David Fincher is arguably one of best filmmakers of our time, Emmy nominated and Oscar-nominated, he’s directed modern classics like Fight Club and Best Picture nominees like The Social Network. The best thing about Fincher is that he’s hardly the kind of filmmaker who sticks to one medium, he’s willing to flex his muscles with music videos, commercials and TV. With his new series Mindhunter arriving at Netflix, he’s back in the spotlight and the film world is having a Fincher frenzy once again.
Surprisingly, Fincher has yet to direct a franchise film, he’s currently attached to the World War Z sequel and admits he had a meeting with Lucasfilm exec Kathleen Kennedy where they got to talking about the possibility of directing a Star Wars film. In an interview with Empire Magazine, Fincher explains why he passed on directing the biggest and most popular franchise ever created despite beginning his filmmaking career working for ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) – the visual effects company created by George Lucas for the creation of Star Wars movies.
No, I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, “Alderaan? What the hell is this?” Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level. One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure.
I think [The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner] had the best job. He had a pretty great script and he had the middle story. He didn’t have to worry about where it started and he didn’t have to worry about where it ended. And he had the great reveal.
You’d have to really clear your head, I think. You’d have to really be sure this is what you wanted to do because either way, it’s two years of your life, 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fincher explains that no matter which way you look at it, making a Star Wars film has always manifested a certain amount of pressure on the filmmaker and that this pressure isn’t necessarily related to the art of filmmaking, but to the success of the film at the box office. In theory, it may seem like a good idea to get an Oscar-nominated director with such a consistent record to bring a Star Wars movie to life, but even we know Fincher’s style would make for a great movie – not necessarily a great Star Wars movie.
You can watch Fincher’s new series MINDHUNTER on Netflix right now.