Friday, 17 September 2010
Fincher for President
Gus Van Sant has a new film called RESTLESS coming out in which Mia Wasikowska plays a terminally ill girl who falls for a boy who attends funerals for fun and one day they both encounter the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from World War 2. It sounds like a tough sell and one that distributor Columbia Pictures is not entirely sure how to market. Regardless of how RESTLESS has turned out, it seems Gus Van Sant's follow up to the Academy Award winning Milk should have been released within the next 3 months so that it can be considered for Oscar contention. Not so. RESTLESS will be dumped in American cinemas on 28th January, 2011. This means it will miss out on the prestige picture shebang and awards season race. It seems rather harsh treatment for a guy whose last movie was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, of which it won 2. RESTLESS cost $15 million to produce, not expensive but not necessarily cheap either. No matter how esoteric the actual movie is, one still would've thought Columbia Pictures may try and cash in on the success of Milk by giving RESTLESS a 2010 release. Then again, Columbia Pictures has their award movie in the bag as David Fincher's THE SOCIAL NETWORK is out 1st October, 2010 (15th October, 2010 in the UK) and reports are Amy Pascal (Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc, and listed as number 1 on the 15th annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 list) is so convinced by the brilliance of Fincher's new masterpiece that she's ploughing all her awards marketing muscle into it. The only other Sony release vying for awards recognition is perhaps Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's THE TOURIST, but that film hasn't got the momentum of Fincher behind it.
David Fincher is arguably the most prolific youngish Hollywood filmmaker making movies right now. His films are made, marketed and seen on strength of his name alone. Sony is so in awe of his work on THE SOCIAL NETWORK that they've tapped the filmmaker to helm their remake of Stieg Larsson's GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, to be released Christmas of next year and starring Rooney Mara as the infamous Lisbeth Salander. Rooney Mara is one of the main actresses in THE SOCIAL NETWORK and was cast at Fincher's insistence, that despite the studio wanting everyone from Carey Mulligan to Keira Knightley for the role of Lisbeth Salander. That's not all as Andrew Garfield, who plays Eduardo Saverin in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, has been cast as Peter Parker in Columbia Pictures' SPIDERMAN REBOOT, even though the studio was screen-testing everyone from Josh Hutcherson to Jamie Bell for the part. It seems Garfield's potentially award-winning turn in THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and Fincher's recommendation, finally clinched it for him. Fincher is a cinematic god right now. This is evinced by today's report in the Hollywood Reporter that states Media Rights Capital is negotiating with Fincher to produce movies under his own signature. Details are sparse at the moment as they've yet to actually put ink to paper, but it looks like Fincher will get to put his own spin on at least two films as part of the deal. MRC has done a similar deal with M. Night Shyamalan to develop and oversee a series of supernatural movies under his moniker: Night Chronicles; the first in the series is John Erick Dowdle's DEVIL which is released today, and will be followed by Daniel Stamm's REINCARNATE next year. The best news about all this is that Fincher's MRC films could be similar in tone to his famed thrillers like Seven, Panic Room and Zodiac. MRC is heading for deep, dark, and downright creepy projects. If this is any indication of their direction for the Fincher deal, we could be looking at his departure from drama and a welcome return to the reprehensible. It's exactly the kind of movies we need right now.
At a time when first-dollar gross movie stars are struggling to open movies, the burgeoning proliferation of savvy movie audiences are watching films based on directorial talent associated with pictures. This summer's Inception was mainly marketed on Christopher Nolan's name and less on DiCaprio's involvement. Inception worked wonders for Warner Bros. There are a crop of filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro and Timur Bekmambetov who could equally generate branded film concepts like the current MRC deal with Fincher. These films will hopefully be talent driven. It's a good thing because it's putting power back into the hands of the creative minds that make great movies and not on some vanity driven movie star or money obsessed Hollywood producer.