David Fincher: Wikis


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David Fincher
Born David Leo Fincher
August 28, 1962 (1962-08-28) (age 47)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Other name(s) Dave Fincher, Davey, Finch
Occupation Film director, producer,
Music video director
Years active 1984 - present
Spouse(s) Donya Fiorentino

David Leo Fincher[1] (born August 28, 1962) is an American filmmaker and music video director, known for his dark and stylish thriller movies, such as Se7en (1995), The Game (1997), Fight Club (1999), and Zodiac (2007). He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director for his 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.


Early life and career

Fincher was born on August 28, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, the son of Claire, a mental health nurse who worked in drug addiction programs, and Howard Fincher, who worked as a bureau chief for Life under the name Jack Fincher.[2] When Fincher was two years old, the family moved to San Anselmo in Marin County, California. Fincher moved to Ashland, Oregon in his teens, where he graduated from Ashland High School. Inspired by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Fincher began making movies at age eight with an 8 mm camera. Fincher eschewed the film school route, getting a job loading cameras and doing other hands-on work for John Korty’s Korty Films. He was later hired by Industrial Light & Magic in 1980, where he worked on productions for Twice Upon a Time, Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In 1984, he left ILM to direct a commercial for the American Cancer Society, that would show a fetus smoking a cigarette. This quickly brought Fincher to the attention of producers in Los Angeles and he was given the chance to direct the documentary The Beat of the Live Drum featuring Rick Springfield in 1985. Though he would continue to direct spots for companies like Revlon, Converse, Nike, Pepsi, Sony, and Levi's, Fincher soon discovered music videos and went on to direct many promos.

Propaganda Films

Set on a directing career, Fincher joined video-production company Propaganda Films and started off directing music videos and commercials. Like Fincher, other directors such as Meiert Avis, David Kellogg, Michael Bay, Antoine Fuqua, Neil LaBute, Spike Jonze, Mark Romanek, Michel Gondry, Paul Rachman, Zack Snyder, Gore Verbinski, and Alex Proyas honed their talents at Propaganda Films before moving on to feature films.

Music videos

Fincher directed big budget music videos for artists such as Madonna (including "Express Yourself", "Vogue", "Oh Father" and "Bad Girl"), Billy Idol ("Cradle of Love"), Paula Abdul (including "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me", "Straight Up", "Forever Your Girl" and "Cold Hearted"), Aerosmith ("Janie's Got a Gun"), The Rolling Stones (including "Love Is Strong"), Nine Inch Nails ("Only"), A Perfect Circle ("Judith"), Jody Watley (including "Real Love" and "Most of All"), Rick Springfield, Steve Winwood, Neneh Cherry ("Heart"), George Michael ("Freedom '90"), Michael Jackson ("Who Is It"), The Wallflowers, Wire Train and The Outfield, including "All the Love (in the World)", "Every Time You Cry" and "No Surrender".


Alien 3

After directing several popular music videos, Fincher's feature debut was Alien 3 (1992), which was at the time the most expensive picture ever made by a first-time director. While it received an Oscar nomination for special effects, the film was not well received by critics or moviegoers. Fincher became involved with several disputes with 20th Century Fox over script and budget issues, which eventually led Fincher to disassociate himself with the production in later years, as evidenced by his refusal to record a commentary track for the 9-disc Alien Quadrilogy box-set released in 2003 as well as having the film removed from his filmography sections on the DVDs for Fight Club and Panic Room. In "The Director’s Cut",[3] he blames the producers for not putting the necessary trust in him. He has said that they were not interested in making a good film but instead wanted to exploit the franchise in the most profitable manner. Even after the film had already opened in the USA, a Japanese trailer still advertised a storyline that was not in the movie but which the producers would have preferred because of greater expected popularity at the international box office. After this, Fincher retreated back into the world of commercial and music video directing, earning a Grammy Award for the Rolling Stones’ video "Love Is Strong" (1994).


Brad Pitt, a collaborating actor with Fincher in three film productions.

In 1995 Fincher directed Se7en. The film, based on a screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker, told the story of two detectives (played in the movie by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) tracking down a serial killer who bases his killings on the seven deadly sins. The film grossed more than $100 million domestically (over $300 million internationally).[4] The chairman of New Line Cinema, Arnold Kopelson, originally refused to allow filming of the shocking climactic scene. With the aid of Brad Pitt, who stated that he would not be involved with the picture if its ending were changed, Fincher was allowed to film the original scene and use it in the final cut.

The Game

After the success of Se7en, Fincher went on to film The Game (1997), a Twilight Zone-style thriller which shared many similarities in style with Se7en. The story focused on a closed off San Francisco businessman (played by Michael Douglas) who receives an unusual gift from his younger brother (Sean Penn), in which he becomes the main player of a role-playing game that takes over his life. It was well received by critics despite middling box-office returns.

Fight Club

Fight Club was a screen adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name about an insomniac office worker who opens up a club devoted exclusively to bare knuckle fighting for men. Featuring Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, and Se7en collaborator Brad Pitt, the 1999 film was easily one of the most publicized of the year but was an early disappointment at the box-office and received mixed reviews. Fight Club was panned by several critics and alienated audiences leading to its box office failure in the United States.

However many critics and audiences later changed their perceptions and the film appeared on many 'best of the year' lists and soon developed a following. Entertainment Weekly, which had originally given the film a negative grade of D, later ranked the DVD #1 on its list of "The Top 50 DVDs You Need to Own".

In 2006 the British magazine Total Film voted Fight Club number four in the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, beaten only by Jaws, Vertigo and Goodfellas at 3, 2 and 1 respectively.[5]

Panic Room

In 2002, Fincher followed up with the thriller Panic Room. Though the film impressively pulled in over $92 million at the U.S. box office, it was not as well received by critics as Se7en, Fight Club or The Game. The story follows a single mother (Jodie Foster) and her daughter (Kristen Stewart) as they hide in a safe room of their new house, away from criminals (Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam and Fight Club collaborator Jared Leto) bent on finding a missing fortune. Fincher acknowledged Panic Room as a more mainstream thriller, describing the film as "[basically] a date movie" and a "really good B movie" about "two people trapped in a closet" on the DVD's audio commentary.


The symbol of the Zodiac Killer.

Five years after Panic Room, Fincher returned on March 2, 2007 with Zodiac, an adaptation of Robert Graysmith’s books about the hunt for the Zodiac Killer that starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, and Brian Cox. The first of Fincher’s films to be shot digitally, the majority of the film was recorded on a Thompson Viper Film Stream Camera. However, high-speed film cameras were used for the Blue Rock Springs and Presidio Heights murder scenes for the slow-motion shots.[6] It was originally to be released in the fall of 2006 but was pushed back after Fincher refused to cut 20 minutes off the film.

Zodiac was one of the best-reviewed films of that year, with only two other 2007 films appearing on more top-10 lists (No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood).[7] However, the film struggled at the box office, earning only $33 Million in the U.S.[8] Despite an aggressive campaign by the studio, expectations surrounding Robert Downey Jr.’s supporting performance, Fincher’s direction and Vanderbilt’s adapted script, the film did not earn a single Academy Award nomination.[9]

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A story about life and death, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is Fincher’s latest film. It is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name. The film was Fincher’s third with Brad Pitt. The film started shooting in November 2006 in New Orleans, before moving on to the Virgin Islands, Montreal, and L.A.. Both Zodiac and this film are co-productions of Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures. The budget for the film was estimated at $150 million, partly due to the CGI effects used to reverse the aging in Brad Pitt’s character. The film is the first PG-13 film directed by Fincher. It received 13 nominations at the 81st Academy Awards, including Fincher's first nomination for Best Director.

The Social Network

In June 2009, the Internet Movie Database listed The Social Network as being "in production", with a release date of 2011. Fincher is slated to direct from a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, adapted from the book The Accidental Billionaires.[10] According to the IMDb, the film is "a story about the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook". Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield will play Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker and Eduardo Saverin respectively and the film features a young cast ensemble which was fully announced in October 2009. The film will be produced by Scott Rudin, Kevin Spacey and Michael DeLuca, and filming started in October 2009 on a $47 million budget.[11][12]

Future projects


On September 5, 2008, Firstshowing.net reported that Matt Damon is in talks to play Eliot Ness in Ness with Fincher lined up to direct, as well as being attached to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel Torso by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko, and that the producers were looking for locations in Cleveland, Ohio.[13]

The Killer

On November 1, 2007, Variety reported that Fincher was attached to do an adaptation of a French graphic novel called The Killer by Alexis Nolent, which was optioned by Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, with Pitt attached to star in the film. Scripted by Allesandro Camon, the film is about a top assassin, with his conscience getting the better of him, and a cop on his tail.[14]

Black Hole

On February 20, 2008, Variety reported that Fincher was set to direct an adaptation of the Charles Burns comic book, Black Hole. The film, set up at Paramount Pictures, is set to follow sexually active teens who begin to transmit a 'bug' sexually, which causes strange mutations. As of now, no production timetable has been set.

The Goon

On July 2, 2008, it was announced that Fincher has optioned Eric Powell’s award winning comic, The Goon. BLUR STUDIO is to develop as a CG animated feature film with Dark Horse Entertainment for Universal Pictures.[15]

Heavy Metal

Variety reported that Paramount Pictures will make another animated film with David Fincher, based on the Heavy Metal comics. Fincher is set to direct one of the film’s eight or nine segments, which will also feature other directors such as animator Tim Miller and magazine owner and publisher Kevin Eastman directing another. The film is envisioned as being an animated, adult-themed R-rated film.[16] On July 14, 2008 Paramount Pictures announced the movie is put on hold.[17] On September 4, 2008, it was announced the film was to be made by Columbia Pictures, and a few of the directors attached to make a segment each includes Zack Snyder, Gore Verbinski and Guillermo del Toro, as well as James Cameron.[18]


In November 2008, Production Weekly announced Sony picked up the rights to a comedy entitled Chef with Keanu Reeves in a starring role. Fincher told MTV, "It's like a celibate sex comedy if that means anything. It's really about the creative process. It's truly an aromatic art-form, making food. I love that idea. And I love Keanu’s passion for that world." Written by Steven Knight, the project is now set up at Paramount Pictures with Fincher set to direct, a project he has planned for many years.[19]

The Reincarnation of Peter Proud

An announcement was made on November 9th, 2009 that Andrew Kevin Walker and David Fincher will re-team for the remake of the 1975 film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud.[20][21] This marks the fourth time Andrew Kevin Walker and Fincher will work together. Walker wrote Fincher's 1995 thriller Se7en, did uncredited rewrites for Fight Club and made a cameo appearance in Panic Room.

Mind Hunters

Along with Charlize Theron, Fincher is producing the HBO drama series Mind Hunters,[22] based on the book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker.[23]


Theatrical films

Music videos



  1. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/boxingandmma/3918373/Forrest-Griffin-to-show-his-police-brutality.html
  2. ^ Swallow 2003, p. 11
  3. ^ Conversations with 21 Hollywood directors
  4. ^ Seven (1995)
  5. ^ Total Film - Who is the greatest?
  6. ^ Zodiac Director’s Cut DVD, 2nd Disc, Visual Effects featurette.
  7. ^ Best of 2007 « CriticsTop10
  8. ^ Box Office Report - 2007 Box Office
  9. ^ Nominees | 80th Annual Academy Awards | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016
  11. ^ "Slashfilm.com - Confirmed: Eisenberg, Timberlake and Garfield Cast in David Fincher’s The Social Network 9/22/2009"
  12. ^ The Social Network at IMDb
  13. ^ Rumor: Matt Damon in David Fincher's Torso Adaptation?
  14. ^ Paramount, Fincher catch Killer - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety
  15. ^ Ready for this GOON fans? Eric Powell’s comic book optioned... by someone really cool... - Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news
  16. ^ Par, Fincher put pedal to 'Metal' Eastman, Miller to direct animated segments
  17. ^ Heavy Metal remake on hold
  18. ^ Zack Snyder, Gore Verbinski, Guillermo del Toro Directing Heavy Metal Segments?
  19. ^ Rumor: Matt Damon in David Fincher's Torso Adaptation?
  20. ^ Fincher 'Reincarnates' Relationship with Se7en Writer
  21. ^ Reincarnation or Remake? Fincher Helmed Peter Proud Redux on the Way
  22. ^ HBO to Become Mind Hunters
  23. ^ HBO is a 'Mind Hunter'
  24. ^ Fight Club Director’s Gears of War Trailer Out Now: News from 1UP.com
  25. ^ 세븐, '파이트 클럽' 데이비드 핀처 감독 만났다
  • Swallow, James (July 2003). "Dark and Light". Dark Eye: The Films of David Fincher. Reynolds & Hearn. pp. 11–33. ISBN 1903111528. 

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

David Leo Fincher (born August 28, 1962) is an American music video and film director known for his dark and stylish portraits of the human experience.



Gavin Smith goes one-on-one with David Fincher (1999)

Interview with Film Comment magazine, October/November 1999 issue

  • A stylized version of our Ikea present. It is talking about very simple concepts. We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created.
  • We wanted a title sequence that started in the fear center of the brain. [When you hear] the sound of a gun being cocked that's in your mouth, the part of you brain that gets everything going, that realizes that you are fucked - we see all the thought processes, we see the synapses firing, we see the chemical electrical impulses that are the call to arms. And we wanted to sort of follow that out. Because the movie is about thought, it's about how this guy thinks. And it's from his point of view, soley. So I liked the idea of starting a movie from thought, from the beginning of the first fear impulse that went, Oh shit, I'm fucked, how did I get here?
  • You want to be able to provide something, and you're pissing down a fucking well. It will suck you dry and take everything you have and, like being a parent, you can pour as much love as you want, and your kid still says, "Just let me right out here, you don't have to take me all the way." You're working to make yourself obsolete. I'm not going to make Persona - my movies are fairly obvious in what the people want and what it is that's happening; it;s not that internalized. What's internalized is how you process the information from the singular, subjective point of view. And that becomes the subtext of it.
    • About directing films
  • Filmmmaking encompasses everything, from tricking people into investing in it, to putting on the show, to trying to distill down to moments in time, and ape reality but send this other message. It's got everything. When I was a kid I loved to draw, and I loved my electric football sets, and I painted little things and made sculptures and did matte painting and comic books and illustrated stuff, and took pictures, had a darkroom, loved to tape-record stuff. It's all of that. It's not having to grow up. It's four-dimensional chess, it's strategy, and it's being painfully honest, and unbelivably deceitful, and everything in between.

Fightin Words (1999)

Interview with drDrew.com about Fight Club

  • The movie is not that violent. There are ideas in the movie that are scary, but the film isn't about violence, the glorification of violence or the embracing of violence. In the movie, violence is a metaphor for feeling. It's a film about the problems or requirements involved with being masculine in today's society.
  • Violence shouldn't be presented as drama. I think people looking for an easy way out often write scenes where characters come into violent conflict as opposed to looking for the true drama in the situation. That's a shortcoming of a lot of films and television shows. I think certain presentations of violence are not immoral, but amoral.
  • I find it amoral if you're making a movie where the problem is solved with a guy standing in the back of pickup truck firing a machine at the bad guys. The morality of it is questionable because the repercussions of violence are incredibly far-reaching.
  • I do like movies that take a toll on the audience. I want to work the subconscious. I want to involve you in ways in which you might not necessarily want to get involved. I want to play off those things that you're expecting to get when the lights go down and the 20th Century Fox logo comes up. There's an audience expectation and I'm interested in how movies play with--and off--that expectation. That's what I'm interested in.

A Talk With David Fincher (1999)

Interview with dvdtalk.com

  • I always feel ill-prepared for commentaries and it had been so long I was afraid I'd forget everything that happened on the film. But having everybody come together for it was really great. It was like a high school reunion. We all reminisced and just had a great time.
  • Oh, yeah, I love DVD's. I don't have what you'd call an extensive collection, maybe a couple of hundred or so. But I have something on almost all the time.
  • There are some movies I can watch over and over, never get sick of. I'll put one of those on and be puttering around the house. Then a certain scene will come on and I'll just have to go over and watch.
  • You know, I don't think I've ever listened to someone's commentary. Ever.
  • I tend to over-intellectualize things, to come at them from a structural point.

The Curious Case of David Fincher (2007)

By Brian Mockenhaupt, Esquire Magazine, March 2007 issue

  • I don't have the Tom Hanks fans. When you make the kind of movies I make, you get weird letters from people.
  • You can do something that walks a line, and invariably, whatever that line is, it will be crossed by people who don't know any better and want to ape the success.
  • I want to make a movie that has enough impact that it's going to do what it needs to do. But I don't want to make a film that serial killers masturbate to.
  • For me, the scariest thing about a serial killer is that there's somebody who lives next door to you, running power tools late into the night, and you don't know he has a refrigerator full of penises.
  • As much as people pretend 'I fit in, I understand, I get the rules,' there are always times spent away from that where you go, 'I thought I knew. It seemed so clear to me, and then...' That sense of loneliness, or the sense of not fitting in or being out of depth, is probably the most common denominator.
  • Entertainment has to come hand in hand with a little bit of medicine. Some people go to the movies to be reminded that everything's okay. I don't make those kinds of movies. That, to me, is a lie. Everything's not okay.
  • You have a responsibility for the way you make the audience feel, and I want them to feel uncomfortable.
  • Hollywood is great. I also think it's stupid and small-minded and shortsighted. I'm sure there are people who get into movies so they can get nice tables at restaurants.
  • You can either look at your career as the things you're going to leave behind, and they have to be executed flawlessly and you have to know exactly what it is that you're doing. Or you can be realistic about the fact that you're going to learn as you practice what you do.


  • I'm always interested in movies that scar.
  • You look at it and go: What do we need to say, what do we want to say, and when push comes to shove, go with what we need to say, then prioritize and fight like hell to get what you need to pull it off

About David Fincher

  • He's just scary smart, sort of smarter than everyone else in the room. There's just a handful of these people who know absolutely everything about the process. They could do everyone's job brilliantly. Every aspect is under their control.
    • Producer Laura Ziskin, The Curious Case of David Fincher, By Brian Mockenhaupt, Esquire Magazine, March 2007 issue

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