This morning I went to the Director's Dialog with David Fincher at the New York Film Festival. Because he had to get back to Sweden to film the English version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the talk was moved from 1PM to 11 AM.
Let me cut to the chase. It was a good talk but way too leisurely. The problem was Todd McCarthy who interviewed him started him out as if they had several hours when they were restricted to a strict one hour talk. It was interesting, but hardly informative and certainly the least of any of the previous Dialogs I had seen.
McCarthy started with Fincher's childhood and by the time 45 minutes had passed they had talked about growing up, his days in making commercials, working at ILM and watching movies. They spoke fleetingly about Social Network, but that was about it. They barely mentioned any of his other films at all, and nothing in depth. They had about 15 minutes for questions from the audience, which since Fincher can talk at length about himself turned out to be very few in number. The one bit I got was that Fincher's Dragon Tattoo is going be be darker and dig deeper than the previous film. He added jokingly that it may have been a mistake to remake the film but he was going to try anyway.
Fincher came off as a nice guy and one who can talk endlessly about his life and career. He is also very much a tech geek with some of his answers assuming you know about the technical aspect of things. His one real flaw as a raconteur, and one Todd McCarthy should have corrected, was that he never mentioned what project he was talking about. He spent more time naming the films of his friends and colleagues than he did about his own. What project were you working on when you came up with the idea for under cranked Steadicam work that got your friend in trouble because it was similar to stuff from Return of the Jedi? What was the animated film that you were working on making transparencies for six months? Fincher never said.
Don't get me wrong I would love to sit Fincher down and talk to him for an afternoon of a couple of days, but because of his rambling nature an hour is not long enough. Actually this would have been better had there been in interviewer who could have really steered the conversation and stop Fincher from talking at length about things other than his movies.
Ultimately I enjoyed it but I didn't need to hobble in to the city for it with nothing else to do.