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David Andrew Leo Fincher (born August 28, 1962) is an Academy Award-nominated American filmmaker and music video director known for his dark and stylish movies such as Alien 3, Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Early life and career

David Fincher was born on August 28, 1962 in Denver, Coloradomarker to parents Howard and Claire Fincher. When Fincher was two years old, the family moved to San Anselmomarker in Marin County, Californiamarker. Howard Fincher worked as a bureau chief for Life under the name Jack Fincher, and Claire Fincher was a mental health nurse who worked in drug addiction programs. Fincher moved to Ashlandmarker, Oregonmarker in his teens where he graduated from Ashland High Schoolmarker. 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, Nikemarker, 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 " 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".

Features

Alien³

After directing several popular music videos, Fincher's feature debut was Alien³ (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", 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 for the Rolling Stones' video "Love Is Strong" (1994).

Seven

In 1995 Fincher directed Seven. 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 (Kevin Spacey) who bases his killings on the seven deadly sins. The film grossed more than $100 million domestically (over $300 million internationally). 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 Seven, Fincher went on to film The Game (1997), a Twilight Zone-style thriller which shared many similarities in style with Seven. The story focused on a closed off San Franciscomarker 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 Seven 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.

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 Seven, Fight Club or The Game. The story follows a single mother (Jodie Foster) and her daughter 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.

Zodiac

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 vast majority of the film was shot digitally on a Thompson Viper Film Stream Camera. It was the first of Fincher's films to be shot digitally. However, it was not entirely digital: High-speed film cameras were used for the Blue Rock Springs and Presidio Heights murder scenes for the slow-motion shots. 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). However, the film struggled at the box office, earning only $33 Million in the U.S. 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.

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 the Academy Award 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. 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.

Future projects

Ness

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, Ohiomarker.

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.

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.

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. On July 14, 2008 Paramount Pictures announced the movie is put on hold. 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.

Chef

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," the filmmaker explained. "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.

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 . This marks the fourth time Andrew Kevin Walker and Fincher will work together. Walker wrote Fincher's 1995 thriller Seven, did uncredited rewrites for Fight Club and made a cameo appearance in Panic Room.

Filmography

Theatrical films



Music videos



Commercials



Notes

  1. Conversations with 21 Hollywood directors
  2. Seven (1995)
  3. Total Film - Who is the greatest?
  4. Zodiac Director's Cut DVD, 2nd Disc, Visual Effects featurette
  5. Best of 2007 « CriticsTop10
  6. Box Office Report - 2007 Box Office
  7. Nominees | 80th Annual Academy Awards | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  8. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1285016/
  9. "Slashfilm.com - Confirmed: Eisenberg, Timberlake and Garfield Cast in David Fincher’s The Social Network 9/22/2009"
  10. "The Social Network" at IMDb
  11. Rumor: Matt Damon in David Fincher's Torso Adaptation?
  12. Paramount, Fincher catch 'Killer' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety
  13. 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
  14. Par, Fincher put pedal to 'Metal' Eastman, Miller to direct animated segments
  15. Heavy Metal remake on hold
  16. Zack Snyder, Gore Verbinski, Guillermo del Toro Directing Heavy Metal Segments?
  17. Rumor: Matt Damon in David Fincher's Torso Adaptation?
  18. Fincher 'Reincarnates' Relationship With 'Seven ' Writer
  19. Reincarnation or Remake? Fincher Helmed Peter Proud Redux on the Way
  20. Fight Club Director's Gears Of War Trailer Out Now: News from 1UP.com
  21. 세븐, '파이트클럽' 데이비드 핀처 감독 만났다


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