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Moving on from 'House of Cards,' Will Fincher Return to Salander and Play 'with Fire'?

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 27, 2012 at 4:28PM

David Fincher's upcoming film slate has been shifting over the last week, and some are speculating that it may be moving in the direction of Lisbeth Salander. Not so fast, guys. With news that the director broke up with Egyptian beauty "Cleopatra," starring Angelina Jolie, and with Sony's confirmation that "The Girl Who Played with Fire" would not be a 2013 release (the kernel is that the sequel is in the works at all), eyes are on Fincher to return for the sequel.
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David Fincher on the set of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
David Fincher on the set of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

David Fincher's upcoming film slate has been shifting over the last week, and some are speculating that it may be moving in the direction of Lisbeth Salander. Not so fast, guys.

With news that the director broke up with Egyptian beauty "Cleopatra," starring Angelina Jolie, and with Sony's confirmation that "The Girl Who Played with Fire" would not be a 2013 release (the kernel is that the sequel is in the works at all), eyes are on Fincher to return for the "Dragon Tattoo" sequel.

Truth is, he's busy supervising Netflix's over-budget Kevin Spacey-produced online series "House of Cards" (2013), one of the DVD distributor's many forays into original programming, which he has to get off his plate. The Playlist provides some tidbits on other talent involved in the show: James Foley, Joel Schumacher and Charles McDougal have each directed two episodes for the series.

Producer Scott Rudin, who is proceeding with finding a director for "Cleopatra" (and it could still be Fincher), is also looking to keep "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" franchise together for the long haul. But the first one was contentious and expensive, at more than $90-million plus global marketing costs. The worldwide total of $233 million may seem respectable, but remember, only half that goes back to the studio, which barely recouped thanks to homevideo.

Word is that Sony wants to proceed with the potentially lucrative sequel, which has a draft written by executive producer Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List," "Moneyball"), but the studio also wants to make some money. My sources tell me that Fincher has a new vision for the sequel and is eager to get a rewrite going with super-busy Zaillian, but Fincher would have to be willing to proceed with a smaller budget, which defies Hollywood logic. Of course he did just fine with modest means on less glossy "The Social Network."

Disney's 3-D extravaganza "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" could also be Fincher's next film, although the studio may not be as gung-ho about this costly VFX remake in the wake of $200-million write-off "John Carter." 

It would be a happy surprise for Fincher to re-team with hard-edged Rooney Mara and the chrome-grey palette of Sweden (or sun-drenched Grenada, per the opening of "The Girl Who Played with Fire") for the second installment in the Stieg Larsson franchise. But we'll believe it when we see it.

This article is related to: David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.