David Fincher is not known for operating within Hollywood’s franchises – remember, Alien 3 almost forced the director into an early retirement. But it turns out Fincher was almost drawn to the biggest franchise of the lot.
While appearing on a recent instalment of the Empire Podcast (via Collider), the esteemed filmmaker recalled the moment when he passed up the chance to direct a Star Wars sequel for Lucasfilm. Fincher stopped short of mentioning any specifics – was it The Last Jedi, for instance? Or one of the studio’s forthcoming anthology pics? – only that he “talked” with producer Kathleen Kennedy about what he considers to be a “plum assignment.”
But while the thought of signing on for Lucasfilm’s faraway galaxy is tempting, David Fincher pointed to the heightened expectations that come hand-in-hand with a modern blockbuster. And, well, let’s just say Star Wars is on another level in that respect.
I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, ‘Alderaan? What the hell is this?’ Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level. One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure.
Not only that, but Lucasfilm’s taxing schedule also cooled any interest that Fincher had mustered. Here, he explains why he can’t imagine pouring two years of his life into a Star Wars tentpole.
You’d have to really clear your head, I think. You’d have to really be sure this is what you wanted to do because either way it’s two years of your life, 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
That’s disappointing, then. From Zodiac to Fight Club, Seven to The Social Network, the meticulous Fincher has built up an impressive body of work, so the mere thought of him directing a chapter of Lucasfilm’s Skywalker saga is enough to leave fanboys giddy with excitement.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. But we can still look forward to the launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15th. Mindhunter, on the other hand, is now streaming via Netflix.