Ben Affleck postponed directing Live By Night (2016) in order to work on this film with David Fincher, even stating, "He's the only director I've met who can do everybody else's job better than they could." On-set one day, Affleck changed the lens setting on a camera an almost indiscernible amount, betting a crew member that Fincher wouldn't notice. Affleck lost the bet as Fincher brought up, "Why does the camera look a little dim?"
David Fincher explained that one of the reasons he cast thirty-five-year-old Rosamund Pike as Amy, was that she was of unclear age in her appearance, and could pass for an older or younger woman. Rosamund's revelation that she was an only child also proved to be a very appealing aspect for Amy's character in Fincher's opinion.
Reese Witherspoon obtained the film rights from Gillian Flynn in June 2012, and decided to produce under her new production label "Pacific Standard" as she would to be able to play the role of Amy. However, after her initial meeting with David Fincher on his vision of the film, Witherspoon withdrew from contention, realizing that she wasn't the right person to play the female lead.
When it comes to casting roles, David Fincher typically goes on the internet to look through pictures of actors to help him find the right type of actor for a role. When casting the role of Nick Dunne, Fincher spotted photos of Ben Affleck and noticed a particular smile Affleck had on dozens of pictures. According to Fincher, it captured a particular emotion in a scene of Nick Dunne smiling that showed the essence of the character. Soon afterward, Fincher cast Ben Affleck in the role.
Ben Affleck would constantly sing '80s songs in between takes. Impressed, Tyler Perry decided to start a game that ended up lasting the entire duration of filming. Perry would start to sing the most random song he could think of to see if Affleck would start singing along. According to Perry, Affleck knew all of the words to every single song Perry threw at him, including Broadway showtunes and songs by Barbra Streisand.
David Fincher's musical brief to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross was based upon a visit he paid to a spa wherein the music meant to relax him he perceived as creepy and made him feel uncomfortable. This gave him the idea to set the music as though it is passive and relaxing, but actually instills a sense of dread.
This was the first time Ben Affleck had done full frontal nudity on-screen. Affleck said he agreed to do it because David Fincher told him that he wanted it to be like a European movie, "warts and all", that there could be no vanity from the cast members, as he wanted to portray the characters just as in real-life.
Production of the film had to be shut down for four days, due to Ben Affleck's refusal to follow David Fincher's vision, and wear a New York Yankees cap for a scene where Affleck's character, Nick, is at an airport. The Bostonian actor said to Fincher, "David, I love you, I would do anything for you. But I will not wear a Yankees hat." Eventually, the two settled for Ben's character to wear a Mets cap. Fincher jokingly describes Affleck's actions of this as "entirely unprofessional" in the DVD's audio commentary.
Ben Affleck was concerned about the nine year age difference between him and Carrie Coon, considering that their characters are supposed to be twins, and opted that he should play Nick as being thirty years old.
Rosamund Pike told film critic Peter Travers that, whenever David Fincher would catch her on-set about to use her cell phone, he'd take a "stern face" selfie and send it to her causing her to instantly pocket her phone.
During an August 2014 interview with New York Magazine, Tyler Perry said that he didn't know anything about the movie's source novel, or David Fincher, and that he wouldn't have accepted his role in the movie if he had: "I probably would have walked away from it. If I had known who David Fincher was, and his body of work, or if I'd known the book was so popular, and so many people loved it, I would have said, 'No', and my agent knew that! He didn't tell me until after I signed on, and the reason I wouldn't have done it, is because when things are that magical for people, and they become very special for people, there's a lot of pressure for it to be what they want it to be."
David Fincher cast Emily Ratajkowski on recommendation by Ben Affleck. Fincher admitted that he had no idea who she was until Affleck told him to watch for her appearance in the infamous Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines music video. Fincher was impressed by her work ethic during filming because according to her: "I was ready to be a student, and he is the best teacher. He wants to do a hundred takes, and I want to do them for him."
Most of the doors and windows in daytime interior scenes were fitted with green screens and had the backgrounds added in later, due to inabilities to expose for interiors without the outdoors blowing out.
When Nick and Amy have sex in the library, they talk about Jane Austen's book "Pride & Prejudice". Rosamund Pike, who plays Amy, was one of the leads in Pride & Prejudice (2005), playing the part of Jane Bennet.
Regarding the casting of the title character, David Fincher said he wanted an actress with a Faye Dunaway type of persona. The director told Playboy magazine, "I wanted Faye Dunaway in Chinatown, where you think, 'This person has experienced avenues of pain that no one can articulate'. Or Faye in Network, where it's, 'You're never going to get to the bottom of this, so just stop'. It's crazy how much Rosamund reminds me of Faye."
Nick Dunne is always complaining that his cell phone has no signal. One of the close-ups of his cell phone show that the wireless carrier is T-Mobile, which coincidentally, at the time, had questionable indoor signal strength, due to the lack of lower operating spectrum.
Jon Hamm was seriously considered for Nick Dunne, but his schedule on Mad Men (2007) didn't allow this. Coincidentally, Ben Affleck previously directed Hamm in The Town (2010), and Hamm was a top contender for the role of Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), which went to Affleck.
Although the film is based in North Carthage, Missouri, Gone Girl was filmed in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Casting of extras had taken place in the Rose Theatre of Southeast Missouri State University, also located in Cape Girardeau.
An earlier version of the screenplay was one hundred seventy-seven pages long. If that version of the screenplay had been the one used to shoot the film, it would have been two hours and fifty-seven minutes long.
After Amy has disappeared, Nick and the detective go to his office to follow up on his wife's first "clue". Inside his office, on the bookshelf, there are some books, two of which are Michael Chabon's "Manhood For Amateurs", non-fiction essays about being a husband, and the mistakes and surprises of being a father, and Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom", an American novel concerned with the themes of marriage.
Gillian Flynn the author of Gone Girl has been accused of being misogynistic since the villains of three novels Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Dark Places have all been female. This is particularly true with the psychopathic Amy Dunne; the villain who fuels the jeopardy in Gone Girl: '"To me, that puts a very, very small window on what feminism is," she responds. "Is it really only girl power, and you-go-girl, and empower yourself, and be the best you can be? For me, it's also the ability to have women who are bad characters ... the one thing that really frustrates me is this idea that women are innately good, innately nurturing. In literature, they can be dismissably bad - trampy, vampy, bitchy types - but there's still a big pushback against the idea that women can be just pragmatically evil, bad and selfish ... I don't write psycho bitches. The psycho bitch is just crazy - she has no motive, and so she's a dismissible person because of her psycho-bitchiness." Writing on her website, she concedes that hers is "not a particularly flattering portrait of women, [but that's] fine by me. Isn't it time to acknowledge the ugly side? I've grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains." It should probably be added that her lurid plots make no claim to social realism: to interpret her evil female characters as somehow representative of their real-life gender, you must willfully overlook hundreds of pages of other people"'
According to an episode on Jeopardy! (1984) aired October 9, 2015 a contestant known as Emily Rollman, who was an extra, apparently insulted Ben Affleck. She claimed after he ran into her during one of the takes, Ben asked her, "How was that?" She replied in sarcasm, "Well, that was okay."
When Nick Dunne drives his father back to the retirement home, "Don't Fear The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult plays on the car radio. This ubiquitous song was also featured in Halloween (1978) when Annie is driving with Laurie, and a cover version of the song was used in Scream (1996) when Billy enters Sidney's bedroom through the window. The song is also used in Joe Eszterhas' unproduced screenplay "Foreplay".
Rosamund Pike gained and lost thirteen pounds three times to play the character at different times in her life. She stuffed herself with hamburgers and malts to gain the weight, and exercised with a professional boxer for as long as four hours a day and ran five miles (in forty-two minutes) to lose the weight.
In the scene where Nick pushes Amy against the wall, it was so physically intense, that Rosamund Pike almost got a concussion. She told Vanity Fair, "I think around take eighteen of getting my head bashed against the wall, I literally saw stars."
Rosamund Pike said in a magazine article about making the movie that she including some levity during a scene where she's making pancakes that wasn't in the script, in order to convey a light-hearted friendliness to Ben Affleck. Pike said that the nature of Nick and Amy's relationship didn't allow or call for much (if any) playfulness, but she wanted to add it because it could play as either genuine and showing some basic affection between Nick and Amy, or it could be another part of Amy's warped psychology relative to everything else she says and does in the film.
When Greta, Amy's neighbor at the campground, first appears she is listening to "Left Ey3" by Kreayshawn. The song is about finding out your boyfriend is cheating, then burning his house down, and/or causing harm to him, and the person with whom he is cheating.
When Officer James Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) asks Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) why she was still reading the burned diary, Rhonda responds, "it interests me". This is the same line used by Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) (another movie by David Fincher), when Lisbeth was asked by a police officer why she was digging up another murder case involving a woman.
In addition to having the same word in both titles, as well as Ben Affleck's brother Casey, there are several plot similarities between this film and Gone Baby Gone (2007), which was directed by Ben Affleck. The plots of both movies revolve around a girl who goes missing, then is believed to be dead, but is actually alive, and at the center of a complex scheme. She is returned home to an uneasy home life. Both films are based on novels, and even have very similar posters.
In the book, when Amy meets Desi at the casino, a stranger interrupts their conversation to ask if she is related to the Enloes. (In the book's acknowledgments, author Gillian Flynn thanks Detective Craig Enloe of the Overland Park Police Department for answering her "42,000 e-mails.") In the film, the line is kept but the name is changed from Enloe to Nolan--the surname of the author's spouse, Brett, and their children.
Also contains a spoiler for Jaws (1975): With this film being nominated at the 87th Academy Awards (The Oscars (2015)), Neil Patrick Harris became the second Oscar host to die in a movie that was nominated during the ceremony in which they hosted. The first being Robert Shaw, who hosted the 48th Academy Awards where Jaws (1975) was nominated for four Oscars.
In How I Met Your Mother, Neil Patrick Harris played womanizing character Barney Stinson. He developed a theory of female sanity being related to their beauty: the hotter a girl is, the more accepting a man is of her craziness. He dubbed this theory the Hot/Crazy Scale. His character here is murdered by a beautiful woman that was crazy, supporting Stinson's theory.
Also contains spoilers for the novel and movie Presumed Innocent (1990): Plot similarities: The main character is accused of killing an ex-lover. In this film, it is his wife. In both films, it turns out the wife herself committed the crime, and staged the crime scene to implicate her husband. In both cases, a hammer is involved in the framing. At the end of both films, the accused decides not to divorce his wife, or press charges, realizing his own infidelity led her to do it, and that it would affect their public image. Nick also stays with Amy because she is pregnant. Rusty states he could not prosecute his wife because, "How could I deprive my children of their own mother?" The actors that played the accused husbands, Ben Affleck and Harrison Ford, have also played Jack Ryan.