At some point in the last decade, probably around the release of “Zodiac,” David Fincher became one of my favorite filmmakers. I had always found his work compelling, even “Alien 3,” but it was that 70s-set mind-F epic that truly knocked me over. Since that film, I liked “Benjamin Button,” really liked “The Social Network,” and loved “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
“Dragon Tattoo” is a film that demands reevaluation; I still believe it was not given a fair shake critically, and was released at an insanely bad time (the holidays). What even the haters will agree on is that it was a star-making role for Rooney Mara, an actress who embodied the heroine of Stieg Larsson’s book (like Noomi Rapace did), but added a level of fragility that was positively mesmerizing.
Her performance is, I think, one of modern cinema’s finest, and it made me a swooning-Rooney-ite.
Mara went on to “Side Effects” and the upcoming “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” while Fincher turned to the Netflix series “House of Cards” as producer and occasional director. But what about big-screen Fincher?
The answer finally came this week, as it was finally announced that he would direct an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” I am currently reading the massive bestseller, and while it has not completely grabbed me yet, I can see why it appeals to the director. If he’s looking for a commercial slam-dunk, this is it. And now that he has inked Ben Affleck? Even better. It will be interesting to see who is cast as the female lead; while still early in the book, I see it as a Jessica Chastain/Amy Adams type.
“Gone Girl” is an exciting choice, but that’s now surprise; check out the many interesting projects Fincher supposedly had percolating:
- “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”: An odd choice, to be sure, but a fascinating. The latest, sadly, is that Brad Pitt has passed on this oft-delayed movie. That’s a bit of a surprise, and one wonders if this may sink the whole project.
- “The Girl Who Played With Fire”: As a “Dragon Tattoo” fan, I am hoping this is next, but it is unlikely to be the case. And if it is, it is hard to know whether Fincher will be behind the camera. There were recent rumors that Daniel Craig was holding things up with salary demands, although there is no confirmation that this is indeed the case.
- “Utopia”: News just broke that Fincher may be developing an American version of this U.K. series.
The finest recent example of Fincher’s talents might just be this drop-dead-gorgeous black-and-white Calvin Klein commercial starring one Rooney Mara. It is a stunner, and a reminder of his commercial roots. He seems to bring something truly entrancing out of Mara, and perhaps the finest praise one can give this TV spot is that it makes me hungry to see them work together again. Like, now. Is it too late to throw her name in the mix for “Gone Girl”?
Image: © Calvin Klein