David Fincher: film studios ‘don’t want to make anything that can’t make them a billion dollars’

Robbie Collin, Film Critic
November 14, 2020
The Telegraph

An hour or so into the 1999 premiere of Fight Club, David Fincher slipped outside for some air. The director hadn’t known exactly what to expect when his brutally violent black comedy was selected for the Venice Film Festival, but whatever the dream scenario had been, this wasn’t it. The walkouts had started early, and become a steady stream. The only audience members laughing were his leading men, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton – though in fairness, the two had shared a joint beforehand. The first review off the presses had described Fincher’s film as “an inadmissible assault on personal decency” with a fascist bent, and the festival crowd weren’t noticeably any more enthused.

“The resounding thuds every scene landed with just became too much,” Fincher, now 58, tells me from home via Zoom. He recalls sitting on the steps outside and watching half a dozen disgusted older women file past: “all wearing at least one item of leopard print, like six Anne Bancrofts in The Graduate.” One evidently recognised the American enfant terrible and hissed something to her companions, who looked across and shook their heads in sync. “It was then I knew that what we’d done was wrong,” he says, beaming with pride.

Fincher’s tremendous latest film – his first since Gone Girl in 2014 – is unlikely to cause many viewers to storm home, not least because they’ll already be there when they watch it. Mank is a Netflix production, filmed just before the pandemic struck, but edited, polished and due to be released under lockdown conditions. Set in the Golden Age of Hollywood and shot in silvery monochrome, it follows the political chicanery and personal vendettas that led to the writing of Citizen Kane: a film released in 1941, and still widely considered the greatest ever made. Mank’s hero isn’t Orson Welles, Kane’s startlingly young director and star (he was 25 when it was released), but Gary Oldman’s Herman J Mankiewicz – a wildly talented screenwriter and incorrigible gambler and drunk, whom Welles enlisted to ghostwrite the script.

Read the full interview [Only for subscribers – 1-month free trial]

Pop Culture Confidential: Arliss Howard (“Mank”)

Christina Jeurling Birro
November 13, 2020
Pop Culture Confidential

Don’t miss this exclusive and compelling conversation with actor, writer, and director Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket, Natural Born Killers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Amistad, Moneyball, Manhunt)

A journey into his process, his brilliant performance as MGM’s Louis B Mayer in David Fincher’s new epic feature ‘Mank’, working with Fincher, Kubrick, Spielberg and Stone and so much more!

Mank’ premieres theatrically in some territories on Nov 13th. On Netflix Dec 4.

Arliss Howard (2001, Evan Agostini)

Mix Magazine 2020: The Music in Sound with Ren Klyce

Ren Klyce in Peter Elsea’s Studio (1984)

Larry Blake
November 5, 2020
Mix Magazine / SoundWorks Collection

Animated short for Sesame Street (January 17, 1984) produced by John Korty. Sound and music by Ren Klyce:

From Madonna to Mank: Why David Fincher’s Greatest Film is an Erotic Pop Music Video

The Gone Girl director is known for the psychological depth, visual symbolism and pulpy thrills of his films but all roads lead back to his tempestuous – and mysterious – collaborations with Madge.

Adam White
November 6, 2020
Independent

It was in the winter of 1993 that David Fincher murdered Madonna. The crime scene: a music video for one of the latter’s greatest singles, “Bad Girl”, and what would be the last of the pair’s four collaborations. In its wake, Fincher would become one of cinema’s most revered directors, the prickly genius behind Se7en (1995), The Social Network (2010), Gone Girl (2014) and the forthcoming Mank. But it’s “Bad Girl” that remains Fincher’s most important venture. It is a short, stylish erotic thriller that begins and ends with Madonna’s lifeless corpse; a video that nods toward the filmmaker Fincher would become, and a final act of artistic symbiosis between two titans of pop culture.

Back in the Nineties, Fincher was coming to the end of a luminous eight years as a music video visionary. The likes of Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” and George Michael’s supermodel-filled “Freedom ‘90” were gorgeous exercises in style and short-form storytelling. Little was more thrilling, though, than his work with Madonna – from the grandiose myth-making of “Vogue” and “Express Yourself” to the richly personal “Oh Father”. They both recognised the cinematic potential of the form, even if it came at a cost – all of their collaborations rank among the most expensive videos ever made.

That trilogy of music videos – which came before “Bad Girl” and were shot over the course of 10 months between 1989 and 1990 – would reflect a fruitful creative tussle between the pair. Despite Fincher’s relative lack of clout in the industry at the time, and especially compared to Madonna’s cultural ubiquity, they would approach their work as somewhat begrudging – and almost flirtatious – equals.

In interviews, Fincher recalled expressing mock outrage when Madonna asked him if he had heard of Metropolis, the landmark sci-fi film she wanted to replicate for “Express Yourself”. Madonna sneered at his idea to have her crawl across the floor, lick milk from a bowl, and then pour it over herself in the same video, assuming it might look like a student film. It turned out to be one of the video’s most memorable set pieces. The visual for “Oh Father”, meanwhile, a psychological wormhole into Madonna’s childhood and the emotional toll of her mother’s death, only came about at Fincher’s insistence. Madonna had been unsure it would even work as a single. Fincher, though, saw it as ripe for visual accompaniment, and captured her vulnerability like no other.

Read the full article

Fotogramas: Ciudadano Fincher

El primer y único guion que escribió su padre. Un proyecto con el que ha soñado más de 30 años. La leyenda detrás de la, quizás, película más mítica de la historia. Todo eso y mucho más es ‘Mank’, una mirada –en glorioso blanco y negro–a la figura de Herman J. Mankiewicz –un glorioso Gary Oldman–, y el film más personal de David Fincher. FOTOGRAMAS tuvo la suerte de compartir con él una extensa, divertida y exclusiva charla.

Roger Salvans
Noviembre 2020
Fotogramas

David Fincher (Denver, Colorado, 1962) tiene fama de perfeccionista y de no andarse con rodeos. Mejor: de tener una atención al detalle rozando la obsesión que es directamente proporcional a su nula capacidad de tolerar a todo aquel que: a) le impida materializar su punto de vista creativo; b) ose hacerle perder el tiempo, ya sea un mandamás en traje o la estrella de turno con la que comparta rodaje. Pero si alguien puede permitirse esa imagen es él. Fincher es autor –un término que, veremos, no comparte–de un cúmulo de obras que han marcado el pulso y también el camino del reciente cine contemporáneo. Así, cuando, una tarde de otoño, FOTOGRAMAS descolgó el teléfono para entrevistarlo, esperábamos encontrar a ese Fincher cuyos sets, según Robert Downey Jr., son como gulags. El director de las 100 tomas de media. El de los rifirrafes con los estudios. Y no, no fue así. ¿Hola? Soy David. Es alucinante. He conseguido conectar sin equivocarme, le escuchamos decir. ¿Es realmente David Fincher? ¿Dónde está el acostumbrado filtro del equipo de publicistas y relaciones públicas? Soy yo de verdad. No tengo agentes de prensa ni relaciones públicas porque todo el mundo sabe que no me relaciono en público, dice entre risas. Esa fue la primera carcajada. Toda una sorpresa. Y vendrían más.

La sombra de una duda

Desaparecido de la gran pantalla desde esa pérfida vuelta de tuerca al thriller y la comedia romántica que es Perdida (2014), Fincher firma con Mank su film más clásico, y también el más personal: un retrato íntimo de Herman J. Mankiewicz, experiodista, alcohólico vocacional, novelista frustrado y toda una personalidad entre los bastidores de la Edad de Oro de Hollywood que firmó, junto a Orson Welles, el guion de Ciudadano Kane (1941). Esa colaboración y un acercamiento sobre el proceso creativo y sus fuentes son el corazón de una trama que bebe de una de las polémicas más publicitadas sobre la autoría artística. En los 70, Pauline Kael, la referente de la crítica estadounidense, publicó en The New Yorker una serie de artículos –editados después en el ensayo Raising Kane (publicado en España por Cult Books como El libro de Ciudadano Kane)– en los que se aseguraba que Welles no participó en absoluto en la escritura del film. El mérito era solo de Mankiewicz, decía. Poco después, Peter Bogdanovich, íntimo amigo de Welles, respondería con otro texto en el que desmentía, con testimonios y las anotaciones del propio cineasta, la versión de Kael. La duda, sin embargo, quedó. Pero ni esa disputa ni tampoco su resolución, como si de un serial killer a cazar se tratara, están en el origen del proyecto. Lo que convierte este film en algo personal para Fincher es que se trata del único guion de Jack, su padre. Y el Rosebud de Mank, evidentemente, tenemos que buscarlo en su infancia.

Lee la entrevista completa con David Fincher en el número de Fotogramas de noviembre, ya a la venta en los quioscos

¿Seguirá ‘Mindhunter’ en Netflix? David Fincher nos responde en exclusiva

El director, que estrena en la plataforma la película ‘Mank’, nos habla sobre el futuro de una de las series más aclamadas de los últimos años.

Roger Salvans y Rafael Sánchez Casademont
Octubre 27, 2020
Fotogramas

Premiere: Pourquoi David Fincher n’a pas tourné de film depuis six ans ?

“Que voulez-vous, je suis lent”, répond le réalisateur avec humour dans Première.

Léonard Haddad
Octobre 28, 2020
Premiere

Mank, le prochain film de David Fincher sortira le 4 décembre sur Netflix. Au cours d’un long entretien, le réalisateur détaille dans le nouveau numéro de Première (n°512 – novembre 2020) la création de ce film en noir et blanc qui plonge les spectateurs dans le Hollywood des années 1930, plus précisément au coeur de la fabrication de Citizen Kane, le premier film d’Orson Welles réalisé à partir d’un scénario de Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Gone Girl, le dernier film de David Fincher, était sorti en France le 8 octobre 2014. Six ans se sont donc écoulés depuis cette adaptation du thriller de Gillian Flynn avec Rosamund Pike et Ben Affleck. Soit la plus longue pause de la carrière de David Fincher, un an de plus que la période déjà interminable qui avait séparé Panic Room (2002) de Zodiac (2007). Le cinéaste n’a pas bullé pour autant, travaillant sur une série sur les serial killers pour NetflixMindhunter, et produisant, toujours pour la plateforme, l’anthologie animée de Tim MillerLove, Death + Robots. Il voulait aussi tourner la suite de World War Z avec Brad Pitt, son acteur de Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999) et L’Etrange histoire de Benjamin Button (2008), mais ce projet a fini par tomber à l’eau. Dans Première, le réalisateur détaille pourquoi son retour à la mise en scène d’un long métrage a mis autant de temps.

Extrait:

Première : Gone Girl date de 2014, ça commençait à faire long, non ?

David Fincher : J’ai fait les deux saisons de Mindhunter et… Au départ, je devais juste aider à mettre la série sur des rails, il n’était pas prévu que je sois showrunner. Et puis, par défaut, je le suis devenu, avec deux autres personnes. Et disons qu’il est possible que ce ne soit pas mon point fort, finalement. Je dois être trop obsessionnel et tatillon pour tenir ce rôle

Au final, ça fait quand même très peu de films signés David Fincher…

Que voulez-vous, je suis lent. Quand j’ai le sentiment qu’un truc est prêt à être tourné, ça peut aller très vite. The Social Network, tout était en place, on n’avait plus qu’à choisir les acteurs. Mais ces situations-là sont rares, les cas où tu lis un script et où tu dis : « OK, les gars, écartez-vous, on s’y met. » Vers 2007-2008 puis 2010-2011, j’ai enchaîné relativement vite, en tout cas selon mes standards habituels : Zodiac et Benjamin Button puis The Social Network et Millénium. Mais je ne suis pas certain que cela ait été une si bonne chose que ça au final. En tout cas, j’avais besoin de recharger mes batteries. Maintenant, si j’ai signé ce deal Netflix, c’est aussi parce que j’aimerais travailler comme Picasso peignait, essayer des choses très différentes, tenter de briser la forme ou de changer de mode de fonctionnement. J’aime l’idée d’avoir une « œuvre ». Eh oui, j’admets que ça me fait bizarre, après quarante ans dans ce métier, de n’avoir que dix films à mon actif. Enfin onze, mais dix dont je peux dire qu’ils sont à moi. Oui, objectivement, c’est un constat assez terrifiant

Propos recueillis par Léonard Haddad

L’interview complète de David Fincher est à retrouver dans le nouveau numéro de Première. Voici son sommaire:

Mank : David Fincher a un contrat d’exclusivité de 4 ans avec Netflix

François Léger
Novembre 11, 2020
Premiere

The End of David Fincher’s Mindhunter: Back To Square One

The viewership of Mindhunter, irrespective of its near-cult status on the web, was evidently not enough to inspire its own creators to continue the journey.

Rahul Desai
October 27, 2020
Film Companion

One of the most significant things to hit the web last week was the trailer of Mank. Global Film Twitter went into overdrive, and understandably so. Think of the context. This was American director extraordinaire David Fincher’s first movie since Gone Girl (2014), so it was a long-awaited return of sorts. Add this to the fact that Mank is a black-and-white movie about the movies – a biographical drama anchored by screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz’s battles with Orson Welles over screenplay credit for Citizen Kane – and that Fincher’s latest passion project is based on his late father’s screenplay. The hype machine is oiled and ready to fire.

Yet, only a day later, the excitement for Mank was replaced by the grief for Mindhunter. In a fascinating Vulture interview, Fincher, who served as an executive producer, director and de facto showrunner of Mindhunter, confirmed that there is likely to be no third season of the acclaimed true-crime thriller. The second season dropped on Netflix last September, two years after the first. Most Mindhunter fans had suspected the worst ever since the contracts of the cast weren’t renewed earlier this year. With Fincher looking to concentrate on Mank, the series was indefinitely put on hold. The global pandemic, of course, added to the uncertainty. Which is to say that the signs were there. So the show’s demise was no blinding bolt from the blue. But the real reasons are unsettling.

Read the full article

Nerding Out with David Fincher

The filming of Mank. (Miles Crist/Netflix)

The director talks about his latest, Mank, a tale of Hollywood history, political power, and the creative act.

Mark Harris
October 23, 2020
Vulture

David Fincher’s 11th feature film, Mank, is a passion project like no other on the director’s résumé — a drama, shot in black-and-white, about the formative years of Hollywood’s sound era, the agony and the ecstasy of what he calls “enforced collaboration” between directors and writers, and the political ruthlessness of Golden Age studios, told through the journey of an unlikely hero — Herman J. Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman), the newspaperman turned screenwriter who co-wrote (or wrote, depending on your POV) the screenplay for Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane. Every frame of the movie, which opens in select theaters November 13 and will hit Netflix on December 4, brims with the director’s loving but unsentimental view of film history and of filmmaking — and also carries an unexpected wallop of political resonance with media manipulation and the creation of “fake news” disinformation that couldn’t possibly have been anticipated 30 years ago, when his late father, Jack, first wrote the script. Mank is an unusually personal film for Fincher, not only because it memorializes his work with his father (who died in 2003), but because, in a way, it continues a passionate conversation about movies that began between the two of them when Fincher was a young boy. Its history also spans Fincher’s entire feature career — the original draft was written just before he went off to direct his first film. In two interviews over a long weekend, the director talked about bringing it to the screen.

Read the full interview

Mank: Reddit Teaser

Netflix

The Brothers Mankiewicz: Hope, Heartbreak, and Hollywood Classics“. By Sydney Ladensohn Stern:

Even before theatrical failures dimmed his dreams of escape, Herman had decided he could bring New York to Hollywood by importing some of his friends. If Ben Hecht couldn’t write him a good script, Herman told Schulberg, then Schulberg could tear up Herman’s two-year contract and fire them both. His boss could hardly refuse a bet like that, so Herman wired, “Will you accept three hundred per week to work for Paramount Pictures. All expenses paid. The three hundred is peanuts. Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.”

Hecht, who later claimed that Herman’s telegram arrived just in time to avert a financial disaster so severe that he had taken to his bed with Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, hurried west to enroll in what he called the Herman Mankiewicz School of Screenwriting.

r/CompetitionIsIdiots

Director: Kimb Luisi & Dan Young
Production Company: Sawhorse Productions
DP: Skyler Bocciolatt
Production Design: Sage Griffin
Storyboards: Andrew Paul

𝙸𝚗 𝚜𝚎𝚕𝚎𝚌𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚛𝚜 𝙽𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚖𝚋𝚎𝚛 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚗 Netflix 𝙳𝚎𝚌𝚎𝚖𝚋𝚎𝚛 𝟺

The Everything David Fincher Ranking

What better way to honor the notoriously obsessive director than by obsessively organizing all of his movies, music videos, and commercials?

Amanda DobbinsSean Fennessey, and Chris Ryan
September 25, 2020
The Ringer

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Se7en and the 10th anniversary of The Social Network, The Ringer dubbed this past week David Fincher Week.

And to cap things off, noted Fincher fans Sean Fennessey, Chris Ryan, and Amanda Dobbins ranked everything in the director’s catalog—from the movies to the music videos to the commercials—on The Big Picture. What follows is an edited, truncated version of their conversation (slash debate).

Read the full list and listen to the podcast