Gavin Smith goes one-on-one with David Fincher (1999)
Interview with Film Comment magazine, October/November 1999 issue
- A stylized version of our IKEA present. It is talking about very simple concepts. We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman is created.
- About Fight Club
- We wanted a title sequence that started in the fear center of the brain. [When you hear] the sound of a gun being cocked that's in your mouth, the part of you brain that gets everything going, that realizes that you are fucked - we see all the thought processes, we see the synapses firing, we see the chemical electrical impulses that are the call to arms. And we wanted to sort of follow that out. Because the movie is about thought, it's about how this guy thinks. And it's from his point of view, solely. So I liked the idea of starting a movie from thought, from the beginning of the first fear impulse that went, Oh shit, I'm fucked, how did I get here?
- About the opening shot of Fight Club
- You want to be able to provide something, and you're pissing down a fucking well. It will suck you dry and take everything you have and, like being a parent, you can pour as much love as you want, and your kid still says, "Just let me right out here, you don't have to take me all the way." You're working to make yourself obsolete. I'm not going to make Persona - my movies are fairly obvious in what the people want and what it is that's happening; it;s not that internalized. What's internalized is how you process the information from the singular, subjective point of view. And that becomes the subtext of it.
- About directing films
- Film-making encompasses everything, from tricking people into investing in it, to putting on the show, to trying to distill down to moments in time, and ape reality but send this other message. It's got everything. When I was a kid I loved to draw, and I loved my electric football sets, and I painted little things and made sculptures and did matte painting and comic books and illustrated stuff, and took pictures, had a darkroom, loved to tape-record stuff. It's all of that. It's not having to grow up. It's four-dimensional chess, it's strategy, and it's being painfully honest, and unbelievably deceitful, and everything in between.
Fightin Words (1999)
- The movie is not that violent. There are ideas in the movie that are scary, but the film isn't about violence, the glorification of violence or the embracing of violence. In the movie, violence is a metaphor for feeling. It's a film about the problems or requirements involved with being masculine in today's society.
- Violence shouldn't be presented as drama. I think people looking for an easy way out often write scenes where characters come into violent conflict as opposed to looking for the true drama in the situation. That's a shortcoming of a lot of films and television shows. I think certain presentations of violence are not immoral, but amoral.
- I find it amoral if you're making a movie where the problem is solved with a guy standing in the back of pickup truck firing a machine at the bad guys. The morality of it is questionable because the repercussions of violence are incredibly far-reaching.
- I do like movies that take a toll on the audience. I want to work the subconscious. I want to involve you in ways in which you might not necessarily want to get involved. I want to play off those things that you're expecting to get when the lights go down and the 20th Century Fox logo comes up. There's an audience expectation and I'm interested in how movies play with--and off--that expectation. That's what I'm interested in.
A Talk With David Fincher (1999)
- I always feel ill-prepared for commentaries and it had been so long I was afraid I'd forget everything that happened on the film. But having everybody come together for it was really great. It was like a high school reunion. We all reminisced and just had a great time.
- Oh, yeah, I love DVD's. I don't have what you'd call an extensive collection, maybe a couple of hundred or so. But I have something on almost all the time.
- There are some movies I can watch over and over, never get sick of. I'll put one of those on and be puttering around the house. Then a certain scene will come on and I'll just have to go over and watch.
- You know, I don't think I've ever listened to someone's commentary. Ever.
- I tend to over-intellectualize things, to come at them from a structural point.
The Curious Case of David Fincher (2007)
By Brian Mockenhaupt, Esquire Magazine, March 2007 issue
- I don't have the Tom Hanks fans. When you make the kind of movies I make, you get weird letters from people.
- You can do something that walks a line, and invariably, whatever that line is, it will be crossed by people who don't know any better and want to ape the success.
- I want to make a movie that has enough impact that it's going to do what it needs to do. But I don't want to make a film that serial killers masturbate to.
- About the film, Zodiac
- For me, the scariest thing about a serial killer is that there's somebody who lives next door to you, running power tools late into the night, and you don't know he has a refrigerator full of penises.
- As much as people pretend 'I fit in, I understand, I get the rules,' there are always times spent away from that where you go, 'I thought I knew. It seemed so clear to me, and then...' That sense of loneliness, or the sense of not fitting in or being out of depth, is probably the most common denominator.
- Entertainment has to come hand in hand with a little bit of medicine. Some people go to the movies to be reminded that everything's okay. I don't make those kinds of movies. That, to me, is a lie. Everything's not okay.
- You have a responsibility for the way you make the audience feel, and I want them to feel uncomfortable.
- Hollywood is great. I also think it's stupid and small-minded and shortsighted. I'm sure there are people who get into movies so they can get nice tables at restaurants.
- You can either look at your career as the things you're going to leave behind, and they have to be executed flawlessly and you have to know exactly what it is that you're doing. Or you can be realistic about the fact that you're going to learn as you practice what you do.
About David Fincher
- He's just scary smart, sort of smarter than everyone else in the room. There's just a handful of these people who know absolutely everything about the process. They could do everyone's job brilliantly. Every aspect is under their control.
- Producer Laura Ziskin, The Curious Case of David Fincher, By Brian Mockenhaupt, Esquire Magazine, March 2007 issue