Sunday, January 27, 2013

Adaptation Angst: Gone Girl

One of last year's most addictive, confounding, provocative, and discussion-worthy novels was Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Now reports are surfacing that David Fincher is in talks to direct the adaptation, which Reese Witherspoon is producing. Fincher is one of my favorite directors (so much so, I've come up with a little nickname for him: "The Finch"--don't tell him if you ever meet him). However, I don't unequivocally love everything he's done. See, for example, Exhibit A: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Which I downright loathed, and which has led me to adopt this rule of thumb concerning his directorial predilections: Fincher Needs a Sociopath.

His finest films, Fight Club, Seven, Zodiac, even the underrated The Game all feature characters that have very little regard for, or even understanding of, the emotional repercussions of their actions on others. They are obsessed with observing and creating reactions, but not overly affected by them internally. And I'm not just talking about the villains here. Think about The Social Network, for my money the finest film of the 2000s. Fincher's Mark Zuckerberg, to put it mildly, is not overly concerned with consequences.

Gone Girl fits the Fincher Paradigm perfectly. It is dark and twisty and complicated and I think he could work wonders with the dual narrative structure of the book. The only reason I'm not placing the angst score at an unprecedented zero is the strong possibility that Reese Witherspoon might cast herself as the titular Girl. I'd be happy to be wrong about this, and if anyone can exploit the flint that undergirds Witherspoon's steel magnolia charm it's the Finch, but I kind of want Jennifer Lawrence.

Angst Level: 1

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