Her mother was a Rockette. Her father, a movie producer. Her brother, James Marshall, plays James Hurley on Twin Peaks. But Renaissance woman Kat Green’s role in Roger Corman’s never-released The Fantastic Four is likely to echo as long as any of their (or her) accomplishments.
For a woman who grew up in Hollywood and has produced a significant body of work across film, television and the music industry, it’s a funny thing to be recognized for a movie that never would have seen the light of day if it weren’t for bootlegs and the internet. In the spirit of this weekend’s L.A. Comic-Con, Kat shared some of her story of being part of one of Marvel’s earliest attempts to realize the potential that has since become box office dynamite.
How did you become involved in The Fantastic Four?
This is kind of funny, because it’s such an old movie, but it’s still comes up.
I was an actor at the time, in my early 20s, and I went on an audition. They read me for both Alicia and Sue, and then ultimately they chose me as Alicia. There was a lot of buzz around this project, and many actors went out for these roles. However all I remembered at the time were the cartoons and didn’t read comics. Plus I think only Batman had come out, so there wasn’t a surge of superhero movies quite yet. I remember thinking, “This could be really cool, but there’s no way I’ll get it.” It was so exciting at the time, because I was so young and it was my first feature film.
Comic fans love it. It’s one of those movies that would have been very good and entertaining at the time had it been finished, but they didn’t do all the special effects and the director was only able put an unauthorized rough cut together. It looks very much like a low-budget Corman B-movie, which makes it kitschy, entertaining and fun. Because it’s unfinished and never got released, when people see it, they think it’s something special.
At the time, none of you thought that this was not going to be released, right? You thought this was your big break?
Oh yeah. I was even asking my agent: “What about merchandising? Are there going to be dolls? Like an Alicia-Barbie?! (Laughs)”
Everybody thought it was going to be huge—even Corman. Everybody there was all excited that this was going to be one of their biggest movies. Stan Lee came on set—I met him a couple of times—and even he thought this was going to be great. There was no question about anything.
When did you, the cast, find out that it was not going to be released?
We were all waiting for the first cut and for a call to do post, looping etc, and we had moved on, done other projects. I was wondering what happened to the movie when I got a call from Oley (Sassone), the director. He said he was really sorry but the movie wasn’t going to be released. Apparently he did that with all the actors, because he felt personally responsible. He was emotionally attached to the picture and pretty upset. He thought it was going to be his big break, too. We all did.
Doomed is a documentary that was put together by people who worked on the film, and it’s about what happened. It’s a very interesting story. Essentially the German production company that hired Corman to produce the film never intended it to be released, but nobody knew that. They were doing it to maintain the rights from Marvel. They had to be in production by a certain date, so they hired Corman to do it cheaply, not letting even Roger or Stan Lee know of their intentions. It was a surprise to everyone. Then, apparently, there was a termination and cease-and-desist to prevent Corman from releasing it, so he didn’t see any reason to spend any money to finish it. Rightfully so, I suppose, but really too bad.
I only know as much as what I’ve been told, because I was out of the loop. I learned a lot from the documentary, even though I’m interviewed in it! I knew something had happened but I didn’t know the exact details. Now it’s become a very famous tragic Hollywood story in the industry.
When did you become aware afterwards that the movie had started to take on new life?
Good question! About 15 years ago, I was at a party somewhere in LA, and this guy came up to me and said: “Excuse me, did you play Alicia in The Fantastic Four?”
And I was like, “Yes…but how…did you work on the film?”
He said, “I saw it!”
I said: “What! You saw the movie?? How did you see it?”
This guy said: “Bootleg copy. You can get it on eBay, and they sell them at comic conventions.”
I immediately went on eBay, and I bought myself a copy of the movie. I had to see it!
Have you ever been to any conventions in relationship to the film?
I went to one. I went to Comic-Con in 1994 or 95 with the other cast members when we still thought they were going to release the movie. They had done a trailer, and we did a panel, premiered the trailer, there was a Q &A and we signed autographs– the whole bit. It was really fun, but that was, of course, before anyone knew the movie wasn’t going to be released.
Kerry Washington reprised your role in the 2005 Fantastic Four. Have you seen it?
I have not, but good for her! (Laughs)
It’s a totally different movie. It’s completely different than what we did. We did something kind of campy. It was more like that original Batman or that original Spiderman. It had that sort of tongue-in-cheekness to it.
Ours is the closest to the comic books. That’s why comic book fanatics love ours. They think it’s better, because the characters are very much like how they were written. They’re not serious action superhero stars. They are real people. There’s a lightness to the comics. The Thing is always saying something funny. There’s always some level of cheekiness in there, and the new ones don’t really have that. They take themselves way to seriously.
What especially stayed with you and became part of your story?
The experience itself is part of my story. I’m proud to have been a part of it and part of the talent, who are all wonderful people. It was a very exciting time in my life.
As an actor, one of things that did make a lasting impression, though, was when I was doing a scene with Joseph Culp (Doctor Doom), and he was taking me down the stairs. He had a gun to my head, and he’s a “method” actor, so he kept pressing the gun into my head. He kept pushing it into my head, and it hurt! So I was crying, because it was hurting.
Then the script supervisor came to me and said, “I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but you’re really grimacing your face.”
I said: “I know! Because he’s sticking the gun into my head and it hurts!”
I was so inexperienced that I didn’t know to stop and tell the director. I just kind of went with it because I thought I was being “method,” too. Silly, I know.
Oh! And we used our own clothes as costumes. The dress I’m wearing in that scene where I’m Doom’s princess? That’s my mother’s dress from like 1975!
It sounds like it was mostly a normal acting job that all of you had really high hopes about before it became what we know it as now.
It’s almost like it’s better that it didn’t come out, because now it has a cult following and a specialness to it. It’s too bad that they don’t go back into the negatives and finish it. They should! I think they’d make a lot of money. If they finished it, polished it and released it properly, I think people would watch it. In fact, I could totally see midnight showings at art house movie theatres with costumes and re-enactments for sure!
What are you working on now, Kat?
I try to stay very creative. Right now I’m going back to my first love, which is singing and songwriting, and I’m releasing my first solo album!
The album, “Until You,” is new arrangements of standards and contemporary songs, as well as some originals that were written for my film, The Big Swim. I’ll be playing songs from it live at my album release show at The Mint in LA on November 15.
I also produce and direct films, music videos and work in the music business, creating and producing music for film and television projects. The Big Swim was my “directorial debut,” and it’s won some awards this year. It will be released next month, and so will my album.
If your Fantastic Four fans show up for your album release show on November 15, will you be down for signing autographs and posing for photos?
Absolutely! Fans should definitely come, and if they do, their ticket will get them a free download of my album! I hope that they do come! I would love to meet my fans!
Visit KatGreenMusic.com for more details on Kat’s upcoming album and release show, watch Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s the Fantastic Four on Amazon Prime and I even found The Fantastic Four for you to watch now!