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Should you read a book before checking out a feature-film adaptation? This usually is an easier question to answer. If you want to see how Hollywood did on The Hunger Games or Divergent, grab the YA novel and devour it before the show. Curious about Baz Luhrmann’s updated take on The Great Gatsby? Spend some time chewing over F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic. That’s a no-brainer.
Gone Girl is a little more complicated. The initial joy of Gillian Flynn’s page-turner lies in unearthing the mysteries swirling around the missing Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), and the suspicions leveled at her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck). Immediately following our screening at the New York Film Festival, conversations pertaining to Davd Fincher’s film splintered into factions of those who’d read the book (and knew its secrets) and those who went on the ride for the first time via Fincher’s film.
So, should you read the book before you go to see Gone Girl? I wrestled with the question, and ultimately posed it to Fincher’s cast, anxious to hear their insight. Their answers may surprise you.
Remember, though, that actors have everything spoiled for them. They get to read the script long before a film begins shooting. So they know the reveals of all of your favorite films. To get to the real heart of the debate, I posed the question to the toughest critic: Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. She, after all, has multiple dogs in this fight. She wants people to read her book. But she also wants people to see the adaptation of her popular book – because she has said on record how happy she has been to have David Fincher behind the Gone Girl adaptation.
I love Gillian Flynn’s initial reaction to the question, as well as her well-thought-out response:
As someone who read Gillian Flynn’s book prior to seeing Gone Girl, I can tell you that Fincher and his cast are smart enough to include clever nods and calculated asides to entertain those who know where the story is going. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly jealous of those in the audience who didn’t know the twists and turns of Flynn’s dark relationship study while watching Fincher’s film. So tell me, have you read Gone Girl? Will you read it before you go? Weigh in below.