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.
Before 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.
“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.”
Like 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.