Cheat Sheet: David Fincher

Name: David Fincher

Date of birth: 28th August 1962

Place of birth: Denver, CO

Special move Directing

Films include: Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network

What you probably already know:

Ooh, that David Fincher. He’s all dark and edgily stylish, isn’t he? He put Brad Pitt in a red leather jacket and Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in a cardboard box! (Christ knows that needed doing; have you read the woman’s blog?) Anyway. Yes yes and again yes, David Fincher is all these things. Ever since he stormed into the film-going public’s consciousness with religious anti-cop thriller Se7en, Fincher has produced a thematically varied list films which balance mainstream or cult appeal with unbearably inky undertones. Who else would dare to cast Kevin Spacey as a man who repeatedly cuts off his own fingerpads and then not even put him on the posters?

Just days ago, Fincher finally received the Best Director Golden Globe for his 2010 hit The Social Network, which won three other prizes including Best Picture and is hotly tipped to finally scoop him an Oscar next month. With his version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, likely to be the first of three American films rehashing the Swedish thrillers, currently in production, it seems his name can only acquire more weight in Hollywood as the years go by. Hence the cheat sheet.

What you might not know:

Many Hollywood stars have dirty little secrets from the start of their careers – films which must have seemed red hot at the time but which history has consigned to the bargain bin. Who knew, for example, about Brad Pitt’s turn in late-Eighties slasher Cutting Class, or that Jennifer Aniston charged around with a shotgun in Leprechaun? We’ve all conveniently forgotten Johnny Depp’s appearance as the heroine’s doomed boyfriend in the original Nightmare on Elm Street, and the less said about James Cameron’s directorial debut – Piranha II: The Spawning, in which the piranhas can fly – the better. So it is with David Fincher, whose first full-length feature was the instantly forgettable Alien 3, notable only for killing off most of the characters from the previous films.

However, Fincher came to cinema with a wealth of experience from his time directing commercials (his first, for the American Cancer Society, showed a foetus smoking) and music videos for the likes of Paula Abdul and the Gypsy Kings. Perhaps the best known song to have been blessed with a Fincher video is Sting’s Englishman In New York, which we have gratuitously included below. Watch it with your enlightened eyes, and marvel at the fact that you never realised.

David Fincher quote:

“Doing cool stuff like designing shots is 1 percent of your life. The other 99 percent is holding everything together while there’s total fucking chaos, maximizing the amount of hours that you have in order to get stuff, pulling shit out of your ass to fix things, being able to work on your toes.[..]”

What to say at a dinner party:

I, for one, will be very interested to see if the much-vaunted Heavy Metal sequel ever takes off…

What not to say at a dinner party:

Do you think he’ll ever make another Alien film?

Final Thought:

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is due out on Boxing Day 2011, so you’ve got plenty of time to read the original books AND watch Fincher’s entire catalogue to give you some perspective. Hop to it.

Have we missed out your favourite Fincher fact? Let us know below!


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