There's a lot of David Fincher news going around this morning, including the fact that he was just nominated for a Directors Guild award for his work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But we've always got our eye on the future, so we're more concerned about Sony's plans to go forward with the Dragon Tattoo sequel this year, even though Fincher may not be on board. To go over Fincher's options and the fact that he might make his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie instead, Sean O'Connell and Katey Rich jumped on gchat and talked it out. Katey wonders how this is the same Fincher who made Fight Club, Sean has some out-of-the-box suggestions to direct the next two Dragon Tattoo movies, and both of them just want to see where the stories go from here. Check out the conversation below.
KATEY: So Sean, we've both read this Playlist article that speculates David Fincher probably won't do the Dragon Tattoo sequels. And I think you and I were both hoping he would stick with them, am I right?
SEAN: Well, I'm honestly split, Katey. I mean, I wasn't thrilled that he took on Dragon Tattoo in the first place, but now that he has launched the trilogy, I think he should have right of first refusal on the sequels.
KATEY: I would imagine he does, but from the sounds of it he squabbled so much with the studio and Scott Rudin that he might not want to. And while I think Fincher working under duress is no good, I was intrigued by what he might do with the expanded story-- and I really thought he was interested in it too.
SEAN: Here's my stance. I always want to see David Fincher tackling original, creative and challenging projects. Even though Benjamin Button didn't connect with as many viewers as I'd hoped, I still think what he risked with that story was fascinating. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like Fincher's that interested in originality even if he doesn't tackle the next two Stieg Larsson adaptations. I mean, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea doesn't really light my fire.
KATEY: Yeah, that's my thing exactly. He's swapping in a franchise for a remake of a cheesy old Hollywood movie-- how is this the David Fincher we know? Do we think he's just doing 20,000 Leagues for the technology stuff?
SEAN: No, Fincher's not Cameron. He doesn't get geeked by the latest tech toys. As you heard him say during the Tattoo interviews, it's ALL about character, and so there has to be a theme in the original Leagues text that he's sinking his teeth into. Back to the Larsson trilogy, though. Do you think it's imperative that they keep the same voice, a la Peter Jackson and his LOTR trilogy. Or can the text benefit from fresh eyes, like the Harry Potter franchise?
KATEY: I think the Harry Potter example is more apt, especially since the second two books are so different from the first. I would love to have seen Fincher's tone and vision of this world continue, but if they keep Mara, that's probably the most important thing. For the second two you really need someone with more of an interest in government and politics, and I'm not sure Fincher is that guy. But, who is? Do you have any suggestions of replacements?
SEAN: Yes. And they are both women. Hand the keys over to Lynne Ramsay. She deserves a boost after We Need To Talk About Kevin. And this is a chance to work on a "franchise" without selling out. Or, find Mary Harron. I'm not sure what she last worked on, but her American Psycho proved she can adapt a difficult text and go to very dark paces (when needed). How about you? Any thoughts?
KATEY: Wow, I love that you went totally outside the box with both of those. But apparently Mary Harron's last movie debuted at Toronto to awful reviews, so I'm not sure she's your pick. I'm not sure I have specific directors in mind, but I hope they choose someone with the right influences in mind-- Dragon Tattoo is a lurid thriller, but the follow-ups need to be more in the style of All The President's Men or Network. It's all about large conspiracy and bad guys operating on a larger scale, not one creep in his sex dungeon. So while we hand the keys over to others, do you have any specific wishes for Fincher? Do any of his gestating projects excite you in particular?
SEAN: You know, I'll always be excited for Fincher. And the funny thing is, now that we can step back and look at his body of work with an eye on the bigger picture, he really does just choose genre pictures. Panic Room and Seven -- and even Fight Club -- are really neo-noir crime thrillers. He just brings such style and heft that we elevate him to another level. And so no matter what he does, it likely will be genius. Except for Cleopatra. He should leave that one alone.
KATEY: See, I was kind of curious about how he'd handle that! I don't necessarily want Fincher to stick with genre, but I do hope he avoids more projects like Benjamin Button, which just seemed really ill-suited to what he does best. Then again, so does 20,000 Leagues-- so maybe what I think Fincher is best at is pretty different from what he thinks.
SEAN: The more we try to figure him out, the more elusive he seems. I guess that's what I admire about him.
KATEY: OK Sean, I think we've officially set David Fincher straight-- since, of course, he's reading. Any final words for him or the Dragon Tattoo franchise as a whole?
SEAN: I wish I had something profound to say, but really, just keep making interesting movies, both Fincher and whomever has the unenviable task of filling his shoes on the Tattoo series!
KATEY: We're rooting for you, unknown replacement director!