The Social Network

Kim Masters HR Exclusive on Fincher is a tad One-Sided

The Hollywood Reporter runs its second story on David Fincher, Sony and the supposed upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, wherein a source continues to huff and puff their side of the story all the while complaining about what a diva and tyrant Fincher is because of his “excessive” demands. Second story, same unnamed source, same one-sided lament. Let’s put this into the bigger picture. First, what do you do if you have a movie people only barely want to see that without Fincher’s name is even more of a DOA project? What do you do if you want the Fincher name but don’t want to wrestle from him the directorial control that would make the movie worthy of that name?

Put it this way: they need Fincher a lot more than Fincher needs them on this film. Yes, put Fincher and Aaron Sorkin together and you potentially have magic again, as you had with the Social Network. But you don’t hire a guy like Fincher in the first place if you want a director you can lead around by the balls. You say – we trust you because you’re one of the best directors working today, because you do not compromise your principles, nor do you invest time in something that will waste everyone else’s.

Conveniently missing from Masters’ story is Fincher’s side of things, the difficulties on his end on Dragon Tattoo and Social Network. But hey, why bother with those kinds of facts? Let’s get those clicks rolling to help this particular news outlet stay relevant. We live in an era where sexy headlines are the only ones that draw the kinds of traffic numbers websites need to stay afloat. Kim Masters is a reputable journalist with an ear towards scandal but there is something fishy about this story in that it’s entirely one-sided and no one seems to give a damn. I’m not a journalist but even I know that both sides are worth looking into. All we have here is gossip. Nasty gossip at that.

Where the story goes really wrong, however, is in the suggestion that Fincher somehow burdened Sony with marketing demands on Dragon Tattoo. Sony is painted as the victim here and Fincher as the irresponsible tyrant. How convenient to be able to ramble on endlessly telling your side of the story when this reporter couldn’t be bothered to find out how much money Sony spent, the mistakes they made getting Dragon Tattoo made. I’m not an expert on it but even I know the basics there.

Let’s go over this again, shall we? Rooney Mara was an actress Fincher had to fight for every inch of the way on Dragon Tattoo. How did that one end up? Best Actress nomination for Rooney Mara in a film that really had no business getting anywhere near the Dolby. Fincher himself got a DGA nod and to my mind it should have been included in the film lineup for Best Picture – it was that good.

What did Fincher do on House of Cards in a situation where he had much freedom under the Netflix umbrella? Oh, just revolutionized how we watch television, instantly elevated their street cred to where now Netflix is as respected as any other network. He revived Kevin Spacey’s career and did this with a wildly diverse cast — women directors, black directors all in the mix.

So if anyone wants to start complaining about Fincher’s demands I would just say take a big step back, look at the big picture and hire a fucking hack if that’s the kind of production you really want. But if you want a director who will do it the only way he knows how to do it? You invest in a guy who deeply cares about what kinds of films he makes. You stand back and have a little faith, otherwise get your hands out and start reaching for the people who really like being told what to do and how to do it.

I know how this will go because I’m old and I’ve lived through a lot of it already. The industry will hold this story against Fincher, like they did during 2010 when someone floated the notion that he wanted to win the Oscar really badly. The end result of that was a voting body sympathizing more with The King’s Speech and Tom Hooper because they were “nice guys.” This could also be why Vertigo only got two Oscar nods – Sound and Art Direction. Vertigo, arguably among the best films of all time.

I’m not sure why any of this would need to come out in the press if it weren’t for some kind of PR leverage. This is either an attempt to strong arm Fincher into taking the gig (wrong way to go about it), or an effort to bring some publicity to and sympathy for a project that would ordinarily have trouble getting off the ground. After all, wasn’t there already a Steve Jobs biopic with Ashton Kutcher? If Sony wants a list of directors who will do anything to make a movie I have a long one. In fact, you could fill up a football stadium with those names. So why then would they play this game of cat and mouse to smear the name of a man who has done nothing but bring honor and prestige to Sony. He’s more than worth $10 million up front whether he asked for it or not. Transformers, as if!

Christian Bale’s Name Arises for Fincher/Sorkin Steve Jobs Biopic

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Picture of the Day: Fincher and Affleck and Awesome Tracking Shot to Come

12 Comments

  1. Marcella
    April 14, 2014

    From what I have read from Kim Masters.. she is kind of clueless.

    Remember when she said that Jennifer Lawrence was the only actress to juggle a franchise and a smaller movie career? Patently untrue but she refused to listen to several people who tweeted her to inform her that she was wrong. She dismissed other actresses achievements and now she is dismissing Fincher’s right to have his side of the story exposed.

  2. Radich
    April 14, 2014

    And lets not forget that Dragon Tattoo actually won an Oscar for editing.

    *sigh*

    I’m afraid we will never see the sequels being made by this crowd… :(

  3. Christophe
    April 14, 2014

    “After all, wasn’t there already a Steve Jobs biopic with Ashton Kutcher?”

    Exactly right, Sony execs know there’s no f***ing way anyone (no offense to Fincher) can rival the sheer cinematic genius of the Ashton Kutcher film, so they need to shift the blame to someone else to save their own skin from a possible debacle.

  4. JPNS Viewer
    April 15, 2014

    Besides the notable performance by Jessie E., I love the hipster yet well-organized tempo (, etc.) in the Social Network created by Fincher and his team. [my grade for the film: strong B+]
    So, re this would-be project, simply put, I could feel the chemistry between the particular subject matter and Fincher’s style. [I rewrote the previous sentence, editing this one detailed paragraph, one with supportive reasons included, etc., and converting it into a much tinier one]

    Hopefully, they will re-negotiate and — don’t throw bricks xD — that in the end […] will optionally take some of the back-end (in addition to a less elephantine amount of wage) rather than the reported one of bigger up-front salary once and for all.

    (@Christophe

    Welcome back!)

  5. Christophe
    April 15, 2014

    Hi Jpns Viewer,

    Thx for the warm welcome! Though, you should know I am ALWAYS there on AD, lurking in the shadows, watching things unfold and people take their stands. Meanwhile I stay quiet, pondering my next move, weighing carefully my options, waiting for the right occasion to strike back, seemingly out of nowhere…

    Also, the weather has been extremely pleasant recently so it would be a shame to spend too much time in front of the computer.

    Cheers!

  6. SallyinChicago
    April 15, 2014

    Forgive me for this, but who the F** wants to see a movie about Steve Jobs?

  7. JJ
    April 15, 2014

    Sony is under the gun right now, financially. And before you bash their concerns re Fincher, I would acknowledge that it is one of the only studios taking chances on dramas – not directed by Martin Scorsese. They’ve made Social Network, Moneyball, etc. while Disney makes Marvel crap, Warner makes DC crap, Paramount makes nothing, and Fox makes Marvel crap. So give the studio some credit!

  8. Bryce Forestieri
    April 15, 2014

    Isn’t Paul Thomas Anderson always in charge of marketing in his productions, and he does a great job I might add.

  9. moviewatcher
    April 15, 2014

    Sallyinchicago: A lot of f***ing people? You can’t possibly be serious about this. Hundreds of thousands of people bought his biography and Apple has revolutionized technology in today’s time, for better or for worse. I don’t own a single Apple product, but even I see that there is demand for a Steve Jobs film. Like, WTF?

  10. JPNS Viewer
    April 15, 2014

    “I don’t own a single Apple product, but even I see that there is demand for a Steve Jobs film. (Like, WTF?)”

    +1.
    Though for the time being not likely a surefire tent-pole, there’s definitely market demand for the late Steve Jobs’ biopic. (Ashton Kushner [sp] has already done it — relatively recently. Noah [sp] […] has done it on TV. And perhaps, some independent projects in certain Anglophone micro-unit communities, etc, such as in local colleges and organizations throughout America [or not].)

    “Also, the weather has been extremely pleasant recently so it would be a shame to spend too much time in front of the computer.”

    That’s why I admire French sentiments in general; they sure know how to live life (not that other peoples, including Japanese, don’t know what to do though). Good for you, mon ami. : )

  11. April 15, 2014

    Fincher got screwed over for the best director Oscar twice for ‘The Social Network’ and ‘Benjamin button’. Having said that he will probably shrug it off like the Coen Brothers did should he win.

    His only weak movie was his debut Alien 3 but that is fine. Most directors have one weak film.

  12. April 15, 2014

    Sony is under the gun right now, financially.

    So instead of investing on a product made and supervised by one of the most revolutionary filmmakers of our time, they should be excused for spending a little less money on the same script directed by some clueless hack. Gotcha.

    And before you bash their concerns re Fincher, I would acknowledge that it is one of the only studios taking chances on dramas – not directed by Martin Scorsese.

    Sasha didn’t bash Sony’s entire history, dear fellow. She bashed their particular decision in this particular case. Period.

    They’ve made Social Network

    Bingo! A huge hit, directed and written by the same two creative minds that should be behind this new project.

    while Disney makes Marvel crap, Warner makes DC crap, Paramount makes nothing, and Fox makes Marvel crap.

    Reductio ad absurdum.

    So give the studio some credit!

    How about YOU make a rational case for the studio by addressing the current topic instead of telling the site owner what do do?

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