David Fincher Is Yet Another Filmmaker Abandoning Movies for TV

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David Fincher might be directing one of the most anticipated movies of the coming months, but it seems the iconoclastic filmmaker is jumping on the bandwagon and moving away from studio movies toward television. Now that the movie adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is finished, all the director’s currently developing projects are in TV. One of those projects in particular will allow Fincher to fulfill his career-long dream of directing a classic crime noir and collaborate with a longtime admirer and friend, according to a report from Indiewire.

Fincher and crime writer James Ellroy are reportedly planning a series for HBO that will be in the style of a classic noir, and they’re the perfect pair to pull off such a project. Indiewire pointed out that the men first met years ago, when Fincher was attached to direct the film version of Ellroy’s novel The Black Dahlia. That project eventually went to Brian de Palma and became a feature length film rather than the five-hour miniseries Fincher had envisioned, but now the pair have the opportunity to team up on something that sounds very similar to what a big-budget Black Dahlia miniseries would have been.

Ellroy is best known for his hard-boiled crime novels like The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential. Much of his writing is inspired by the fact that his own mother was murdered and dumped near a high school when he was young. The killer was never found, and Ellroy tries to work out those demons through his fiction.

Sources who spoke to Indiewire said that Fincher and Ellroy are planning a project with HBO that will be a noir-influenced crime drama set in Los Angeles in the 1950s. There aren’t any other details, but even that’s enough to get fans of Fincher, Ellroy, or the noir genre excited.

Ellroy and Fincher have never actually worked together, but Ellroy was such a fan of Fincher’s 2007 crime thriller Zodiac that Fincher brought Ellroy to his interviews for the movie, and Ellroy spoke on the DVD commentary. In an interview with the pair for that film, the Los Angeles Times said, “The conversation turns and returns to what binds the two — a mutual interest in obsession and the destruction it leaves behind.”

Zodiac is about the hunt for a real-life serial killer who terrorized the Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaving bizarre clues behind for the police and mailing cryptic letters to newspapers; it is one of California’s best-known unsolved crimes. The story sounds exactly like something Ellroy would write about, and it’s easy to see how Fincher and Ellroy probably have a few obsessions in common themselves.

The other TV stuff Fincher has in the pipeline includes an adaptation of another Gillian Flynn book, Utopia, which has been ordered by HBO, and Mind Hunter, a show about the investigation of serial killers, Indiewire reports. Things he won’t be doing include directing any more episodes of House of Cards or helming Disney’s long-planned 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Fincher is known for doing things the way he wants and having little patience with any interference with his creative process, so it makes sense that a big-budget Disney movie would frustrate him. As for House of Cards, Indiewire pointed out that Fincher was barely involved in the second season and will probably only stay on the Netflix original as a producer.

Fincher is one of many in the movie business tired of the restrictions of big studios and who is finding relative freedom on TV in television’s golden era. Whatever mutual admirers Ellroy and Fincher cook up will likely be a healthy addition to the slew of class-A series that HBO has been putting out in recent years.

Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS

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