David Fincher reteaming with his Oscar-winning The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin for an ambitious, non-traditional biopic of visionary Steve Jobs almost seemed too good to be true—and now perhaps it is. We learned in February that Fincher had entered talks with Sony Pictures to direct the studio’s Steve Jobs film based on a screenplay by Sorkin, but now word comes that Fincher has dropped out of negotiations after Sony balked at the filmmaker’s request for a $10 million payday up front as well as control over the film’s marketing. Hit the jump to read on.
The folks over at THR report that Sony is now looking to replace David Fincher as the director of its Steve Jobs movie, adding that the reason for the split has to do with the studio being unwilling to grant Fincher a $10 million upfront fee as well as marketing control. While Sony and Fincher seemed to get along well on The Social Network, their relationship on Fincher’s follow-up film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was much more acrimonious. The two didn’t see eye-to-eye on a number of issues pertaining to the $90 million R-rated adaptation, but Sony allowed Fincher to maintain a considerable amount of control over the pic’s marketing including using the tagline “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” and creating expensive, metal one-sheets for the film that couldn’t be displayed in theaters.
Seeing as how The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo failed to become an international box office phenomenon like Sony had hoped, it appears that the studio is unwilling to grant Fincher the same amount of creative control over the Steve Jobs film. As a massive fan of both Fincher and Sorkin, I find this news very disappointing. Sorkin’s script consists only of three 30-minute scenes that take place before the launch of three major Apple products, and one imagines Fincher could have done wonders with such a novel structure.
THR adds that Fincher could still potentially re-enter negotiations, but it’s unclear how likely that might be. The Dragon Tattoo wounds appear to be too deep to bridge the gap between Sony and Fincher, which is unfortunate. While the finished product may not stand towards the top of Fincher’s impressive filmography, the marketing was phenomenal—that first trailer is still one of the best trailers released in years.
Fincher had wanted Christian Bale as the lead if he had signed on to direct the Steve Jobs biopic, but the actor is not attached at this time. Deep down I’m still hoping something can be worked out and Fincher might come back on the project, but it doesn’t seem likely. On the brighter side, Fincher’s next film Gone Girl opens in theaters later this fall.