Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are joined by Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit and Carrie Coon in the new trailer for David Fincher‘s mystery-thriller Gone Girl, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her bestselling novel. Affleck is Nick Dunne, a writer who reports his wife missing on their fifth anniversary only to become a subject of suspicion by the cops and in the media. This is the second trailer, and gives more of a glimpse of the ensemble cast. Cean Chaffin, Arnon Milchan, Josh Donen, Reese Witherspoon are producers on the pic. Fox has Gone Girl set for an October 3 release in the same frame that Fincher opened his Oscar-winning The Social Network in 2010:
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is in talks with American Hustle scribe Eric Warren Singer to adapt the Jason Matthews espionage book Red Sparrow for Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites to produce. They have David Fincher and Rooney Mara circling to re-team for the first time since The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film will be produced by Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Zaillian wrote that 2011 adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel.
This is early days, because Singer will have to adapt the book, but with the interest from Fincher and Mara, they have reason to move quickly. The story is set in present-day Russia, and Mara would play Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova, who struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the art of ‘sexpionage,’ Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole. The two begin a relationship that puts both of them, and a network of spies, in grave danger. Dominika winds up seeking revenge against her soulless masters, and living a fatal double life after she is recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington. This has been a hot project at the studio …
When writer-producer Beau Willimon adapted the black-as-pitch British miniseries House of Cards for a ground-breaking deal with Netflix, he introduced U.S. audiences to the anti-hero power couple Francis and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), both so bent on rising to the top of Washington power circles that their ambitions trump their morals. By the end of season two, they had reached their goal, moving into the White House. Willimon first explored political cynicism and boundless ambition with the play Farragut North, which became the 2011 film Ides of March with George Clooney. Now, heading into a third season of an award-winning blockbuster, Willimon explains how Frank Underwood is actually as optimistic a politician as they come.
DEADLINE: Early on you worked on Chuck Schumer’s campaign, and then with Hillary Clinton, Bill Bradley and Howard Dean. In your adaptations, politicians just seem like such awful people. What the heck did you see that informed such a cynical view of politics?
BEAU WILLIMON: Well, I don’t have a cynical view of politics. I don’t see Francis Underwood as being cynical at all. He doesn’t have an ideology. He’s not driven by idealism, but he is an optimist at heart. He says, “Forward progress, momentum. Do something instead of nothing.” That’s an optimistic point of view. Admittedly, both Ides of March and House of Cards are a dark take on the political process, but the subject isn’t politics, it’s power. So, there are no politicians that I worked for that, in any way, are parallel to Francis Underwood. Now, the more you become acquainted with the political world, you see people who are constantly faced with ethical choices, who wield a great deal of power, and with that power, comes a huge amount of responsibility, and you’re more often than not in that gray area instead of a black-and-white dialectic. I like to amplify the grayness. I like to really dig into those forks in the road, those moments where someone becomes a monster or plays into the darker side of power. But that’s not meant to be reflective of the entire political process.
Is your company facing an existential threat from a looming technology shift? If so, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has some suggestions, like don’t forget about the customers you already have while figuring out how to attract new ones. Speaking today at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Hastings said Netflix was too concerned with the wrong issues when it spun off its DVD-by-mail business in 2011 to focus on online movie delivery. “In hindsight, we were so focused on not dying with DVD,” he said. “We looked at all these businesses [with collapsing business models] like Kodak and Blockbuster. It was really a hard problem.”
Netflix created a new unit called Qwikster for the DVD-by-mail business, while keeping online delivery under the Netflix name. People who still wanted both physical discs and streaming options had to set up a separate account for each. “It turned out it didn’t work out at all,” Hastings said. “We mispredicted a number of factors.” Like charging more to have both accounts. “It turned out that approach really annoyed customers,” the exec said. “We learned an important lesson: The fact that your company may not be strategically positioned for the next 10 years, [customers] don’t care about that.”
So tonight there are big scoops about how David Fincher walked away from the movie Sony and Scott Rudin are developing about Apple visionary Steve Jobs, based on the Walter Isaacson book. What an unusual outcome to a story that was almost completely the result of overeager journalists. I remember when the Fincher rumor first circulated on tracking boards, and while every trade called to check, only one broke the news, claiming a deal for the director was nearly done. Then another publication splashed a story that Christian Bale was Fincher’s top choice for the role, another nugget that came from these tracking board sheets that are becoming too much a staple of what ends up being published and accepted as fact. All along, people close to the project cautioned that while they’d gone to Fincher and he liked the script, the director had not committed. Fincher is famous for falling in and out of love with projects. Insiders in the Bale camp were steadfast that while they’d heard the rumors their guy was coveted, the actor never had a single conversation with anyone. I am not sure that ever changed. So the media christened a director who didn’t have the job, and then the media cast the actor. Not surprisingly, the media has made a big deal out of Fincher dropping out of a project he never signed on to direct (the exit rumor went out on …
“I did not kill my wife!” Ben Affleck‘s hubby protagonist Nick Dunne emphatically declares in the first trailer from the high-profile big-screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s worldwide bestseller Gone Girl. And though that catchphrase might be an echo from 1993′s The Fugitive, Dunne is a guy — unlike Harrison Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble — who has the deck stacked against him when it comes to his murdered better half (Rosamund Pike). Or so it seems. One of Flynn’s inspirations for the novel stemmed from the psychology and dynamics of couples’ long-term relationships. CinemaCon attendees got an early look at the trailer last month. Fox will release the David Fincher film on the first Friday in October — in the same spot the director’s 2010 awards-season darling, The Social Network, launched. Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Missi Pyle and Patrick Fugit round out the cast. Take a look and see if you can get Richard Butler’s eerie cover of the Charles Aznavour’s song “She” out of your head:
Rumors over the last week have David Fincher circling the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic based on the Walter Isaacson book about the Apple genius at Sony. Fincher hasn’t even had a meeting on the project yet, but he certainly has a close relationship with producer Scott Rudin from The Social Network. Will it happen? Who knows? At this point he read the script and they will have a conversation, and this is as far as this has gone — no negotiations at this point. But there is a rush right now to publish tips from tracking boards that make it difficult to not be compelled to run every single rumor.
After his successful TV debut with Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher is spearheading the U.S. adaptation of another British series, this time at HBO. The pay cable network, which aggressively pursued House Of Cards when it was shopped, has teamed with Fincher for Utopia, a drama series project based on the Channel 4 series created by Dennis Kelly and produced by Kudos. Fincher is set to direct the adaptation, which will be written by Gillian Flynn, reteaming with Fincher whose upcoming feature Gone Girl is based on her novel. Both Gone Girl and Utopia are in the thriller genre. The series revolves around the die-hard fans of an iconic, underground graphic novel who are suddenly launched into their own pop-culture thriller when they learn that the author has secretly written a sequel. Unfortunately, the new manuscript is much more than just a book and those on the hunt for it suddenly find themselves in a game of shifting loyalties, conspiracy and shocking twists as the true meaning of the book is slowly revealed (watch a trailer for the original series below).
What do Kathy Griffin and Stephen Colbert have in common? They are now both Emmy and Grammy winners. Colbert, winner of four Emmys for his eponymous Comedy Central late-night program, added a second Grammy to his collection for the audio version of his book America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t. He previously won in 2010 in the comedy category where Griffin nabbed her first Grammy in her sixth nomination tonight to become only the third woman to do so. (Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin were the other two.) Griffin, who won two Emmys for her Bravo series My Life On The D-List, thanked recently arrested pop star Justin Bieber for giving her his “relax juice.”
The reigning Oscar winner for best song, Adele’s James Bond ballad “Skyfall,” and Tony winner for best musical, Kinky Boots, repeated at the Grammys as Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Musical Theater Album (Skyfall also won for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.) After missing out on the DGA Award last night for directing the pilot of Netflix’s House Of Cards, David Fincher was triumphant in the Best Music Video category for helming Justin Timberlake’s black-and-white “Suit & Tie.” And Pharrell Williams, big winner tonight with the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, was named Producer of the Year for several songs, including ”Happy,” the Oscar-nominated track from Despicable Me 2.
Buried near the end of a lengthy Michael Fassbender profile in the November issue of GQ, writer Zach Baron gets the Oscar-buzzed actor to explain why he has no plans to do the campaign circuit this season for his supporting role as the vicious slave owner in 12 Years A Slave.
“I’m going to be busy working. I just don’t really have time. (Campaigning is) just not going to happen, because I’ll be in New Zealand. I’ll be on the other side of the world. You know, I get it. Everybody’s got to do their job. So you try and help and facilitate as best you can. But I won’t put myself through that kind of situation again. It’s just a grind. And I’m not a politician. I’m an actor,” Fassbender said of the whole Oscar process, which seems to grow every year and includes numerous Q&As, luncheons, meet-and-greets, private screenings, film festival tributes, presenting at endless awards shows, well-timed talk show appearances, etc etc. Many artists who suddenly find themselves the object of an all-out Oscar campaign find this part of the job even more grueling than making the actual film. And by the time the Oscars roll around they are spent.
Campaign or no campaign, in Fassbender’s case it may not matter. He’s very likely going to get nominated — and could win — for Best Supporting Actor and I think that’s a scenario whether he lifts a finger or not in doing the usual rounds. The film and the role are so strong it’s hard to imagine the actors branch ignoring him. Now after the nominations it could change, especially in a tight, competitive race where every vote counts.
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox, New Regency and director David Fincher are firming up Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn novel that will star Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and shoots this fall. Fincher has set Tyler Perry to play Tanner Bolt, the attorney who reps Affleck’s character after his wife disappears, and Neil Patrick Harris is near a deal to play Desi Collings, the wife’s former boyfriend. At the same time, Fincher has set Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit and Carrie Coon to round out the cast. Fincher is producing the pic with Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.
Perry’s deal is now closed. Fincher saw him playing the title role in Alex Cross and courted him for the lawyer role. WME and Ziffren repped Perry, who is busy generating his shows for the OWN network and will next be seen onscreen in A Made Christmas, another in his line of Madea films. Harris is starting to ramp up his post-How I Met Your Mother career and also is hosting the Primetime Emmys later this month. He is repped by CAA.
David Fincher’s next movie already has Ben Affleck in negotiations to star and now Rosamund Pike has been offered the female lead and is in talks for the Fox pic. Gone Girl is based on the Gillian Flynn bestseller about a husband whose wife disappears on the day of their fifth anniversary — and all roads point to him as the killer.
Ben Affleck To Star In David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ For Fox/New Regency Before Directing Warner Bros’ ‘Live By Night’
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Affleck is in negotiations to play the lead role in David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, a development that will seal the Fox project pic as Fincher’s next film to direct. In the pic, based on the Gillian Flynn bestseller, Affleck will play a husband whose wife disappears on the day of their fifth anniversary, and all roads point to him as the killer. Fox made a 7-figure deal for the novel last July for Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, along with Leslie Dixon, to produce. Flynn wrote the first draft of the screenplay and is currently rewriting with Fincher. There is no female lead yet as it looks like Witherspoon is only producing. Fox recently brought on New Regency as a financing partner. Affleck’s casting is interesting because it means Warner Bros is allowing him to push back his next directing and starring project, the adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night, which he continues to prep. Shooting on Gone Girl is set to shoot this fall, and the thinking is Affleck will be able to finish up and still get Live By Night done for the end of 2014. I’m hearing that Affleck reached out to Warner Bros’ brass over the Fourth of July holiday, and the studio behind his Oscar-winner Argo made a fast …
Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.
Although Oberlin and Tisch-grad Corey Stoll received accolades for his 2004 stage performance opposite Viola Davis in Intimate Apparel and was a series regular on Law And Order: LA, his breakout came in 2011 playing Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris. But it’s his role as Peter Russo in David Fincher’s lauded House Of Cards that is now generating Emmy buzz. Stoll plays a well-meaning U.S. Representative from Philadelphia, whose dalliances with debauchery land him beholden to the Machiavellian congressman from South Carolina played by Kevin Spacey.
AwardsLine: Peter Russo is such a richly nuanced character. How did this role come to you?
Stoll: It happened before all the pilot season craziness. I read the script and fell in love instantly. I put [my audition] on tape, but then didn’t hear anything for months. When they did come back to me, it was to meet with David Fincher. The irony is that when I first auditioned, I thought it was a part that could go on for years. It’s a high bar when you’re looking at a pilot, and you want a character that you could play for a while, a character where you can see all the iterations. It was in this initial meeting when David gave me the basic character arc, and there was part of me that was holding some sort of hope they would change their mind [about the character’s demise]. But then I began to see it as more like doing a film role, and I could really dig in in that way.
AwardsLine: I had an overall eye-opening experience when I interned on Capitol Hill. Was there anything about politics and D.C. that you were surprised to learn?
Stoll: I was shocked at how young the city is! Interns and young staffers are the people who make the city function. I’m not the first person to point out the parallels between Hollywood and D.C.—the intersection of image-making, power and money. I saw that the reason some people originally went into politics and where they wind up can get mixed up very easily. The game can be so intoxicating.
EXCLUSIVE: Deadline scooped the news today that Safety Not Guaranteed helmer Colin Trevorrow landed the plum gig of Jurassic Park 4, a move which could catapult him to the director A-list. There is a lot of movement going on among directors that will reverberate depending on who takes what job.
First up, Steven Spielberg has ended his long flirtation with directing Gods And Kings, the epic-sized Warner Bros film about life of Moses based on the script by Michael Green and Stuart Hazeldine. That puts Warner Bros in a bind because of the rival Moses project, the Adam Cooper/Bill Collage-scripted Exodus, which is gathering steam at Fox, with Ridley Scott looking to mobilize that as soon as he completes The Counselor. But Warner Bros is now out to Ang Lee, who just won the Best Director Oscar for Life Of Pi. I’m told he’s intrigued with the project but hasn’t had a formal meeting on the script. Imagine what either director can do with that subject matter, and with the ratings on History Channel’s The Bible miniseries, the audience is certainly there. Spielberg hasn’t dropped the project for another; while he postponed his next film Robopocalypse, he hasn’t replaced it with anything as he continues to develop that robot pic. Spielberg also recently told French TV he’s developing a Napoleon miniseries for TV based on Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay and research. for
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Arts Minister Simon Crean has told Disney executives he hopes to finalize a $12.2 million payment to persuade the studio to shoot David Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Down Under. At a meeting in Canberra today Crean told Tony To, Disney Exec VP Production, he aimed to make an offer within two weeks after he secures the support of the Queensland and NSW Governments. Disney has said the film is ready to go into pre-production once the incentive is firm. Crean’s spokesman tells Deadline the government is looking at a one-off payment that would bring the 16.5% location offset to 30%, as it did to secure The Wolverine to Sydney. Disney would utilize the Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast and locations in Sydney. Locations marketing agency Ausfilm has been lobbying the government to hike the rebate to 30% permanently to offset the strong Oz dollar versus the greenback and to be competitive with other destinations. Apart from The Wolverine and The Great Gatsby (technically an Australian production), big budget Hollywood fare has bypassed Australia in the past couple of years.
EXCLUSIVE: David Fincher is eyeing coming aboard Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn novel that was just published by Crown and has been a bestselling phenomenon that was acquired in a 7-figure deal by 20th Century Fox to be produced by Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea, along with Leslie Dixon. Flynn wrote the first draft of the screenplay. The plot: a woman disappears on the day of her fifth anniversary and all roads point to her husband as the killer. Flynn, who has three novels on the bestseller lists all at once, has two other movie projects in the works. Dark Places has Amy Adams attached to star, with Gilled Paquet-Brenner directing and her first novel, Sharp Objects, was optioned by Alliance with Blumhouse’s Jason Blum producing.
Fincher, who has been working on Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo and has been rumored heavily to helm one of these Star Wars movies at that studio, has handled female-themed Panic Room with Jodie Foster. He’s repped by Josh Donen and attorney Craig Jacobson. He’s also still in the loop for continuing the Stieg Larsson series that began with Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which also had a great female protagonist.
Netflix just released first trailer for its first original series, the big-budget David Fincher-Kevin Spacey political drama House Of Cards. Based on the British miniseries, the MRC-produced House Of Cards centers on ruthless and cunning Rep. Francis Underwood (Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright), who stop at nothing to conquer everything. Kate Mara and Corey Stoll co-star. While Netflix has distributed acquired original series like Lillehammer, House Of Cards is the first show commissioned by the streaming giant when it last year outbid a host of cable networks for the property with a two-season, 26-episode order in a deal worth $100 million. The series premieres February 1, with all episodes from the first season available for streaming simultaneously.
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo so far have been only moderately useful for most independent filmmakers trying to finance their next movie, but that could change significantly under the federal JOBS Act passed earlier this year, said members of a panel at the Digital Hollywood conference, which wraps today in Marina del Rey.
Under previous rules, crowdsourcing sites couldn’t offer equity stakes to contributors. Instead they receive modest tokens of appreciation such as T-shirts or tickets to screenings — in other words, they get nothing more than the satisfaction of helping a movie get started. The new law will allow intermediaries such as crowdsourcing sites to sell members modest equity stakes in films, up to $10,000 or 10% of each user’s income. The project must set a fundraising goal and if it doesn’t raise at least 60% of that, no money would change hands. “There are many more opportunities to come and we’re just seeing the start of this,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, which has raised $3 million on behalf of 85 films through Kickstarter. The SEC is currently establishing regulations under the new law.