactly the same field, but whatever makes him happy works for us!
6. PATRICK RICHWOOD (MESSENGER)
The Burbank, California actor already had a pretty decent acting career before landing the role of the “Messenger” in The Fantastic Four. He appeared in Pretty Woman as Dennis, the night elevator operator and as the White Rabbit in 1992-1994 Adventures in Wonderland television series.
Since FF, he has had a few small television and film appearances including the disaster film Armageddon directed by Michael Bay and the Anne Hathaway film The Princess Diaries. In truth, we mostly added him on this list for his latest role which also happens to have a pretty sweet Marvel superhero connection. In the Jessica Jones episode entitled “AKA Top Shelf Perverts,” Richwood plays a homeless man, reuniting him with Marvel and creating his lore in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. REBECCA STAAB (SUE STORM)
Rebecca Staab, a former Miss Nebraska, had already established a name for herself in Hollywood before signing on to play Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman, in The Fantastic Four. Before being in the unreleased Marvel movie, Rebecca Staab had already been in a few popular primetime ’90s shows such as Cheers, Seinfeld, Beverly Hills 90210 and Dark Shadows.
She has made an appearance of a number of popular shows over the years including Criminal Minds, Glee, Dexter and Masters of Sex and she still works to this day. Staab, as well as her partner William deVry, is also heavily involved in dog rescue, taking in dogs that were looking at euthanasia. She even has a passion for historical house restoration, fixing up old, rickety houses and revitalizing them.
4. BERND EICHINGER (PRODUCER)
German Producer Bernd Eichinger has, as you might have guessed it, a lot of German films on his resume. However there is one you might actually know: the critically acclaimed Der Untergang also known as Downfall which tells the story of Hilter’s final days at the end of WWII (which he wrote the screenplay for as well).
After having produced the 1994 Fantastic Four film for 1 million dollars, he was able to take a second stab at the franchise in 2005 with an estimated budget of $100 million. The difference in the quality of the effects and set pieces is no question, even if the quality of the story isn’t all that great. He has also produced many Resident Evil films and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. He passed away at the age of 61 in 2011, but his legacy lives on in film history.
3. CARL CIARFALIO (THE THING)
Although we know him as the Thing, he has worked equally hard as an actor and stuntman with a list of acting and stunt credits as long as your arm. He has done stunts in 159 titles, and acted in 124. This guy is clearly a hard worker, pumping out multiple titles a year. He has had the honor of working on a lot of amazing television shows and films over the years.
His stunt work includes Fight Club, Mission: Impossible III, The Book of Eli, The Expendables and Out of the Furnace. In terms of acting, he has had a lot of small roles, a few of which did require stunt work, but that doesn’t take away from his acting. He has been in Martin Scorsese’s mobster epic Casino, 24 and Heroes just to name a few.
2. GLENN GARLAND (EDITOR)
Film editing is a tricky and somewhat thankless business. You have to be able to go through reels and reels of film (or digital), select the best takes and are a key component to deciding the pacing of the film. It takes patience and you need to have an eye for detail. You can enhance an already great piece of work, but you can’t make diamonds out of dirt, so you can’t really blame them for a bad movie unless the pacing is completely off the mark.
Garland often partners with Rob Zombie and has edited a lot of his horror films since FF such as The Devils Rejects and the Halloween remakes. Most recently, he has edited episodes of Banshee and The Vampire Diaries.
1. JOSEPH CULP (DR. DOOM)
Dr. Doom. The world famous arch nemesis of the Fantastic Four. Joseph Culp, son of Robert Culp of I Spy fame, played the role in this film. His father got him in acting school at the age of 9. Although he never hit the same success and popularity as his father, he made a few one-shot appearances in different shows like ER, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and House, but his big break came when he got a recurring role on the critically acclaimed Mad Men, where he played the father of Don Draper, Archie Whitman.
He also did some voiceover work, playing Walter Robbins in the popular Rockstar video game L.A. Noire. He is married to Lauren Culp and has two children and lives in Los Angeles, where we assume he’s not plotting world domination.
Have you seen the 1994 Fantastic Four film? If you did, let us know in the comments what you thought!
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