While David Fincher is no stranger to the small screen format (see our ranking of the 55 music videos he’s directed to date), when it comes to actually getting behind the camera for TV episodes, he’s hasn’t quite jumped completely in the pool. At least not yet, but he’s about to make the leap. As the executive producer on "House Of Cards," he only helmed the first two episodes. But as we recently noted, that’s about to change. Fincher is about to shift away from movies into TV in a big way. And with his upcoming series "Utopia," it looks like Fincher is borrowing a page from his pal Steven Soderbergh, who dropped movies and headed to Cinemax to film the entire first season of "The Knick" (which you absolutely need to be watching if you’re not already).
Chatting with The Guardian, Fincher revealed that he will be behind the camera for every episode of HBO‘s remake of the U.K. series "Utopia." The project, which has been brewing for a while, was given a series order by the network earlier this year, with "Gone Girl" author Gillian Flynn also on board to produce. The show (which has two seasons overseas) follows a group of people who get their hands on a cult graphic novel called "The Utopia Experiments," which seems to have predicted no shortage of disasters. An organization known only as The Network hunts them down as the group tries to prevent the next disaster predicted in the pages of the manuscript from happening.
“I like the world of it,” Fincher told the paper. “I like the characters – I love Dennis’s [Kelly, creator of the U.K. show] honesty and affinity for the nerds. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a junior conspiracy theorist because I don’t have time to connect them all! But it’s nice to see that somebody has.”
Fincher joins a growing number of directors taking their auteurist approach to the more freeing world of television. Need some examples? Okay, there’s Sean Durkin ("Southcliffe," the excellent mini-series now streaming on Netflix), Jill Soloway ("Transparent," one of the best of Amazon‘s new shows), Jane Campion ("Top Of The Lake"), Cary Fukunaga ("True Detective")….you get the idea. Clearly, Fincher sees where the artistry is going and is following suit.
The gig will keep Fincher busy for much of 2015, and after that, he says he doesn’t know his next movie yet and that’s likely because he has at least two more TV shows in the works. “Oddly enough,” he says, “I did a remake of a literary adaptation, then I did a remake of a television show. Now I’m doing a literary adaptation [and then remaking another show]. I don’t know: the pattern is not clear to me exactly what it is that I’m doing. But I’m sure it’ll be illuminated for me. Your job is context. I’m just a hamster on a wheel!” And we can’t wait see where that wheel spins next.