Sometimes I forget David Fincher directed Alien 3. Most of the time, he would like to forget it, too.
One of the great things about Fincher is how open he is about his catalog. His movies are picked by hand, and he puts everything he has into all of his projects. His insane attention to detail is the stuff of legends and something we can emulate (in moderation).
Still, Fincher became an auteur by jumping from the studio system after hating everything about making his first film, Alien 3.
He's come a long way since then, with a few classics under his belt and a lot of influential and incredibly entertaining work as well. In a new interview with Vulture, Fincher said his father’s original Mank script “was [about] a great writer obliterated from memory by this showboating megalomaniac,” which he only realized was “limited in scope” after his nightmare experience directing Alien 3.
He went on to talk about his awful experiences on Alien 3 without even mentioning the movie by name, which is quite something!
Fincher said, "Once I had gone to Pinewood for two years and had been through a situation where I was a hired gun to make a library title for a multinational, vertically integrated media conglomerate, I had a different view of how writers and directors needed to work. I kind of resented his anti-auteurist take. I felt that what the script really needed to talk about was the notion of enforced collaboration. You may not like the fact that you’re going to be beholden to so many different disciplines and skillsets in the making of a movie, but if you’re not acknowledging it, you’re missing the side of the barn. A script is the egg, and it needs a donor to create the cellular split that moves it into the realm of something playable in three dimensions and recordable in two dimensions and presentable to other people."
This open honesty from a filmmaker is refreshing.
We often worry that we'll be defined by our worst work, and not out best. But Fincher is proof that as long as you keep creating, you have a shot to succeed.
As IndieWire puts it, "The production of Alien 3 gave Fincher a front-row seat to how a director’s vision and intentions can get disrupted by industry powers much larger than him. Fincher directed Alien 3 as the script continued to be written and rewritten during production, and he disavowed the film when it opened theatrically."
I'm interested in seeing if this movie helps Fincher find the Academy Award he's deserved for so long, but who knows what the pandemic will bring to the Oscars.
Mank will open with a limited theatrical release beginning November 13th. It makes its Netflix streaming debut on December 4th.
Fan of Alien 3? Let us know what you think in the comments.