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We Read It: Casting David Fincher's Potential Next Movie 'Gone Girl'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 15, 2013 at 2:44PM

It's been in the works for a while now, but according to Deadline last night, geek favorite David Fincher is inching closer to signing on to an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel "Gone Girl." The novel, by the former EW staffer who already had some success with thrillers "Sharp Objects" and "Dark Places" (that are also both being developed for movies), was snapped up by Reese Witherspoon not long after publication, and rave reviews and word-of-mouth have seen it become a literary phenomenon over the last year or so. Even if you haven't read it yourself, you probably know plenty of people who have, or at least have seen a subway car full of people carrying it.
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It's been in the works for a while now, but according to Deadline last night, geek favorite David Fincher is inching closer to signing on to an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel "Gone Girl." The novel, by the former EW staffer who already had some success with thrillers "Sharp Objects" and "Dark Places" (which are also both being developed for movies), was snapped up by Reese Witherspoon not long after publication, and rave reviews and word of mouth have seen it become a literary phenomenon over the last year or so. Even if you haven't read it yourself, you probably know plenty of people who have, or at least have been on a subway car full of people carrying it.

And rightly so. Flynn is the real deal, and the book is dark, twisty and genuinely well-written (even if we'd argue she doesn't quite stick the landing this time out). The story (narrated by dueling protagonists) is set in Carthage, Missouri, where thirtysomething married couple Nick and Amy have moved from New York. On the surface they're a golden couple, but one day Amy disappears without a trace, with evidence of a violent struggle at their home. Nick becomes the prime suspect, but insists he didn't do it. Can the reader trust him? Can they trust Amy, whose own narration has been filling in the backstory? 

It's enough to keep you up into the wee hours, and it's little wonder that Fincher's interest is serious. With Witherspoon producing rather than starring, we thought it seemed like a good time to examine some of the actors and actresses who we think would be good contenders to play Nick and Amy in the "Gone Girl." Take a look below, and you can weigh in with your own picks in the comments section.

Nick
Describing himself at one point as having "a face you want to punch; I'm a working-class Irish kid trapped in the body of a total trust-fund douchebag. I smile a lot to make up for my face, but this only sometimes works," Nick is 34, a reasonably successful magazine journalist who became a victim of the recession. As a result, he's moved back home to Carthage, Missouri, to open a bar with his sister, only for his wife of six years to disappear mysteriously, with Nick the natural suspect. Handsome and charming, he's also deeply selfish and eager to please, to a fault. As with the other principal role, you need an actor who can play things close to his chest, not giving away whether Nick is a stone-cold killer, or an innocent caught up in someone else's plot.

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper
Already a popular choice among fans of the book, Cooper would seem to be in a very strong position at this stage, thanks to the success of "Silver Linings Playbook," which earned him an Oscar nomination and made him a hotter prospect than ever before. There's always been something faintly sinister and jockish about his presence (see "Wedding Crashers"), and that ambivalence could work out nicely. At 38 (and close to 40 by the time the film comes out), he's on the older side of the potentials (problematic if the film keeps with the age difference in the book -- Amy is older -- which adds nice character texture to the relationship), but otherwise a solid choice.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Thanks to "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Looper," few actors are more in demand right now that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and aside from "Sin City 2," he's yet to pick another role, and he'd be sure to jump at the chance to work with Fincher. And while he's never picked up awards attention, he proved long ago with things like "Mysterious Skin" that he's got the acting chops. The biggest problem may be age -- though he's 32 now, Gordon-Levitt looks younger (he played a college student as recently as "Lincoln"), which would make it harder to sell some of the twistier plot elements of the story. Definitely an option, though.

PHOTO Jake Gyllenhaal In Talks To Star In 'The Way, Way Back' Directed By 'The Descendants' Team Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Jake Gyllenhaal
Gyllenhaal gave probably the best performance of his career with Fincher in "Zodiac," and the actor's a good fit for the part. He's about the right age (32), plus he has the right mix of moral ambivalence, smarts and looks. But he's not the biggest box office draw around, so may not be a studio favorite. And perhaps more importantly, may not be Fincher's either. Gyllenhaal was open about his difficulties with Fincher's process on the earlier film, and Fincher was less than apologetic about it. Could bad blood still linger? Or would they be able to put the past behind them now that it's been almost seven years since they last worked together?

This article is related to: Features, We Read It, Gone Girl, David Fincher


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