David Fincher is battling higher ups over a project? No way. All kidding aside, Fincher’s reputation for being an exacting perfectionist, who seeks that his movies are realized with the best talent and options available, precedes him. We don’t need to run down the list here, but Fincher has run afoul of somebody on most of his projects from “Fight Club” right through to “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” So that he’s now rumored to be running into a bit of heat on the Netflix series “House Of Cards“? Not exactly unexpected.
THR reports that Fincher is angling for more cash for the series, which already has a $100 million budget from Media Rights Capital (Netflix is not financing the series, just distributing it). It’s unclear what the additional budget is for or what Fincher (who is executive producing the show with Kevin Spacey, who also stars) is exactly looking for, but with screenwriter Beau Willimon telling us recently that the scripts for the entire first season of 13 episodes are done (with some re-writing and tweaks to do here and there), it seems the scope is quite large. And Fincher is playing hardball, as he’s signed up to direct the first two episodes, though he threatens to walk if the issues can’t be resolved.
Reps for MRC claim everything is fine and moving ahead as planned, while other insiders tell the trade that MRC is simply not used to being hands on, preferring to provide financial backing and then let the filmmakers do their thing. But if anyone knows how to stretch a dollar, it’s Fincher (remember, “The Social Network” cost $40 million — a spartan number for the director who has commanded much bigger budgets in recent years). And certainly, his high standards are very well known.
“A lot of people throw words like genius around lightly, I don’t and I can truly say the man is brilliant. He’s the smartest person I may have ever met in my life and I’ve met a lot of smart people,” Willimon told us recently about working with Fincher. “He is a perfectionist in every great sense of the word, he’s involved at every level from the smallest detail to the core vision. And what’s incredible about the guy is that he walks into a project knowing what he wants to do and having this incredible vision and then also have the follow through and the talent and the determination to achieve it.”
Whether that determination will open the purse strings at MRC remains to be seen, but here’s hoping everything can be worked out. Originally slated to start filming this month, production will begin in April with the series to air sometime next year.