When Gone Girl blew up, first on the bestseller lists then in Hollywood, every studio out there wanted a piece of thriller author Gillian Flynn – and so naturally, the success of that novel and David Fincher’s subsequent adaptation led to her gearing up for many more high-profile projects, including an HBO series and a movie with 12 Years a Slave writer-director Steve McQueen.
At a release party for Dark Places, based on her novel, Flynn told Vulture that Strangers on a Train is a while off, if it’s even going to happen. “We’re all so overcommitted right now that we’ll see on that one,” she admitted.
A planned reteam for her, Fincher and Gone Girl star Ben Affleck, the remake would have retained the basic premise of two strangers plotting to kill significant individuals in one another’s lives but updated it for modern times.
In this new take, Affleck would have played a movie star campaigning for an Oscar, whose private plane breaks down. This malfunction leads to him boarding a plane to Los Angeles with a wealthy stranger, connecting with them and eventually deciding to team up with their new acquaintance to commit the perfect crime.
Of course, Fincher and Flynn are already locked up with HBO series Utopia at the moment. That show – a dark conspiracy thriller about nerds who find a graphic novel that seems to predict future calamities, only to find themselves hunted by a nefarious organization – is their main focus at the moment, with production starting later this year. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo breakout Rooney Mara is reportedly eyeing a role in the high-profile series, and other big names are expected to join.
After Utopia, Flynn will work on Widows with McQueen, about mob widows who come together to pull off an impossible heist their hardened, since-deceased husbands couldn’t execute.
Said Flynn of that project:
“It’s based on the BBC series that Lynda LaPlante wrote, it’s the series she did just before Prime Suspect. It’s so much fun, it’s about mob widows who come together and pull off the heist that their husbands couldn’t. But it’s not told in a remotely wacky or, Oh, we’re girls, how do we do this? way. It’s hard-core. They’re clearly the brains behind the thing.”
Meawhile, Fincher is retooling another HBO series, Videosynchrazy, that didn’t meet execs’ standards and had production shut down over script issues. And Affleck is fully embroiled in the Warner Bros./DC Comics cinematic universe, playing Batman in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, then will tackle Prohibition crime drama Live By Night, which he wrote and will both direct and star in. After that, it’s back to Gotham for the actor, now that he’s signed on to co-write and direct a Batman stand-alone film.
With so many projects lined up for all three of them, it’s no surprise that the Gone Girl collaborators may have to wait a while to reteam. Still, the set-up for their Strangers sounds intriguing, so here’s to hoping they can pull the pieces together sometime down the road.