When J.J. Abrams snagged the director’s chair for Star Wars: Episode VII, it was the most high-profile thing the filmmaker has ever done – and that’s saying a lot for a guy as prolific as Abrams. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says that Abrams was always her first choice to direct the next movie in the Star Wars saga, but Abrams initially rejected the offer. Before he came back around on the project, Kennedy (and likely some of her corporate overlords at Disney) met with a bunch of different directors to talk about potentially taking the reins, and while Gone Girl director David Fincher was rumored to be among them, he now confirms that in a new interview with Total Film.
Fincher is a notorious stickler for detail when it comes to his films – it was famously reported that he made his actors do 99 takes of the opening restaurant scene in The Social Network – and because of his singular vision, he’s not exactly a guy that you’d envision playing well with studio suits who come in and try to micromanage things. So when he met with folks about Star Wars, things ultimately didn’t work out. But his story about the process is still pretty entertaining:
I talked to Kathy [Kennedy] about it, but I think that it’s a different thing from…I don’t know what Disney-Lucasfilm will be like. It’s tricky. My favourite is The Empire Strikes Back. If I said, ‘I want to do something more like that,’ then I’m sure the people paying for it would be like, ‘No! You can’t do that! We want it like the other one with all the creatures!’
I always thought of Star Wars as the story of two slaves [C-3PO and R2-D2] who go from owner to owner, witnessing their masters’ folly, the ultimate folly of man… I thought it was an interesting idea in the first two, but it’s kind of gone by Return Of The Jedi.
Fincher was in talks for years to direct an adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Disney, but that project never came together because the two sides couldn’t see eye to eye on budget and casting issues, and Fincher has talked about how his version would have been much different than anything we’d seen before. So it’s not much of a surprise that he’d be hesitant to work with a company in which the final movie is much more of a “product” than a piece of art. This industry is built on finding the balance between those two elements, and Fincher (who worked on Return of the Jedi back in the day) clearly thought that a Disney-overseen Star Wars would be compromised creatively. I do like his reading of the films as the story of two slaves, though, and now a David Fincher-directed Star Wars: Episode VII will be one of those “what if” projects that film geeks will have to wonder about for the rest of our lives.
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