David Fincher has a thing for serial killers. Se7en, Zodiac, and you could even argue Dwight Yoakam’s character in Panic Room: each of these films have focused on unhinged human beings who had no compunctions about killing many, many people. One of Fincher’s next projects was going to be an adaptation of Torso, a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko. Set in the mid-1930s, the novel tells the story of the quest to apprehend the “Torso Murderer,” who left only the torsos of his victims. Eliot Ness, formerly of The Untouchables (at this point in time, Al Capone is already in jail), is the investigating officer on the case.
The project has been in development since 2006, but we’re now hearing that Paramount has allowed their rights option to the graphic novel to lapse. According to The Hollywood Reporter, while Paramount still has the rights to a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, they had the option of purchasing the rights to the comic last month in order to retain them. Apparently, they were unwilling to commit, and the rights have reverted back to Bendis and Andreyko. THR attributes Paramount’s waffling in part to the difficult economic climate. Combined with Fincher’s notorious reputation for being a difficult director to work with (not to mention his lavish production budgets), Paramount might not have been sure if they were ready to dive in to another Fincher production. Still, with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button racking up big box office and a whopping 13 Oscar nominations yesterday, it’s probable that they will decide to stay in the David Fincher business.
Also: A Fincher-directed period film about a serial killer who leaves torsos behind, with a script by Ehren Kruger? I’d be in line opening day.