The term “Fincher-esque” has been used quite often over the years to describe David Fincher’s directing style and any film that tries to emulate his artistic flourishes, but it’s not a term Fincher loves hearing. In an interview with Empire magazine published online this month, Fincher weighs the pros and cons of having a trademark directing style that inspires a descriptive phrase. The “Gone Girl” and “Seven” filmmaker admitted the term “Fincher-esque” makes him “a little queasy,” although the fun part of the term is how it invites him to upend audience expectations of his style.
“I think it’s a good thing to have an audience have some expectation of you because it gives you opportunities to subvert that,” Fincher said. “When you’re making a movie like ‘Gone Girl,’ it’s not a bad thing that people have seen ‘Seven’ and know that shit can go seriously off the rails. The threat of that is actually kind of positive. You get to play with expectations. It’s your responsibility to be aware of that and use it to your advantage, as opposed to letting it get in the way of the story you’re trying to tell.”
One genre the term “Fincher-esque” doesn’t apply to is comedy. Fincher has yet to make a comedy, although several of his satirical films have dark humor that suggest he’d make quite a twisted comedy director. There have been studio comedies like “Game Night” that have used the “Fincher-esque” style quite effectively, but Fincher told Empire he’ll probably never make “an out-and-out comedy.”
“I think that when you’re making films that have a lot of depravity, and are about serious subjects, you have to temper that,” Fincher said. “I mean, ‘Fight Club’ is satire and ‘Gone Girl’ is satire, so the comic side of that is not one of necessarily going, ‘Wah-wah-wahhh.’ You’re not doling out jokes. I mean, I would love to read a script of ‘Being There,’ had it not been made, and make something like that. But I guess that’s satire, too. I find a lot of comedy, with air quotes, to be a little obsequious.”
Fincher’s last theatrical release was “Gone Girl,” but he’s set to return later this year with the Netflix original “Mank.” The director spent the hiatus between these film projects executive producing and directing episodes of the television series “Mindhunter.” Head over to Empire’s website to read more from Fincher.