David Fincher Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (23)  | Trivia (40)  | Personal Quotes (38)

Overview (4)

Born in Denver, Colorado, USA
Birth NameDavid Andrew Leo Fincher
Nicknames Finch
Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m)

Mini Bio (1)

David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials and music videos after signing with N. Lee Lacy in Hollywood. He went on to found Propaganda in 1987 with fellow directors Dominic Sena, Greg Gold and Nigel Dick. Fincher has directed TV commercials for clients that include Nike, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Heineken, Pepsi, Levi's, Converse, AT&T and Chanel. He has directed music videos for Madonna, Sting, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, George Michael, Iggy Pop, The Wallflowers, Billy Idol, Steve Winwood, The Motels and, most recently, A Perfect Circle.

As a film director, he has achieved huge success with Se7en (1995), Fight Club (1999) and, Panic Room (2002).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Family (3)

Spouse Donya Fiorentino (1990 - 1995)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Children Fincher, Phelix Imogen
Parents Fincher, Jack
Fincher (Boettcher), Claire Mae

Trade Mark (23)

[single frame insert] His movies often features several single frames that flash on the screen in the middle of a scene (Fight Club (1999)).
Fluid tracking camera which can access anywhere. A digital age innovation in camera movement pioneered by David Fincher and Kevin Tod Haug along with BUF Paris (perhaps inspired by earlier developments of Max Ophüls and Stanley Kubrick).
[Silhouettes] Frequently has characters in the shadows where you cannot make out their face (Kevin Spacey in Se7en (1995), The Killer in Zodiac (2007), and Brad Pitt in Fight Club (1999)).
His films often end in a suicide, either attempted or successful
His films often have low-key lighting with green or blue tinted color temperature.
Wide shots
Downbeat endings
Often displays end credits as slide shows (Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) or scrolling downward (Se7en) rather than the traditional upward scroll.
Low angles
Backstories filled with flashbacks
References to the band 311 (poster in Fight Club, cop car radio call in Zodiac)
Stationary shot, unfocused background with character walking into focus
Posters almost always feature close-ups of characters' faces
Frequently collaborates with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for musical scores
His films often center on people with poor social skills and few friends: The Narrator in Fight Club (1999), Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010) , Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Amy Dunne in Gone Girl (2014).
Films about finding a serial killer (Seven (1995), Zodiac (2007), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011))
Frequently starts his movies with creative title sequences that express the theme of the movie
Almost all of his camera compositions are static or highly controlled camera movement and he rarely uses a handheld camera. Interestingly his films often include a single handheld scene, or in The Social Network (2010) and Gone Girl (2014) exactly one handheld shot.
Production design is usually either stark and modern, or dark and heavily decaying.
Shot looking inside a character's refrigerator
Digitally-added anamorphic lens flares
His movies often end with villains either 'winning' or not receiving proper punishment. E.g. Se7en (1995), Fight Club (1999), Zodiac (2007) and Gone Girl (2014).
Known for his perfectionist tendencies, often shooting scenes dozens or even hundreds of times to get it exactly right

Trivia (40)

Lived for several years in Ashland, Oregon and graduated from Ashland High School.
His video for Madonna's "Express Yourself" voted #1 in Slant Magazines Top 100 Videos. 2 of his other Madonna videos also made the list. "Vogue" at #4 & "Oh, Father" at #11. (19th January 2003)
Has been close friends with Brad Pitt ever since working together on Se7en (1995).
Was originally set to direct The Black Dahlia (2006), but dropped out.
Was originally set to direct Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991), but dropped out.
Was originally set to direct Mission: Impossible III (2006), but dropped out.
Was originally considered to direct Spider-Man (2002).
Was originally considered to direct Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).
Turned down the offer to direct Catch Me If You Can (2002), opting to do Panic Room (2002) instead.
Turned down the offer to direct Batman Begins (2005).
Turned down the offer to direct 8MM (1999), opting to do Fight Club (1999) instead.
A founder member of Propaganda Films in 1986.
Daughter, Phelix Imogen Fincher (b. 25 April 1994), with Donya Fiorentino.
While growing up in Marin County, one of his neighbors was George Lucas. He later worked on the special effects crew of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), produced and written by Lucas.
He works frequently with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker.
It was the 1969 feature film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) that inspired him to pursue a career in cinema.
In 2005, he directed the video for Nine Inch Nails' "Only". Ten years earlier, he used Coil's version of the Nine Inch Nails' song "Closer" during the opening credits montage of his film Se7en (1995).
Met his partner, Ceán Chaffin, in the early '90s when she produced a Japanese Coca-Cola ad he was directing.
Was originally considered to direct Hannibal (2001).
Good friends with Madonna.
At the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, three out of four nominees for Best Direction in a Video - "The End of the Innocence" by Don Henley, "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith, and "Vogue" by Madonna - were directed by him ("Vogue" won.).
Directed 7 actors in Oscar nominated performances: Brad Pitt, Taraji P. Henson, Jesse Eisenberg, Rooney Mara,Rosamund Pike, Gary Oldman, and Amanda Seyfried.
Currently filming Zodiac (2007) in San Francisco. [September 2005]
He is a big fan of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula.
Developed two TV projects for HBO, supposed to air on 2016, which both weren't finalized: Utopia featuring a plot heavily steeped in underground, cyber-punk themes, adapted by Gillian Flynn and starring Rooney Mara, Colm Feore, Eric McCormack, Dallas Roberts, Jason Ritter, Brandon Scott, and Agyness Deyn was canceled by HBO over budget constraints. Fincher reportedly asked for $100 million to make the first season. "Videosyncrasy" (2016), about an aspiring filmmaker, who arrives in Hollywood during the early 1980s and lands a job working on music videos, was put on a hold mid-way during the shooting of the first season, because HBO wasn't satisfied with the direction of the show. At first, the show was supposed to be retooled with additional script work, but production was eventually shut down for good.
Was considered to direct The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
He won his first Grammy Award on March 1, 1995 (for The Rolling Stones' "Love is Strong." He won the same award nearly 20 years later on January 26, 2014 (for Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie"). His 2014 win marks the longest time period between two wins.
Jake Gyllenhaal publicly expressed the difficulty of David Fincher's working style, mentioning the challenge of doing numerous takes only to have Fincher order the deletion of many of the previous takes.
David Fincher's involvement with cinematographers Harris Savides (Zodiac) and Jeff Cronenweth (Fight Club, The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl) predates Fincher's work as a feature-film director. Both cinematographers had worked for Fincher early in his music video directing career.
He is the second director (following Steve Barron) to receive a MTV Video Music Award nomination for three different music videos within a single year. He first achieved this in 1989 (for Jody Watley's "Real Love," Steve Winwood's Roll with It" & Madonna's "Express Yourself"). After tying this record, he repeated the feat in 1990 with nominations for Madonna's "Vogue," Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence," and Aerosmith's "Janie's Got a Gun." He is the only director to achieve this twice, and along with Steve Barron, the only director to achieve it.
He is one of the first music video directors to have become a major Hollywood feature-filmmaker. In later years, several directors followed in his footsteps including Zack Snyder, Spike Jonze, Alex Proyas, Marc Webb, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, F. Gary Gray, Francis Lawrence as well as several directors who worked with Fincher's music video production company Propaganda Films.
Since directing Zodiac, he has become a major proponent of digital cinematography. He has used digital cameras to shoot all of his films since 2007. In the documentary Side by Side, he expressed his affinity for the greater control and fluidity of the film-making process it grants him.
Like one of his main influences Stanley Kubrick, he demands a high number of takes for each scene in attempt to familiarize the cast with the film sets and dialogue as well as deconstructing their carefully constructed performances in favor of a more genuine performance.
Fincher has stated that the shock twist ending in the script for Se7en (1995) was not intended for him to read, and was sent by accident. He insisted on the twist ending, but the studio preferred a happier ending. The support of Brad Pitt led the studio to relent. Fincher also stated Pitt was instrumental in securing Kevin Spacey's involvement in the film.
With eight nominations, he has received more nominations for the MTV Video Music Award than any other director in history. 7 of the 8 nominations occurred in a 3 year span (1989 to 1991). He also sets the record of nominations in three consecutive years.
He has worked with father and son cinematographers Jordan Cronenweth and Jeff Cronenweth. Jordan was the initial cinematographer on Alien³ (1992) before being replaced by Alex Thomson after two weeks due to Parkinson's Disease. Jeff has been a frequent collaborator since Fight Club (1999).
He has directed two actors who have played Bruce Banner. Edward Norton in Fight Club (1999) and Mark Ruffalo in Zodiac (2007).
His filmmaking influences include Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, George Roy Hill and Alan J Pakula.
Some of his favorite movies include Chinatown (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), The Godfather Part 2 (1974), Being There (1979), All That Jazz (1979), Zelig (1983), Paper Moon (1973), All the President's Men (1976), Days of Heaven (1978), Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1982), The Terminator (1981), The Exorcist (1973), The Graduate (1967), and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

Personal Quotes (38)

I don't know how much movies should entertain. To me, I'm always interested in movies that scar. The thing I love about Jaws (1975) is the fact that I've never gone swimming in the ocean again.
I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but somebody has to.
Directing ain't about drawing a neat little picture and showing it to the cameraman. I didn't want to go to film school. I didn't know what the point was. The fact is, you don't know what directing is until the sun is setting and you've got to get five shots and you're only going to get two.
People will say, "There are a million ways to shoot a scene", but I don't think so. I think there're two, maybe. And the other one is wrong.
As a director, film is about how you dole out the information so that the audience stays with you when they're supposed to stay with you, behind you when they're supposed to stay behind you, and ahead of you when they're supposed to stay ahead of you.
[about the personality traits that helps in being a director] Belligerence certainly helps. And there's a requisite paranoia. There's fear--fear of failure--and an overwhelming urge to be liked.
I went to a place called the Berkeley Film Institute for a summer program with a grade-school friend of mine, and we just thought it was a joke. It was very impressionist, very Berkeley. There were all these people who were there to communicate and change the world, to do all these lofty things--and then they made these really shitty, stupid little movies. And we were kind of like, "I'm not here for this, I'm just here to pull cable." We were the youngest people there and we ended up being the grips and electrics on everybody else's movies, and it was pretty good those six or seven weeks, we got to shoot Panaflex cameras and make a married print--it was in black and white and you made these little cheeseball movies, but at least you were making "something." It was kind of like film school in that way, but those who can't do, teach, and those who couldn't teach, taught there. They tried, they just didn't want to get dirty with it, they didn't want to get in up to their necks. It was all very patrician.
I'm totally anti-commercialism. I would never do commercials where people hold the product by their head and tell you how great it is, I just wouldn't do that stuff. It's all inference . . . The Levis commercials I did weren't really about jeans, the Nike commercials weren't about shoes. The "Instant Karma" spot was some of the better stuff I got offered, and it was never about people going, "Buy this shoe, this shoe will change everything," because I think that's nonsense. Anybody looking outside themselves to make themselves whole is delusional and probably sick.
I do agree you can't just make movies three hours long for no apparent reason. For a romantic comedy to be three hours long, that's longer than most marriages.
I don't know anything about Academy consideration. I don't know what an awards movie is.
I have a philosophy about the two extremes of filmmaking. The first is the "Kubrick way," where you're at the end of an alley in which four guys are kicking the shit out of a wino. Hopefully, the audience members will know that such a scenario is morally wrong, even though it's not presented as if the viewer is the one being beaten up; it's more as if you're witnessing an event. Inversely, there's the "Spielberg way," where you're dropped into the middle of the action and you're going to live the experience vicariously - not only through what's happening, but through the emotional flow of what people are saying. It's a much more involved style. I find myself attracted to both styles at different times, but mostly I'm interested in just presenting something and letting people decide for themselves what they want to look at.
[on Alien³ (1992)] There were a lot of enormously talented people working on that movie. It's just a movie starts from a unified concept, and once you've unified the concept it becomes very easy to see the things you're not going to spend money on. And if a movie is constantly in flux because you're having to please this vice-president or that vice-president of production .. . I think a movie set's a fascist dictatorship--you have to go in and know what it is you want to do because you have to tell 90 people what it is you want to do and it has to be convincing. Otherwise, when they start to question it, the horse can easily run away with you and it's bigger than you are. So that was a movie where the time was not taken upfront to say, "This is what we're doing, and all of this is what we're not doing." So as we were shooting, a lot of people--I suppose in an effort to make it "better" or "more commercial" or more like the other ones they liked as opposed to the one that you liked--took to being extremely helpful, so that this could be more James Cameron than James Cameron. And of course you're sitting there going, "Guys, remember I don't have any guns. I don't have any tripod guns or flamethrowers or any of that shit!" If a movie gets off on a wrong foot, when you've never done it before you assume everyone is going to be there to help you right the ship, but really you're beholden to a lot of banana republics. I worked on it for two years, got fired off it three times and I had to fight for every single thing. No one hated Alien 3 more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me. It was a baptism by fire. I was very naive. For a number of years, I'd been around the kind of people who financed movies and the kind of people who are there to make the deals for movies. But I'd always had this naive idea that everybody wants to make movies as good as they can be, which is stupid. I thought, "Well, surely you don't want to have the Twentieth Century-Fox logo over a shitty movie." And they were like, "Well, as long as it opens." They didn't care.
[on losing his father, Jack Fincher] I remember the experience of being there when he breathed his last breath. It was incredibly profound. When you lose someone who helped form you in lots of ways, who is your 'true north', you lose the barometer of your life. You're no longer trying to please someone, or you're no longer reacting against something. In many ways, you're truly alone.
I don't think of myself as difficult. We're expected to do stuff that's awesome. That means we're going to have to push each other.
Panic Room (2002) is a movie as opposed to a film. A movie is made for an audience and a film is made for both the audience and the film-makers. I think that The Game (1997) is a movie and I think Fight Club (1999)'s a film. I think that Fight Club is more than the sum of its parts, whereas Panic Room IS the sum of its parts. I didn't look at Panic Room and think, "Wow, this is gonna set the world on fire". These are footnote movies, guilty pleasure movies. Thrillers. Woman-trapped-in-a-house movies. They're not particularly important.
[on Fight Club (1999)] We opened at the Venice film festival, and I think to say they hated it would be an understatement. Let's put it this way: the youngest person in the screening was Giorgio Armani. They called for our hides and we split town. We thought it was funny. Actually, Helena Bonham Carter's mother was three seats down from me and she was just laughing and laughing - she was the only one. She's cool. I'm always surprised at how seriously people take movies. It always surprises me what people get their bowels in an uproar about. It's a movie. It was interesting to me, the critics who felt they had a moral obligation to 'the broader audience' to warn them. But it didn't surprise me that some people didn't think it was funny. It didn't surprise me that some people thought it was morbid. It surprised me, the people who went out of their way to save other people from this experience. I thought that was kind of silly. It's a cult movie - it's just that it's a big cult. Here's a tricky thing: if you spend $15m, it's not even a pimple on the ass of that kind of multinational media conglomerate. But if you spend $67m, they gotta release your movie. That's a big number, they can't write it down. I happen to know that the movie's in the black, but there's receipts and there's worth. They are two different things. Because there are movies that make money and there are movies that are worth money, and sometimes the movies that are worth money make money later on. I honestly believe Fight Club is a title 20th Century Fox knows is going to make money for them in perpetuity.
I am a contrarian by nature, so all it does is make me want to take real risks. I am like, 'If we are not out on the ledge juggling chain saws, then we are doing ourselves a huge disservice.'
My idea of professionalism is probably a lot of people's idea of obsessive.
Part of my testiness is that I feel I make fifty compromises a day. When people come to me to say 'Why can't you compromise?' I'm like: 'What are you talking about? The fact that we're having this conversation means that we've compromised'.
People always ask why I don't make independent movies. I do make independent movies - I just make them at Sony and Paramount.
[on getting at least 60% of what you want on a film set] . . . I think that's probably on a good day. I would say probably, on a given film, Fight Club (1999) is probably closest to what we wanted to do. It's about 75% of what we wanted. I think Panic Room (2002), even though it was storyboarded within an inch of its life, was probably 60%. The Social Network (2010), I wasn't transposing what I had in my head on it, because I was really following the text, and following these kids, so that movie was, y'know, about 70-75% of what I thought it was going to be. This movie is probably about that. I think you're doing pretty good if you can get 70% of what you want.
Everything seems really simple on paper until you take a camera out of the box. Then ninety people are offering up solutions to the problems those pages create. You're trying to make something very clear in this maelstrom of activity, with all this anxiety about how much money is being spent. I don't think you can ever make it the way you have it in your head.
[on the prevalence of violence in modern society] I think civilization is an agreement, and once in a while you're going to run into people who didn't get the memo.
[on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)] I think this movie is more about sexual politics. Mikael Blomkvist moves freely among women and doesn't have any problems with them, but his relationships aren't always mature. I think you can say that about a lot of male-female relationships. The men are not really present.
You're supposed to have an idea of what it is you're trying to do, right? Aren't you being overpaid to have that? My job is to know what the fuck I want.
[on "the roadblocks that prevented him from making" 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea] You get over $200 million - all motion picture companies have corporate culture and corporate anxieties. Once we got past the list of people we could cast as the different characters in the film, once we got past one or two names which made them very comfortable, making a movie at that price, it became this bizarre endeavor to find which three names you could rub together to make platinum. I wanted Aronnax to be French, God forbid! It got to be a little too confusing to me. I had this argument with a studio executive one time where he said to me, 'why is it that the actors always side with you and we're paying them?' And I said, 'I think it's because at some level, they know that my only real allegiance is to the movie.' And because that's very clear and it never wavers, they may not agree with the image of the movie I have in my head, but they know that's what I'm after. They've seen me for 100 days take the long way around. I think that when you're trying to put together a handful of people to deliver all those facets of humanity and who work well together, it has to be in service of the narrative and not in service of the balance sheet. It became very hard to appease the anxieties of Disney's corporate culture with the list of names that allowed everyone to sleep at night. I just wanted to make sure I had the skill-sets I could turn the movie over to. Not worrying about whether they're big in Japan.
[on what he gets from doing many takes] Part of the promise when I work with actors is that we may be on take 11 and I'll say, "We certainly have a version that we can put in the movie that will make us all happy. But I want to do seven more and continue to push this idea. Let's see where it goes." Now, I may go back to them after those seven takes and say, "It was a complete fucking waste of effort, but I had to try because I feel there's something to be mined from this." That's a lot of extra work for an actor, and sometimes it pushes them out of their comfort zone. In some cases they're not getting paid as much as they would on another movie. I go out on a limb, and people work harder for me than they do for other people. But I want them to be happy with the fact that we were able to do something singular, something unlike anything else in their or my filmography.
I think Gillian Flynn's book is talking about marriage and hiding it in an absurdist confection. When you peel back the layers and get to the kernel, you think, Wow, I feel queasy for a whole different set of reasons than I thought I would. Remember the 1970s 'National Lampoon' record "That's Not Funny, That's Sick" ? That was what I wanted to go for in terms of performance and tone. That and Lolita (1962), because both are unbelievably funny and unbelievably naughty. They're about disturbing ideas and very disturbed people and their facades of normalcy. There are moments when you find yourself torn by what the characters in Gone Girl (2014) have done in service of their urges. They're kind of irredeemable and yet intensely human.
[on the 2001 case of German cannibal Armin Meiwes] I heard about a German man who put an ad on an internet site saying he wanted to devour somebody. Someone [Bernd Brandes] actually answered the ad. The guy videotaped himself anesthetizing the willing victim, segmenting his body and consuming him. Before the victim died, they ate his genitals together. I don't know if it was some bizarre psychosexual fulfillment, but it's one of the most disturbing things I've ever heard. When you can't count on somebody to even fight for his life, when he goes willingly-well, it's so out of left field, it's not even on my radar. Even though that was the most troubling thing I'd heard in a long time, the things that interest me in cinema kind of work the same way. I like starting with an idea that unlocks a whole Pandora's box of other ideas.
You cast movies based on critical scenes. In Gone Girl (2014) there's a smile the guy has to give when the local press asks him to stand next to a poster of his missing wife. I flipped through 'Google Images' and found about 50 shots of Ben Affleck giving that kind of smile in public situations. You look at them and know he's trying to make people comfortable in the moment, but by doing that he's making himself vulnerable to people having other perceptions about him.(...)In Ben's case, what many people don't know is that he's crazy smart, but since he doesn't want that to get awkward, he downplays it. I'm sure when he was a 23-year-old and all this career-success shit was happening for him, he was like, "I just want to go to the after-party and meet J. Lo." I'm sure he said a lot of glib shit and people went, "Ugh, fake." If you have a lot of success when you're young and good-looking, you realize it's okay to let people write you off. It's the path of least resistance. You don't want to be snowbound with them anyway. I think he learned how to skate on charm. I needed somebody who not only knew how to do that but also understood the riptide of perceived reality as opposed to actual reality.
[on his preference for unconventional characters] I don't know what 'likable' is. I know people who are doting parents, who give to charity, drive Priuses, all those things, who are insufferable assholes... I like people who get shit done.
I always thought of Star Wars (1977) 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 Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
[on Gone Girl (2014)] Most interesting to me was the idea of our collective narcissism as it relates to coupling, or who we show to our would-be mates and who they show to us.
[observation, 2014] Right now, people are discovering television because it's where all the most interesting characters have gone.
[on the character of Amy Dunne in Gone Girl (2014)] In my head I saw her as Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. I had these images of before and after - of Carolyn as an 18-year-old and as a 20-year-old, the notion of someone self-made. She crafted herself, she re-invented herself, and invented that persona. That's where I began.
You know I don't try to piss people off, right? It's just always been the right thing to do.
[on Mindhunter (2017)] I said the show is about narcissism. The show is about needing to be seen. [2019]
[on working for Netflix] I'm here to deliver them 'content' - whatever it means- likely to bring them spectators, in my small sphere of influence. [2020]

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