Fincher directed Affleck in 2014’s ‘Gone Girl.’
In 2014, David Fincher directed Ben Affleck in the psychological thriller Gone Girl. And apparently, Affleck, quite the director himself (Argo, The Town), has been stewing on it ever since.
“My theory about you, having thought about it quite a bit,” began Affleck to Fincher in a Variety Directors on Directors chat, “is that you have these two incredibly powerful competing instincts as a filmmaker. One is that you have a very specific idea of how you think it will work the best and how you’d like it to be. And the other is this profound desire to discover something accidental, different, and new in the process. I think that’s at the root of the famous Fincher relentless number of takes. Am I totally off base?”
Fincher paused before answering incredulously: “Relentless number?” Affleck’s response? “That’s a kind characterization.” And then the two friends and collaborators broke down in laughter, which is exactly the kind of energy I want from such a silly filmmaking roast.
Then, the two went on to earnestly discuss Fincher’s process of shooting lots and lots of takes during the making of his films, with Fincher hoping aloud that people don’t frame it as him being “punitive.” Affleck’s response was in passionate support of Fincher:
“I don’t think it’s punitive at all. I love it. I’d rather be doing takes than watching somebody light or sitting in my trailer. It was wonderful. It also relieves you as an actor of this notion that there’s a finish line, there’s an end, ‘we’re gonna get it, and there’s an it, and it’s gonna be accomplished,’ so that you’re constantly going for something. Rather, you’re able to just relax and continue to do it… It’s so ridiculous what we do, and to try to make that feel real and just relaxed and normal is so much the battle. And I think that process that you do, you get it, you achieve it. Most people in your movies, it’s their best performance, because they’ve had the opportunity to really explore it and do it.”
He’s not wrong, evidenced by his work in Gone Girl so clearly being his best performance!
And Fincher, in speaking to actors about his multiple, multiple take process, said this: “You’re not doing anything wrong. We’re gonna do three weeks at the rehearsal, we’re gonna do a table read, we’re gonna open out of town, we’re gonna have at least three previews, and we’re gonna do all of that today before lunch with this master. We’re gonna go through all of that so that you can get to a place where you go, ‘Yeah, I’ve tried this, I’ve tried that, and really, it’s over here.’ And everyone can feel good about this [being] the thing that we’re trying to tighten. This is the lump of coal that we’re gonna try and turn into a diamond.”
Check out the full clip of Affleck and Fincher chatting below, at the very least to see Fincher put his hands over his mouth and lean in like an excited kid at Christmas.
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