Back in January, David Fincher said something that surprised many fans looking forward to his upcoming adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl. Talking about Flynn's screenplay version of her own book, the director described star Ben Affleck's shock at seeing that the third act had been basically thrown out and then "started from scratch." This took a lot of the readers of the best-seller off guard, and minds began to wonder exactly what Fincher had in store for his big screen version. Now, approximately seven months later, he's effectively downplaying his previous statements... and doing so with some interesting metaphorical language.
It's in the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly that David Fincher sets the record straight on his comments, which is fitting given that they were the source of the filmmaker's comments earlier this year. In the article, Fincher says that his quotes were taken "out of context," but when asked what we can expect when it comes to book vs. movie, his phraseology quickly became more vague and abstract. Said the director,
"You're not changing the marrow of the creature. You're just changing the bone structure and the muscles and the skin... And the hair. It's all of its outer sheathing. But at its core, it's exactly what I think Gillian always intended."
So what does this mean? If I'm understanding him correctly, it sounds like the important themes and meaning behind everything in the ending of Gillian Flynn's book will be the same, but that the more superficial and swappable elements may get moved around. This is very much in tune with what Flynn herself said during an AMA on Reddit this past spring, when she wrote
"Of course, the script has to be different from the book in some ways — you have to find a way to externalize all those internal thoughts and you have to do more with less room and you just don't have room for everything. But the mood, tone and spirit of the book are very much intact."
Before all of you die-hard Gone Girl fans start getting all sweaty and panicky, allow me to remind you that Fincher has a pretty positive history with movies featuring endings that deviate from the book:
The ending of Fight Club was completely different than the one written by author Chuck Palahniuk - who originally had the narrator shooting himself and then waking up in a mental hospital. Fincher and writer Jim Uhls instead came up with the ending you see above, with the Narrator and Marla watching as the credit card companies come crashing down to the ground, and it's not only magnificent, but better. If Gone Girl's ending is changing, I have full faith in Fincher that all of the alterations will be for the better.
Gone Girl will be in theaters on October 3rd.