David Fincher Utopia

More and more filmmakers are making the jump to work in television, where the stories that studios will never finance as mid-budget dramas can flourish as long-form narrative experiments. Cary Fukunaga and Steven Soderbergh have done significant work with True Detective and The Knick, respectively, for which each director took charge of the entire season, rather than just directing an episode or two.

David Fincher only occasionally sat in the director’s chair for a couple episodes of House of Cards, but he’s really taking the plunge with his next series. Utopia sees Fincher reunited with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) as they adapt the UK series of the same name for HBO. (That’s the show about people who possess a text that supposedly predicts future disasters, and not the new Fox reality TV disaster.) This time, Fincher will direct every episode of the show’s first season.

The second season of Utopia aired in the UK over the spring and summer of 2014, and the writer Dennis Kelly says that a third and fourth season could be produced. I haven’t watched any of the UK show at this point, and so I’m going to trust the wiki recap in order to give you some basic plot outline:

The story follows a small group of people who find themselves in possession of the manuscript sequel of a cult graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments which is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. This leads them to be targeted by an organisation known as The Network, which they must avoid to survive. Using the manuscript, they must uncover the meaning hidden in its pages before the disasters depicted become reality.

In an interview with The Guardian the director explains the appeal of the show:

I like the world of it. I like the characters – I love Dennis’s [Kelly, creator of the UK show] honesty and affinity for the nerds. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a junior conspiracy theorist cos I don’t have time to connect them all! But it’s nice to see that somebody has.

If you’re wondering how much time that season will take, the answer is: a lot. Utopia will probably occupy whatever parts of Fincher’s time aren’t already accounted for by Gone Girl promotion going well into 2015. He has no next feature set up, but that could change. And I’m curious to see what changes doing the entire season of television will make on Fincher.

He says,

Oddly enough, I did a remake of a literary adaptation, then I did a remake of a television show. Now I’m doing a literary adaptation [and then remaking another show]. I don’t know: the pattern is not clear to me exactly what it is that I’m doing. But I’m sure it’ll be illuminated for me. Your job is context. I’m just a hamster on a wheel!

 

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