Andrew Garfield, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeff Cronenweth, and David Fincher.
(Will Kirk, homewoodphoto.jhu.edu)
“I learned a long time ago that fear is a wonderful thing, if you embrace it.”
This month marks the ten year anniversary of The Social Network, the David Fincher film which made a captivating thriller out of the founding years of Facebook. The movie met an incredible amount of acclaim over the years, much thanks to the stellar team of talent on board, including Oscar-nominated cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, who is no stranger to Fincher’s style.
“David comes really from the Hitchcock school in that he really does all the prep ahead of time. So you try to eliminate any of those kinds of surprises and the curve balls before they actually arrive,” said Cronenweth. “But there’s so much room to create, improv, and find your voice within that kind of structure.”
Cronenweth and Fincher have now collaborated across a wide collection of award-winning films including Fight Club, Gone Girl, and The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. The duo has found a magical dynamic between their methods to deliver some of the most engaging and thrilling stories of modern cinema. And, according to Cronenweth, a key part of that collaboration is the understanding that not everything can be perfect on the first try.
“If you’re responsible for creating a movie that’s gonna last a long time and change the visuals and approaches in a lot of people’s minds, then you’re gonna not win every single time,” said Cronenweth. “Sometimes you’re gonna step a little too far and then you have to go back and reanalyze and do it again. That’s how you make art.”
I recently got to speak further with Jeff Cronenweth about working with David Fincher, dealing with unexpected challenges, and shooting for a film where dialogue, not visuals, drives the story. Below is a summary of our conversation.
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