Joshua Benjamin Trank (born February 19, 1984) is an American film director, writer and editor. He has directed three features — Chronicle (2012), Fantastic Four (2015), and Capone (2020) — but is most well-known for the first two, with each film representing his meteoric rise and subsequent fall in prominence.
Chronicle put Trank's name on the map with its inventive take on the found footage genre and its ability to make an inexpensive production look like it was expensive. However, he had actually been generating buzz as early as 2007, with the overnight popularity of his video "Stabbing at Leia's" (also filmed in a found footage style) making for his first big break. He filled the years in between with work including spin-off webisodes for The Kill Point and editing for Big Fan.
With Chronicle's success, Trank had promise to be a big-time director, at varying points in time being attached to film adaptations of Shadow of the Colossus and Venom. He was ultimately chosen by producer Simon Kinberg (who produced Chronicle) to go with a reboot of the Fantastic Four film franchise, making it his second collaboration with 20th Century Fox. Kinberg also convinced Lucasfilm that he could handle one of their then-recently-announced Star Wars spin-off films (which he executive produced).
Unfortunately, things went downhill from there. Trank found himself overwhelmed by the experience of working on Fant4stic and became unresponsive or outright hostile on the set, at least according to various reports.note Around this time, he announced that he would be stepping down from the Star Wars spin-off gig in favor of his own smaller projects, though that stopped few from running with the story that he was booted due to his behavior helming Fant4stic. Even with the film being significantly overhauled by Fox itself, nobody was satisfied with the final product, least of all the critics and audiences who panned it, and the film lost Fox $80-100 million. Trank then distanced himself from the movie and quietly disappeared from movie industry talks.
However, in the years since the Fant4stic debacle, Trank lived up to his promise to work on smaller projects, although the fact that his chances of working on another studio tentpole for a long while are slim to none is undeniable. His first new effort, Capone, focuses on notorious gangster Al Capone's descent into insanity in his last years of life.