David Fincher Talks Favorite STAR WARS Movie and Explains Why He Won’t Alter His Previous Films

by     Posted 3 years, 1 day ago

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Last Christmas I landed one of my dream interviews: I got to sit down with director David Fincher for over forty-five minutes and we talked about The Social Network, how he makes movies, why he wanted to direct The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac, The Game Blu-ray, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of Fincher’s and missed it, click here.  I promise you’ll learn a lot about the way he makes movies.

However, while we covered a lot of subjects, there were many things I just didn’t have time to ask.  So when I sat down with him the other day in New York City for another exclusive interview for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I decided to bring up some of the questions I never asked.  While the full interview will run in the coming days, I’ll tease you with a few things: I asked Fincher if he prefers Star Wars or Star Trek, which is his favorite Star Wars movie, and if he ever alter or edit a previous movie as George Lucas has with Star Wars.  Hit the jump for his answers.

george_lucasBefore getting to Fincher’s answers, let me address why everyone is mad at George Lucas:  he constantly tweaks his beloved movies, but he never made the original versions available after making the alterations.  The fact is, I wouldn’t care if Lucas had Greedo shooting first, or Luke screaming when he’s falling at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, or even if he made more drastic changes, if he’d just offer the original theatrical versions without one edit or color correction.

And that’s what Lucas doesn’t understand.

Sure the fans are pissed that he keeps changing the movies, but they’re more upset that he won’t offer the original versions.  He could silence every complaint and critic if he’d just release the original versions on Blu-ray.  Hell, he could get a huge percentage of fans to double dip and buy the movies all over again if he’d offer the original versions on Blu-ray next year.

Rant over.

Thankfully, David Fincher is not George Lucas.  When I asked him if he’d ever go back and alter a previous movie the way Lucas has, he said:

“I’m not into it. For the Blu-ray of Fight Club, there were a couple of shots that once you went to a higher definition, higher resolution delivery system, they just seemed dirtier; they stuck out like sore thumbs. We did a little bit of noise reduction, a little bit of matte painting clean up on a couple of things, but we didn’t change the shots; the shots were what they were. They’re doing a Blu-ray of The Game and there’s a lot of stuff I’d love to fix, but a movie’s an expression of a time and a place. It’s where you are in your career, it’s where all the actors are in their careers, it’s San Francisco that fall. I just don’t believe in changing that.”

With Fincher talking about Lucas, it seemed to open the door to something fun that I really wanted to ask last year: Star Wars or Star Trek?  And what was his favorite entry in the series?  Since he worked for ILM in the early ’80s, his answer didn’t surprise me:

Star Wars. Empire. It’s the only answer. I appreciate Star Wars; it’s an amazing accomplishment, it is an A+. I think Empire’s an A++ because it’s one of those movies where it was, remember, it was my senior year of high school in the summer. When I saw that George Lucas was going to do the AT-ATs on baking soda with stop-motion and he was going to turn a pivotal character over to Frank Oz and he was going to play it as a Muppet, I thought, “This fucking guy has balls, man.” It’s unreal the risks that he will take in order to tell us his story. And the fact that it comes off so well, that it’s so deftly done, is just the ultimate to me, the cobbling together of all of these magical disciplines to make this thing that is so much greater than the sum of its parts. That’s spectacular. The cast is spectacular, everybody works well, it’s fun, it’s crazy good. Crazy good entertainment, amazing cinema.”

Yoda-Empire-Strikes-Back-imageLike Fincher and most of you, I also think The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film and Yoda in Empire is incredible.  In fact, I’d argue that Yoda in Empire is more believable than any of the prequels.  It’s a shame Lucas is so obsessed with CGI, because over 30 years ago, Frank Oz made the world believe a muppet was real and that he was a Jedi master.  All the prequels did was shatter the illusion.

Look for my full interview with Fincher very soon, and check back tonight for the group interview I got to participate in with Fincher, Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig.

Finally, if you missed Fincher revealing he’s likely to shoot the Dragon Tattoo sequels back to back, click here.  And here’s his updates on his 3D adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the biopic epic Cleopatra starring Angelina Jolie, and the Kevin Spacey-starred Netflix series House of Cards.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opens Tuesday night at theaters everywhere.

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  • Tarek

    Luca$ suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. He will end up making Star Wars the biggest Galactic Joke in the 12 systems.

  • felliniboy

    one of the things that i’d like to ask him is what he thinks of Nolan’s films since they’re kind of the two TOP guys who’s working with the studio system.

    or just ask him who he really admire among his contemporaries. Especially with PTA, Nolan(as i said before), Aronofsky(he loved Blackswan), Tarantino.

    or just his opinion of Nolan’s use of IMAX in his batman movies. before there was interview of him saying he’s done with BIG cameras since his ILM days. but i just wanna hear his opinion on IMAX in Nolan movies.

    a filmmaker talking about a filmmaker is my favorite topic.

    • tom

      you should check out this really cool featurette to the Tree of Life where Nolan and Fincher talk about Malick. that seems right up your alley and it’s pretty interesting

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  • Darren

    It’s a shame Fincher passed up the opportunity to do a Director’s Cut on Alien3. I know in his mind that the footage out there doesn’t all match what he intended, but there’s a much better version of the film that could be completed, especially in light of the Assembley Cut featured on the Quadrilogy/Anthology release.

    Speaking of which, is Alien3 an off-limits question to him? I want somebody to really grill him on it!

  • Daniel

    Sorry, Steve, I disagree completely on the Yoda tip.

    1. If you go back and rewatch Empire with an adult perspective, puppet Yoda isn’t that great. It was the right choice for 1983 but it’s hardly the most believable thing viewed nowadays.

    2. Lucas tried puppet Yoda in Phantom Menace and it was terrible. Remember? The CGI Yoda was so clearly superior to Phantom Menace Yoda that there wasn’t even a huge fanboy outcry that seems to accompany any and every change to a cherished property. People just totally understood that of the two, the CGI version was better.

  • Zumba

    What kind of site are you guys running? It’s spelled tattoo. Proofread. It’s the first part of being a legitimate reporter.

    Oh, and nobody gives a rats ass about your opinions. So don’t make them. Report the facts.

    Rant over.

  • John

    I’m with Zumba. Getting pretty tired of articles being more about the author’s opinion and not the story. Joblo.com is easily the worst offender though. Just unpleasant, snide quips passing for irreverence. I miss just being able to get entertainment news.

  • THE SAGE

    GEORGE LUCAS HAS TURNED INTO A COMPLETE DICK!

    HE WON’T RELEASE THE ORIGINAL THEATRICAL STAR WARS…

    HE KEEPS RE-DOING THE FILMS THUS MAKING THEM CRAPPIER…

    AND HE IS A COMPLETE HYPOCRITE, BECAUSE OVER 20 YEARS AGO WHEN TED TURNER WANTED TO COLORIZE MOVIES, HE SPOKE OUT COMPLETELY AGAINST IT STATING THAT THE ORIGINAL VISIONS OF THE FILMS SHOULD STAY THE WAY THEY WERE… IN BLACK AND WHITE AND UN-COLORIZED.

    WHAT A DOUCHE HE IS…

    THAT’S WHY I CHOSE NOT TO BUY THE BASTARDIZED BLU-RAYS OF STAR WARS. HE SIMPLY DOES NOT NEED OR DESERVE ANY MORE OF MY MONEY OR MY RESPECT…

    HELL, RALPH MCQUARRIE, JOE JOHNSTON, JOHN WILLIAMS AND A SLEW OF OTHER TALENTS ACTUALLY CREATED STAR WARS ANYWAY…

    ALL HE DID WAS RIP IT OFF FROM MYTHOLOGY, FLASH GORDON SERIALS, AND HIS ORIGINAL PARTNER JAMES J. PETERSON WHOM HE PURCHASED THE ORIGINAL IDEA FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE…

    THE ORIGINAL PREQUEL SCRIPTS ARE OUT THERE. I HAVE SEEN EXCERPTS FROM THEM AND THEY ARE MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT HE GAVE THE FANS.

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