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.