Dakota Johnson and Andrew Garfield on What The Social Network Taught Them—And Where It Took Them

The stars of The Lost Daughter and Tick, Tick…Boom! also reflect on the weight of franchise fame: “It takes a lot to be private now.”

Rebecca Ford
January 18, 2022
Vanity Fair

In Reunited, Awards Insider hosts a conversation between two Oscar contenders who have collaborated on a previous project. Here, we speak with Lost Daughter actor Dakota Johnson and Tick, Tick…Boom! star Andrew Garfield, who previously appeared together in the 2010 drama The Social Network.

The Social Network, David Fincher’s 2010 drama about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook, has remained firmly part of the cultural conversation—after all, the influence of the social media network on our lives and politics has only increased. But this year also brings an opportunity to celebrate two of its stars who are making their way through the awards circuit: Andrew Garfield, who played Eduardo Saverin, and Dakota Johnson, who, in her first film role, played Amelia Ritter.

The 32-year-old Johnson, who went on to lead the Fifty Shades franchise, plays a conflicted young mother in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter. And Garfield, 38, who went on to don the Spider-Man suit for two films before diving into more auteur-driven fare like Hacksaw Ridge and Silence, delivers a career-best performance as Rent creator Jonathan Larson in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tick, Tick…Boom!

Their current projects could not be more different, but their paths to get to them, from the early days of The Social Network to leading big franchises (and the fandom that comes with that), have been eerily similar. Vanity Fair reunited the two in Los Angeles for a conversation about filming with Fincher, dealing with the spotlight of fame, and the “rotten fish” of social media.

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Andrew Garfield & Dakota Johnson Reunite After 11 Years

David Fincher and the Cinema of Doomscrolling

A conversation with Adam Nayman about the filmmaker’s style and obsessions.

Alex Shephard
January 18, 2022
Critical Mass (The New Republic)

David Fincher’s films are full of doubles, puzzles, and tantalizing glimpses of the director himself. As Adam Nayman writes in his new book about Fincher’s films, Mind Games, “Fincher imposes his presence through the actions and psychologies of thinly veiled proxies: Clockmakers and safecrackers; hackers and terrorists; detectives and serial killers.” These are films that are, like their director, obsessed with procedure and appearance—and intent on puncturing both.

These films are, perhaps because of their complexity or their (at least outward) coldness—or perhaps because of Fincher’s own past as a director of music videos and advertisements—misunderstood or even dismissed. In the past decade alone, Fincher’s The Social Network and, especially, Gone Girl have received radical reappraisals, while Zodiac has been seen by many as one of the best films of the twenty-first century. Mind Games is particularly valuable in its willingness to critically engage with much of Fincher’s less-appreciated output—from his work in advertising to films like Benjamin Button and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But Nayman, the author of similar studies of the Coen brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson, also deepens the understanding of films by situating them in an oeuvre that has been obsessively looking at many of the same themes for decades.

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Riverside Chats with Tom Knoblauch: Adam Nayman on “David Fincher: Mind Games”

Tom Knoblauch
January 16, 2022
Riverside Chats with Tom Knoblauch (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)

Riverside Chats is a series of conversations hosted by Tom Knoblauch exploring culture of all kinds, broadcast from the Heartland. Listen on KIOS 91.5 Omaha Public Radio on Mondays and Saturdays or on your favorite podcast app.

Adam Nayman is a critic at The Ringer and Cinema Scope and he is also the author of The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Room Together and Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks, which he discussed in an earlier episode of this show.

His latest book, David Fincher: Mind Games is a critical and visual survey of the filmmaker behind incredibly influential works include Seven, Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl, and more. Nayman gives context, analysis, links themes, and conducts interviews with various people involved across Fincher’s career, grouping Fincher’s work around themes of procedure, imprisonment, paranoia, prestige, and relationship dynamics. Today he talks about Fincher’s career and shifting place in the cinematic landscape.

Check out David Fincher: Mind Games wherever you get books.

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A short Q&A with “David Fincher: Mind Games” author Adam Nayman about “Gone Girl”

Gone Girl is really an iconic account of a woman sending her husband back to the streets, when you really think about it.

Hunter Harris
January 15, 2022
Hung Up

Leos think about other leos a lot, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Tonight, I wanted to think a little bit more about OOMF Back in his Gone Girl Era, or, that specific Ben Affleck quality/intonation/villainous chin that makes everything he says come out all wrong. What better movie is a case study for this than the movie in which it was deployed demonically and perfectly? I am speaking, of course, about Gone Girl.

Tonight: a short Q&A with David Fincher: Mind Games author Adam Nayman about the 2014 David Fincher, um, love story. “Gone Girl is a culmination of one of the things I really like about Fincher: it’s a movie about communication, the way that we kind of self mediate our images online. It was kind of ahead of the curve in that way. It still feels very state of the art — even though it’s not really a Twitter, Instagram movie, and some of the actual social media features on it date it to 2014 — it just feels really post-millennial and contemporary,” Nayman told me.

Devoted Hung Up readers will recall that Nayman and I previously talked about Phantom Thread and his Paul Thomas Anderson book, Masterworks.

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Masters of Color: Ian Vertovec

Cullen Kelly
December 12, 2021
Lowepost & Ravengrade

In this episode, we talk with Ian Vertovec about the art and craft of color grading.

This episode is sponsored by Pixelview, an industry standard and affordable streaming solution for editors and colorists.

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Masters of Color: Eric Weidt

Cullen Kelly
December 2, 2021
Lowepost & Ravengrade

In this episode, we talk with director David Fincher’s favorite colorist Eric Weidt about the art and craft of color grading.

Eric has an incredible list of credits that includes Mank and Mindhunter. His works on these projects extend far beyond traditional tasks of color grading, incorporating complex look modeling and incredibly detailed adjustments on virtually every frame.

The techniques and insights he shares in this episode are unique and includes topics such as how to sculpt the viewers experience with textural and spatial tools, the lens treatment techniques used on Mindhunter, the process and swan curve treatment behind the day-for-night shots on Mank, advanced grain work and so much more.

This episode is sponsored by Pixelview, an industry standard and affordable streaming solution for editors and colorists.

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Connecting the dots between Gone Girl, Zodiac and David Fincher

Illustration by Hsiao-Ron Cheng

Mind Games author Adam Nayman discusses the connective tissue between David Fincher’s films and why we can’t help comparing him to Paul Thomas Anderson

Radheyan Simonpillai
December 22, 2021
NOW Magazine

In the David Fincher film Zodiac, cartoonist Robert Graysmith obsessively pours over legal documents, testimonies, and geographic patterns. He connects the dots that won’t necessarily give him conclusive answers regarding the titular San Francisco serial killer but will nevertheless make for a pretty good book that paved the way for a masterpiece film. I like to picture Toronto film critic and author Adam Nayman doing the same for his book David Fincher: Mind Games.

Nayman scans Fincher’s work, from the music video for Madonna’s Express Yourself to last year’s endearing look back at authorship in Mank, writing chapters on each movie with forensic detail and riveting insight. Mind Games, which comes with a lovely foreword from Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho, is the latest in Nayman’s series of comprehensive books on the greatest white male directors of our generation, sitting nicely alongside The Coen Bros: This Book Really Ties The Films Together and Paul Thomas Anderson: Masterworks. And there’s an argument to be made that this book is the most fascinating of the three.

More so than the others, Fincher’s movies inspire divisive reactions. Movies like The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and Mank rack up the most Oscar nominations while being pilloried by many critics. Se7en and Fight Club earn dorm room notoriety, which in turn is weaponized against the films themselves. Some of his greatest work in Zodiac and Gone Girl doesn’t quite get the love it deserves. But Fincher is the kind of filmmaker whose misses are infinitely more fascinating to me than the best that a Christopher Nolan puts up.

Nayman discussed Fincher’s canon with NOW in a conversation about the imprint he leaves on his films and how he compares to Paul Thomas Anderson. The Licorice Pizza filmmaker has a very different kind of career, but feels oddly linked to Fincher.

Read the full interview

Buy the book David Fincher: Mind Games. By Adam Nayman

BETA (WPR): The exacting and evolving genius of filmmaker David Fincher

Film critic Adam Nayman’s ‘Mind Games’ explores the successful perfectionism of the ‘Fight Club,’ ‘Se7en,’ ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Zodiac’ director

Doug Gordon, Adam Friedrich
December 18, 2021
BETA (WPR)

In 1985, aspiring director David Fincher was tapped by the American Cancer Society to make a PSA. Riffing off Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001,” Fincher put forth one of the most provocative and memorable commercials ever featuring an in-utero fetus smoking a cigarette to demonstrate the dangers of pregnant smoking.

This PSA was just the beginning of Fincher’s ability to utilize the shared language and visuals of film to express a point. He would move next to directing music videos where he famously invoked Fritz Lang‘s “Metropolis” while directing Madonna’s 1989 video for “Express Yourself.”

Film critic Adam Nayman told WPR‘s “BETA” that Fincher’s cinematic ambition was present in all of this early work before he became a household name directing transcendent films like “Fight Club,” “Se7en,” “Zodiac” and “The Social Network.”

“I think that he was part of a cycle of music video directors who were drawing on movies for the music videos. So, by the time they ended up making feature films, the visual language and the ambition were already there,” Nayman said.

Nayman is the author of “David Fincher: Mind Games,” a comprehensive critical companion book to Fincher’s career output thus far. It’s the third installment of Nayman’s deep dives into generational filmmakers that includes the Coen brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Read and listen to the full interview

Buy the book David Fincher: Mind Games. By Adam Nayman

Drew McWeeny Talks Making Voir With David Fincher

Maëlle Beauget-Uhl
December 14, 2021
FandomWire

Drew McWeeny explained that he almost missed out on David Fincher’s emails and calls after he thought someone was pranking him and was using a very weird, full of movie references email address (and yes, I really need to know what were these references now…):

“He emailed me in the middle of the night. I didn’t know him, we hadn’t spoken before (…) and the email just said “Hi, this is David Fincher. Call me.”

He ignored the email. David Fincher emailed him again the next day, but Drew didn’t want to believe it.:

“And it’s the third day when he actually called me and said ‘Hi, this is David Fincher, what’s your problem?!’ And I went ‘Oh my god! Hi, how are you?”

VOIR: 03. But I Don’t Like Him. Written and narrated by Drew McWeeny

Drew McWeeney declared that creating Voir started with David Fincher having “the vaguest notion that he wanted to celebrate movies”.

But when Drew McWeeney decided to make his episode of Voir centered on unlikeable characters, it was because he felt that a conversation needed to be had:

“I think ‘likeability’ has become this weird, weird buzzword, we hang a lot of other issues about movies on it. When people don’t like a movie, they immediately go to ‘I didn’t like the character’. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And all I wanted to do is reframe that conversation”. (…) Art is not about endorsement.”

Watch VOIR on Netflix

Indie Film Hustle: Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC

The Art of Cinematography & David Fincher

Alex Ferrari
December 14, 2021
Indie Film Hustle

Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, is the son of Jordan Cronenweth, ASC, one of the most influential cinematographers in history, most notable for Blade Runner.

He worked with his father as a camera loader and second assistant camera during high school, graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and worked his way up to first assistant camera and then camera operator until the mid-1990s. He also worked for legendary Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

The first major motion picture where he acted as a DP was for David Fincher‘s Fight Club. Other notable feature films on which he worked as a DP are One Hour Photo, directed by Mark RomanekK-19: The WidowmakerDown With LoveThe Social NetworkHitchcockThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and recently, Being the Ricardos, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.

He was nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Listen to the podcast and read the transcript