By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 27, 2012 at 9:11AM
With Sony confirming last week that "The Girl Who Played With Fire" would not be hitting screens in 2013 (hardly a shock considering no casting or greenlight or any other movement had happened on "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" followup), speculation brewed as to whether or not David Fincher would return. While "The Social Network" was pretty much smooth sailing, his relationship with Sony grew fractious during 'Dragon Tattoo,' with heads butting from the start over casting and more bumps along the way. "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" was expected to be his next film, but we'd wager Disney might be re-considering the expensive 3D and CGI-heavy movie in the wake of the belly flop "John Carter," and particularly with "The Lone Ranger" reportedly already going over budget. Whatever might be going on behind the scenes, it seems Fincher still has Lisbeth Salander on the brain.
The folks over at The Art Of Title recently chatted with Fincher about his credit sequences, in what is an excellent and fascinating read. But for our purposes we're going to zone in right to the end of the piece, where Fincher provides an update of what is currently on his plate. There is the Netflix and Media Rights Capital series "House Of Cards" which is he executive producing and directing (we'll get to that in a moment), and oh hey, it looks like 'Played With Fire' is in the mix too. "Well, [I'm] trying to figure out a sequel to 'Dragon Tattoo.' We’ve got to be able to make it our own thing," he said.
We're not going to over analyze things here except to say that it appears his hat is still very much in the ring. It always seemed a bit odd that Fincher would walk away from a franchise he helped establish, leaving it in the hands of someone else (not to mention that his deal with Sony would require the studio to pay him out if he exited, something they're likely not eager to do) and he's been very protective of Rooney Mara when it comes to this film, fighting for her from day one to get the role. Last week, it was reported that Steve Zaillian was still working on the script, and perhaps that's a hint that development is continuing with Fincher involved. It should also be noted, that Fincher dropped out of "Cleopatra" starring Angelina Jolie and produced by 'Dragon Tattoo' producer Scott Rudin. Could it be because 'Played With Fire' has moved up to the front burner? But we'll see how this all plays out.
Meanwhile, Fincher is busy on "House Of Cards." Word has been very quiet about the new show, aside from talk about a behind-the-scenes-battle over budget early in the year and a first look image this spring. But things are rolling along, and Fincher has revealed who else is lending their talent to the episodes being filmed. "I shot the first two episodes, and we’re sound mixing in the next couple of weeks and then finishing. James Foley has directed two and Joel Schumacher directed two, and now Charles McDougall has directed two. It’s up and running so that’s a fulltime job," he said.
It's an interesting mix of names. Schumacher has mostly been cranking out dreck for the past decade, but perhaps this is a chance to redeem himself. Foley is best known as the helmer behind the screen version of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" while McDougall is a TV vet who has worked on "Sex And The City," "The Office" and "Parks & Recreation." None of these guys are particularly auteurs, which may mean they're the perfect sort of directors to come in and work with the vision Fincher is putting together for the show. And oh, in case you're wondering, Fincher does confirm that designer Neil Kellerhouse is working on this project as well.
The 13 episode first season of "House Of Cards" is due to air on Netflix in 2013. Could 'Played With Fire' be next on Fincher's deck after that? It seems that you can't count it out just yet. And do head over to The Art Of The Title for the Fincher interview -- it's a great piece.