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David Fincher Shares Surprising ‘Zodiac’ Criticism and His Biggest Pet Peeve on Set

If you ever find yourself on set with David Fincher, you better make sure your cell phone is turned off.




David Fincher fans are in for a treat as Empire magazine has made available a recent Q&A with David Fincher in its entirety. The original article was included in Empire’s December 2019 issue as part of the magazine’s celebration of its 30th anniversary, but a digital copy of the Q&A finally debuted on the Empire website this month. The article finds Fincher answering 17 questions submitted by readers, and in some cases the director gets candid about some of his own work. When asked about which of his directorial efforts would make a great television series, Fincher nitpicked his crime masterpiece “Zodiac” and shared one bit of criticism he has for the 2007 release.

“I suppose ‘Mindhunter’ is an extension of a lot of the thinking about what makes a scene, or what makes drama, that I had about ‘Zodiac,'” Fincher said. “In trying to take something that probably would’ve been a pretty good five-hour movie and get it down to two hours and 45 minutes, we kind of made it too long on one hand and not deep enough on another.”

Fincher added, “I think the criteria for me is if something is very narratively focused it’s probably good, fertile ground for growing a movie. And if something is much more about getting to know the people and seeing their hypocrisies and foibles and strengths and weaknesses, then probably television. I mean…perhaps ‘Fight Club.’ I think Chuck Palahniuk’s characters are so rich and dense and layered and faceted. Certainly 80 percent of his other writings would make amazing mini-series, if nothing else.”

While Fincher might find “Zodiac” not as deep as its length demands, critics would most likely disagree. “Zodiac” is often cited as one of Fincher’s best movies and one of the best serial killer dramas ever made. The film has made fans out of Fincher’s fellow filmmakers as well, with Guillermo del Toro famously sharing a rave review of “Zodiac” on social media. The “Shape of Water” Oscar winner hailed “Zodiac” as “one of the best films in recent memory.”

Fincher also answered a question during the Q&A about his biggest set pet peeve, which, not surprisingly, has something to do with disrupting the flow of his multiple-takes directing style. As Fincher said, “I think it’s hard for people to understand how little, incidental conversation just takes away from focus. Everybody just goes into pause mode instead of record mode. Also, when you shoot a lot of takes, as people do stuff repetitively, you see in your peripheral vision people go to their iPhones. Might be the iPhone on set — biggest pet peeve.”

Head over to Empire’s website to read the entire Fincher Q&A. The director is currently at work on his next feature, the Netflix-backed drama “Mank.”

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