It often seems as if fans of David Fincher inadvertently neglect to realize the depths of his background in directing music videos and television commercials before becoming a prominent director of major motion pictures. The critically acclaimed director behind the classic mystery/thriller Se7en (1995), The Game (1997) along with the controversial drama Fight Club (1999), as well as more recent greats like Zodiac (2007) and The Social Network (2010) spent the ’80s and early ‘90s directing dozens of music videos for a wide variety of popular artists. There’s no doubt that David Fincher has a plethora of stories wrapped up in his mind from those experiences, which is probably why, at one point in the 2010s, he was inspired to develop a TV show tentatively entitled Living on Video – about an aspiring filmmaker who drives to LA in 1983 and lands an entry-level production job as a production assistant for a music video company.
To say the least, David Fincher directed the music videos for Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like the Wind”, Sting’s “Englishman in New York”, Gipsy King’s “Bamboleo”, Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”, Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence”, Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun”, Madonna’s “Express Yourself”, Billy Idol’s “LA Woman” and Michael Jackson’s “Who is it?”. Nevertheless, there’s one music video in David Fincher’s resume that stands apart from the rest, the New Wave/electronic/synth-pop song “Shattered Dreams” by Johnny Hates Jazz. This heartbreak anthem from 1988 could either make you laugh hysterically or drop tears depending on the context of what memories it may or may not trigger in your psyche. Either way, prepare to have it play on repeat in your head.
Currently, the Denver born, Bay Area raised film director is in the finishing stages of releasing Mank (2020) with Netflix – a film about the screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) and his chaotic development of Orson Welles’ iconic film Citizen Kane (1941) – which has been hailed as the greatest American film of all time. Mank is written by David’s father, the late Jack Fincher – an accomplished journalist and essayist. The film’s music is composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network, Gone Girl), with cinematography by Erik Messerschmidt (Only the Brave) and editing by Kirk Baxter (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Mank is expected to delve deep into the story of how screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz bumped heads with Orson Welles during the making of Citizen Kane and how they disputed over who would receive proper writing credits for the film.
David Fincher’s Mank finished production last winter and is expected to release in October of 2020 on Netflix.