David Fincher Says ‘Joker’ Was ‘A Betrayal of the Mentally Ill’
David Fincher has adapted plenty of books: Fight Club, Gone Girl, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But he hasn’t taken on a massive franchise, or made a movie based on a popular comic book-series. And based on some recent comments, it sounds like he never will.
In a new interview promoting his latest movie, the Hollywood historical biography Mank, Fincher lashed out at Hollywood studios for their singular obsession with billion dollar movies. Fincher, who recently revealed he’d signed a long-term exclusive deal with Netflix, told The Telegraph that none of the major studios “want to be in the medium-priced challenging content business. And that cleaves off exactly the kind of movies I make.” He credited companies like Netflix for making movies that “actually reflect our culture and wrestle with big ideas.”
Fincher had particularly strong words for Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ recent film of Joker, which became a massive box-office hit, and an Academy Award winner for star Joaquin Phoenix. As Fincher put it:
Nobody would have thought they had a shot at a giant hit with Joker had The Dark Knight not been as massive as it was. I don’t think anyone would have looked at that material and thought, ‘Yeah, let’s take Travis Bickle and Rupert Pupkin and conflate them, then trap him in a betrayal of the mentally ill, and trot it out for a billion dollars.
Sooooo, I guess Fincher is not making Joker 2, huh?
Interestingly, Fincher did almost make a franchise film in recent years. He spent a while attached to World War Z 2, a sequel to the hit zombie blockbuster that would have seen him reteam with his Fight Club and Se7en star Brad Pitt. Just a few months before shooting was scheduled to begin, the production on the Z-quel was shut down, supposedly over budgetary issues. One imagines Fincher is reflecting on personal experiences like that with his comments.
Mank will be available on Netflix on December 4. It is playing in select theaters now.
Gallery — Every David Fincher Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best: