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

CBS News Sunday Morning: “Mank” and the writer behind “Citizen Kane”

Ben Mankiewicz and David Fincher

Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz reports on the film about his grandfather.

Ben Mankiewicz
October 25, 2020
CBS News Sunday Morning

It is arguably the most famous word ever spoken on film: Rosebud. And it comes from what many consider the greatest movie ever made. “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles‘ 1941 masterpiece on the rise and fall of Charles Foster Kane, a ruthless capitalist mostly based on newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

With its deep focus camerawork and bold lighting techniques that use shadows to direct the audience’s attention, “Citizen Kane” is a cinematic landmark.

So it’s only fitting that the story behind it is equally compelling.

And that’s the story director David Fincher tells in his new Netflix film. I spoke to Fincher on Stage 19 at Paramount Studios, where Welles made Citizen Kane 80 years ago.

“When you look at a movie that is cohesive, as ‘Kane’ was, from the authorship standpoint, it fires on all cylinders,” Fincher told me.

Fincher’s film is called “Mank.” Oscar winner Gary Oldman stars as Herman Mankiewicz, who Welles hired to write the screenplay for “Kane.”

Full disclosure, Herman Mankiewicz was my grandfather.

Read the full article

Watch the story in full quality

10 Years Later, ‘The Social Network’ Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth on Finding Art in Compromise

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.”

Anhar Karim, Contributor
October 24, 2020
Forbes

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 ClubGone 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.

Read the full interview

Follow Jeff Cronenweth, ASC Archives on Twitter

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

Art of the Shot: “Start from Perfect”, with Mindhunter DP Erik Messerschmidt, ASC and “A” Camera Operator Brian Osmond, SOC

Erik Messerschmidt, Director Andrew Dominik, Brian Osmond, and “B” Camera Operator Will Dearborn (Nikolai Loveikis)

Derek Stettler
October 12, 2020
Art of the Shot

“A place to unload all my cinematic truths.” —Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC

How do you cultivate a career in Hollywood? What does it take to make iconic work? There’s an art to everything in life and the Art of the Shot explores the answers to those questions and more through deep-dives into the minds of master filmmakers. Join host Derek Stettler, young filmmaker and writer for the ASC and SOC magazines since 2016, as he learns from the artists behind today’s most strikingly-shot projects. Enjoy compelling conversations on the craft, insights from successful careers, tips, techniques + more!

In this episode, you’ll hear from both the cinematographer and the “A” camera operator of Mindhunter, who worked together throughout Season 1 and 2 to shoot every single episode. Please enjoy this exclusive interview with Erik Messerschmidt, ASC and Brian Osmond, SOC!

Brian Osmond, Gaffer Danny Gonzalez, and Erik Messerschmidt (Nikolai Loveikis)

In this episode, you’ll learn:

– Erik’s career path (00:04:06)
– Erik’s favorite part of the job (00:06:42)
– What DP’s should know to best work with their gaffers, from Erik’s experience working as a gaffer before becoming a DP (00:07:02)
– Unique skills Erik gained from his experience as a gaffer (00:07:56)
– How Brian got his career started (00:11:19)
– Brian’s favorite part of his job (00:12:19)
– What other directors can learn from how David Fincher treats his crew (00:18:39)
– The thought process & techniques behind Mindhunter‘s precise camera movement (00:22:50)
– The strategic use of handheld camera operating (00:34:27)
– The collaborative nature of the Mindhunter set (00:37:34)
– The importance of having a dedicated camera operator on set, especially on a David Fincher set (00:41:19)
– Erik’s role as “quality control supervisor” (00:44:21)
– Why a monitor on a David Fincher set is covered in smudges (00:46:57)
– Why there’s no such thing as a B camera “bonus shot” on Mindhunter & how shots are planned out for multiple cameras (00:48:23)
– What Erik thinks is the hardest shot to do well (00:52:04)
– How Erik lights & shoots with 2 cameras simultaneously (00:53:41)
– Erik’s approach to lighting Mindhunter & techniques used (00:56:55)
– Erik’s preference for real fluorescent lighting (01:03:30)
Mindhunter‘s production design and how much of the locations were built (01:05:01)
– Favorite set of Season 2 (01:06:26)
– How getting scripts in advance helps them work better (01:10:44)
– The innovative car process shooting on Mindhunter & how it works (01:12:38)
– How virtual production helps realize every filmmaker’s dream, stopping time, & how Erik used that to shoot a 9-minute dialog scene at dawn (01:18:02)
– How the car process shooting on Mindhunter evolved from Season 1 (01:22:37)
– How the custom RED digital cinema camera, dubbed the Xenomorph, evolved from Season 1 (01:27:22)
– Why Brian prefers a fluid head over a geared head to achieve those smooth, precise shots David Fincher loves (01:37:34)
– How to shoot a scene & why “Fix it in prep!” should be every filmmaker’s mantra (01:42:08)
– All about the lenses used on Mindhunter & how Erik art directed the artifacts & nuances of every optical aberration (01:48:10)
– Tips from Brian on getting really precise shots with a fluid head, what operating technique Erik has learned from Brian, & how being self-critical is a key to his success (01:56:42)
– What Erik & Brian feel is the most rewarding part of working on Mindhunter (02:02:47)

If you haven’t yet, please be sure to subscribe to be notified of future episodes, and share this podcast with others to help grow the show and spread the knowledge!

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The Art of the Shot podcast is brought to you by Evidence Cameras, an outstanding rental house in Echo Park specializing in high-end digital cinema camera packages, lenses, support, and accessories.

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MINDHUNTER: Mindful Operating

Interview with Brian Osmond, SOC.

Derek Stettler
May 2018 (Spring 2018)
Camera Operator (Society of Camera Operators)

Alone Together Pittsburgh: Holt McCallany and the Cast and Crew of Mindhunter

Part talk show part variety show A/T/P is a daily talk show featuring local artists, performers, service industry folks and more. Let’s keep the community of Pittsburgh hanging out. Virtually.

Patrick Jordan
September 4, 2020
Alone Together Pittsburgh (Twitter, Facebook)

Week 25 Episode 82: Holt McCallany of Mindhunter spends his Birthday in quarantine with Patrick Jordan, Cotter Smith, Michael Cerveris, and Bill Doyle (Co-producer). And find out WHT K8 8 with Chef Kate Romane and the Jag/Off Bracket Poll with FORT DUQUESNE BRIDGE VS PIEROGI RACE.

Burning Sofa: Step Into the Light. Andrew Baseman (Part 2)

Set Decorator & Production Design Talk. And lots of it.

September 3, 2020
Burning Sofa (Twitter, Facebook)

From the inky shadows to red-hot festivals and everywhere in between, Set Decorator Andrew Baseman gives us an up-close-and-personal tour of Mindhunter Season 2 and Gotham, and sneak-peeks into upcoming projects In The Heights and Trial of The Chicago Seven.

Listen to the podcast

Step Into the Light. Andrew Baseman (Part 1)

David Fincher’s Longtime DP Jeff Cronenweth Has Advice, Insight, and Stories

25th Annual American Society Of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards (2011)

A podcast about how to build a career in filmmaking. No Film School shares the latest opportunities and trends for anyone working in film and TV. We break news on cameras, lighting, and apps. We interview leaders in screenwriting, directing, cinematography, editing, and producing. And we answer your questions! We are dedicated to sharing knowledge with filmmakers around the globe, “no film school” required.

Jeffrey Reeser
August 28, 2020
No Film School

Oscar-nominated camera wizard Jeff Cronenweth sat down with us to talk about his origins in the film industry.

As a young man, Cronenweth spent time on the set of Blade Runner as his father, Jordan Cronenweth shot it. He walks us through the next chapter of his career, starting out as an AC for legendary DP Sven Nykvist and how his longtime working relationship with David Fincher began when shooting pickups for a Madonna music video.

We discuss his experiences crafting the look of Fight Club, The Social Network, and Gone Girl, among other great films. Now in 2020, he is up for an Emmy for his work on the Amazon series Tales From The Loop.

Listen to the podcast:

No Film School
Apple Podcasts

Follow Jeff Cronenweth, ASC Archives on Twitter

‘Mindhunter’: Expanding the Visual Aesthetic for Season 2’s Atlanta Child Murders

Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt earned his first Emmy nomination for visualizing a wider range of locations with unsettling moods.

Bill Desowitz
Aug 21, 2020
IndieWire

Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt expanded the visual aesthetic of David Fincher’s “Mindhunter” in Season 2, as FBI profilers Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) investigate the notorious Atlanta Child Murders, and, as a result, he earned his first Emmy nomination.

“Our aim was to continue what we had developed in Season 1 while considering location with a bit more depth,” said Messerschmidt, who also shot Fincher’s “Mank,” the Netflix black-and-white biopic about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman). “David expressed to me in the beginning to never forget what Atlanta is like in the summer. I tried hard to consider that whenever we were telling that part of the story.

“We really wanted our agents to be visualized with location in mind,” he said, “so I used more hard sunlight, atmosphere, and contrast to contribute to that hot, muggy feel. I think you could make the case that the lighting of Season 2 has a bit more gesture and shape to it, in part, because I used more contrast, which was a conscious choice. With that in mind, however, it was always a top priority to make sure the look and camera style of the series not take centerstage. I wanted the photography to be as non-invasive and invisible as possible so the audience could fully appreciate the story.”

Messerschmidt upgraded to the 8K RED Helium sensor for Season 2 after testing a prototype in the first season. This provided better sensitivity and higher color fidelity for the new Dolby Vision HDR workflow. “I found I could be much more minimal with my use of artificial light even at relatively low ISO ratings,” he said. “The intention was to consider every lighting choice with motivation in mind and use as much natural light and practical light as possible.”

Read the full profile

Here Are the Cameras and Lenses that Shot the Year’s Best TV Shows

17 Emmy-nominated cinematographers on how they created their shows’ unique looks, and the gear they chose to pull it off.

Chris O’Falt
August 20, 2020
IndieWire

Mindhunter

Nominated Episode: “Episode 6”

Format: Redcode RAW .r3d in 8k
Camera: Custom Red Xenomorph Mk2 designed by the team at RED. The camera uses an 8k RED Helium sensor.
Format: Both seasons of “Mindhunter” were shot using Leica Summilux-C series Prime lenses. The majority of the show was shot using only three focal lengths, the 29mm, 40mm and 65mm.

Erik Messerschmidt: The visual style of “Mindhunter” is really about restraint and nuance. We wanted the storytelling to be very objective and simple with a limited use of POV. I think limiting ourselves to these focal lengths forced us to be meticulous with our coverage. All of our visual choices revolved around camera direction, blocking, and composition. David [Fincher] and I built the visual language around three distinct types of shots; wide masters, overs and singles; we moved the camera very little. This type of methodical camera direction lead to the rhythmic cutting sequence of the interview scenes which is really the visual foundation of the show. Shooting on prime lenses requires a bit more discipline than zooms when you’re lining up a shot, as you have to consider camera placement as it relates and composition.

Read the full article

ASC Clubhouse Conversations: Mindhunter, with Erik Messerschmidt

Charlie Lieberman, ASC
August 12, 2020
American Cinematographer

In this 60-minute video, Erik MesserschmidtASC discusses his Emmy-nominated camerawork in the disturbing and insightful Netflix crime series Mindhunter with interviewer Charlie Lieberman, ASC

Based on the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and set in the early 1980s, this period drama depicts the investigations of two FBI special agents from the Behavioral Science Unit (Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany) tasked with furthering the understanding of serial killers and their motivations, with the hope of using this research to solve cold cases or stop active predators.

Shooting in Mindhunter in 8K for 4K delivery with a 2.2:1 aspect ratio, Messerschmidt generally employs multiple Red Xenomorph Mk2 8K Helium cameras paired with Leica Summilux-C Primes and Fujinon Premiere Zooms, often with Mitomo IR TrueNDs. (More about the show here.)

Watch the video and read the full article