Posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
After screening an early cut of The Social Network, I had the opportunity to ask director David Fincher a few questions about the film. While I did meet the filmmaker in person, we conducted the mini Q&A over e-mail as Fincher was already in Sweden in preproduction on his next film, a big screen adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Read the transcript after the jump.
Question: On the surface level, many people were surprised when it was announced you would be directing a movie about the story about Facebook. Why were you attracted to this story? What about it fascinated you?
Fincher: The people, the story, the setting, and finally the notion of old world business ethics and morals (as represented by Harvard) in the information age.
Question: How do you find a balance between honoring the true story and taking dramatic liberty with some of the events to create a compelling narrative, especially considering that little time has passed and the people still exist today?
Fincher: Well, I think you try to have a sense of who these people are to their world and to the world of the story, and you try to walk a line. I wouldn’t have made the film if I didn’t have great respect and admiration for the accomplishments of both Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Parker, and if I didn’t feel for both the Winklevoss and Savarin camps. I don’t know who said what to whom or when — for sure… But I’ve only ever been interested in arguments where everyone is convinced they’re right.
Question: The Social Network is in some ways about how technology is changing relationships. You seem to be a very technology-obsessed filmmaker….
Fincher: Not Obsessed, but considered.
Question: I’ve seen you three times in person, and each time you’ve had an apple device in your hand. The other day you were carrying an iPad. You employ a lot of innovative technology and effects in your films, yet this is the first movie in your filmography that has a story delves into the field. Can you talk a bit about this and your relationship with tech?
Fincher: I think it’s silly to not be using effective tools in a field that is ultimately about communication. I look at every way I can — to better be in three places at once. I think it only behooves me to have the best possible access to my collaborators.
Question: The New York Times made claims that the screenplay and movie were both screened for Facebook, and some changes were made at their request. I was wondering if you could talk to us about how the film was altered?
Fincher: I have altered nothing for Facebook. But I have made considerable revisions for some of the requests by the MPAA.
Question: I’m interested to hear your thoughts in the tilt/shift isolated focus you employed in the boating sequence. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the big screen before and would love to learn what inspired it.
Fincher: We could only shoot 3 races at the Henley Royal Regatta; We had to shoot 4 days of boat inserts in Eton. The only way to make the date for release was to make the backgrounds as soft as humanly possible. I decided it might be more “subjective” if the world around the races fell away in focus, leaving the rowers to move into and out of planes of focus to accentuate their piston-like effort.