Thursday, January 24, 2013

David Fincher may direct lit hit 'Gone Girl'

Wait, you haven't read Gone Girl yet? The thriller by Gillian Flynn, former TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, was this summer's huge hit, a popular choice both for beach reads and book clubs. It's a genre page-turner, but a good one. It's kind of like a Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which brought in many people who don't normally pick up thrillers or mysteries. Reese Witherspoon's production company picked up rights to the book shortly after its publication, when it was at the top of the New York Times' bestseller list. Perhaps it's no surprise that the director that brought Girl with the Dragon
to the big screen, David Fincher, is also eyeing the book as his next directing project. He's long been entangled doing an adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Disney, but it appears this complicated, big-budget project may be temporarily grinding to a halt, giving him an opportunity to jump off that ship and board a new one.

Gone Girl relies on literary sleight-of-hand in order to keep its readers guessing. It starts off being told by one narrator, the husband of a woman who has disappeared under suspicious circumstances, and then switches to her point-of-view. Movies don't have the luxury of showing a point-of-view that's completely filtered through one character's actions, which will be the biggest challenge of the adaptation. Flynn has signed on to adapt her own work. With three novels under her belt and a long history as a media critic, she certainly sounds qualified for the job.

Fincher is still attached to the sequel to Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, but that movie isn't being fast-tracked into theatres. The Swedish-language trilogy was such a success that those films appear to have cannibalized the market for the English-language version. I knew a number of fans of the book who raced to see the Swedish-language versions but were burned out on the story by the time Fincher's (great, let it be known) adaptation hit screens over Christmas last year.

There's some speculation that Witherspoon will play the lead. She hasn't taken on a role like the one in Gone Girl since the 1996 movie Fear, a teen flick about a scary relationship. I'm curious if she can manage to make her sweet persona darken when necessary. One thing's for sure--if this adaptation is shepherded by the same director who did Dragon Tattoo, Seven, and Zodiac, the movie will be just as deliciously terrifying as the book.

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