David Fincher Says He Nearly Directed the ‘Deadwood’ Pilot

     October 17, 2017


When it comes to television as we know it, right now, a lot is owed to what David Fincher did with House of Cards. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker wasn’t the first prestige name to try his hand at television, but by directing the first two episodes of the series and executive producing, Fincher helped bring Netflix’s first major original series to life in a way that ignited the streaming service’s original content model and the current trend of “binge-watching” television. When House of Cards debuted in 2013, audiences were brand new to this idea of having an entire season dropped online at once, and Fincher helped craft a series that was easily “bingeable.”

Fincher has now released his second and arguably more singular Netflix series Mindhunter, but in a new interview the director reveals he almost had a hand in another iconic TV series. Speaking with Esquire (via The Playlist), Fincher was asked if he could have been a fly on the wall in any writers room, which he would choose, and he revealed that he almost directed the pilot for Deadwood:

“I’d probably go to The Sopranos season five or six. I would like to watch David Chase work. It seems like a very complete world in somebody’s head. And then maybe Deadwood season one. At one point, I was two millimeters from saying yes to directing the pilot, and part of it was I was just so fascinated with David Milch. Milch and Chase are masterful. They both have a great ear as to how things can be presented or how you can get things out of characters. I think that’s an odd gift, and it intrigues me.”


Image via HBO

Walter Hill ended up directing the Deadwood pilot, and it’s unclear why Fincher ended up not helming that HBO series, but man oh man is it hard to get the thought of Fincher directing a David Milch Western out of my head now. At the time the Deadwood pilot was in production, Fincher was just coming off of Panic Room and was developing a number of projects that failed to move forward. He eventually moved into Zodiac, to which he dedicated a great deal of time, so perhaps scheduling issues got in the way.

Regardless, it’s interesting to hear Fincher’s answer here, and it makes a lot of sense that writers like Milch and Chase are the ones that he gravitates towards. The filmmaker is next set to helm World War Z 2 with Brad Pitt, but if you haven’t yet caught up with Mindhunter, it’s terrific and on Netflix right now.