David Fincher isn’t necessarily known for being a man of many words. He’s one of the most creative directors working today, but he maintains a very grounded, matter-of-fact attitude towards making the necessary press rounds. It’s always great then to see him open up, as he does in a new interview with Collider in advance of the home video release of The Social Network on January 11.
In addition to speaking at length about his 2010 Facebook biopic, Fincher also delves into some light detail on a few of his upcoming projects. The next big one for the director is an adaptation of Stieg Larsson's book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which was previously adapted as a 2009 Swedish production, directed by Niels Arden Oplev.
One of the story's key characters, Lisbeth Salander, is a Mac-using hacker. Larsson's books were written in a pre-iPhone age, but one thing that Fincher has had to consider is the App revolution triggered by the arrival of Apple's iDevices.
“What year does it take place in? Well the books are delivered in 2004, so he’s probably thinking in terms of 2003, it’s not published until 2005, 2007 is the iPhone, so all those apps that would be available to the iPhone are probably something that Salander would have access to ‘cause she’s a bit of a Mac junkie. So you kind of go, 'Well where do we draw the line?' So we just said, look-- everything has to be pre-iPhone technology, because otherwise they would be sitting there going 'Well we just go over here.' They would have a compass; they would be able to tell what the weather was like. So there’s all that stuff, you just have to make a decision [that’s] fairly arbitrary, basically everything in the movie is pre-iPhone.”
Much further out, though seemingly still in development, is Fincher's planned adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke sci-fi novel Rendezvous With Rama. It was the first in a series of books in which a team of astronauts is sent up from Earth to explore a massive, cylindrical alien spacecraft housing an entire world in its interior. Definitely more Moon than Armageddon, it's the sort of smart science fiction that fits perfectly with Fincher's unique sensibilities.
The trouble there for impatient fans is... he wants to get it right.
Rendezvous With Rama is a great story that has an amazing role for Morgan Freeman who is an amazing actor and would be amazing in this thing. The question was can we get a script that’s worthy of Morgan and can we get a script that is worthy of Arthur Clark and can we do all of that in an envelope that will allow the movie to take the kinds of chances that it wants to take. ‘Cuz we want to make a movie where kids go out of the theatre and instead of buying an action figure they buy a telescope. That was the hope. The hope is, let’s get people interested in the fucking movie. So there have been people that have been interested in this idea and we have never been able to get a script.
If you haven't read the books, do yourself a favor and check them out. Clarke needs no introduction as the author of the 2001 series. The Rama series is equally heady, and offers an original imagining of extra-terrestrial life.
There unfortunately isn't as much talk on yet another planned adaptation for the director, of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but he does confirm it will be in 3D. There's a whole lot more than that, including some astute observations of the challenges facing filmmakers in the age of the Internet. It's not exactly fresh material, but Fincher's frank assessments make for interesting reading.