David Fincher began his journey in the entertainment industry by directing music videos for international pop stars like Madonna, Iggy Pop and Billy Idol, and subsequently made his jump to the Hollywood circuit with Alien 3. Although the critical bashing from his directorial debut caused him to take a two-year hiatus from movies, Fincher has since made critical and financial hits like Fight Club, Zodiac and The Social Network. However, when asked about his intentions to apply his Midas touch to the #StarWars franchise, the director proved to be entirely disinterested.
After producing and directing the hit #Netflix TV series House of Cards, Fincher has returned to the streaming forum with Mindhunters. So, Empire magazine sat down with the director and asked him if his views have changed since he passed on a directorial role for The Force Awakens.
"I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, 'Alderaan? What the hell is this?' Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level."
"One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure."
As we've seen in recent months, Star Wars has a massive fan-base and the producers try everything to appease their love for the franchise, even if it costs the director's vision. Fincher faced these circumstances while filming Alien 3, where his efforts to show the dilemma between religion and existence of alien life-forms was squashed by the studio's need to focus on the Xenomorphs. However, as Fincher has experienced directorial freedom in the drama genre and standalone movies, his disregard towards franchise storytelling is absolutely justified.
So, Why Is David Fincher Doing 'World War Z 2'?
Although Fincher has cited the pressures of an established fan-base (along with Han and Leia's on-set tantrums) as the reasons for not being part of a franchise, his next directorial venture is a sequel to 2013's World War Z. While this does look like a hypocritical move on the director's part, Fincher's love for The Empire Strikes Back shows why it's not.
"I think [The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner] had the best job. He had a pretty great script and he had the middle story. He didn’t have to worry about where it started and he didn’t have to worry about where it ended. And he had the great reveal."
The Empire Strikes Back is widely considered to be the best Star Wars installment and has retained its status as one of the best movies of all time. However, this was only possible because the events of A New Hope had brought a sense of completion to Luke, Leia and Han's character arcs. So, Empire feels like watching a whole new story with no loose ends. Although we aren't quite sure whether or not zombie fans will be getting a World War Z trilogy, Fincher wants to be in Irvin Kershner's position if this is the case.
"I worked on a show for HBO that didn’t see the light of day and at the same time was doing ['Mindhunter'], and did ['Mindhunter'] and I’ve been working for about a year now with Dennis Kelly on 'World War Z'…We’re hoping to get a piece of material that’s a reason to make a movie, not an excuse to make a movie."
Over the years, Fincher has turned out to be one of the most prolific directors of our generation and he has every intention of maintaining that status. However his penchant for meticulous takes and complete creative freedom might not fit in with the fast-paced film-making process in franchise movies like Star Wars. While this might be a mood-dampener for fans of the director, once the saga comes to an end and Lucasfilm decides to explore the grittier and crime-ridden areas of the Outer Rim, there might be David Fincher-directed Star Wars waiting to be made.
Which Star Wars story will be perfect for David Fincher? Let me know in the comments.