David Fincher and Netflix Are Making a 'Chinatown' Prequel Series

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'Chinatown'Credit: Paramount Pictures
Original Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne will help write the script, which takes place before the events of Roman Polanski's Oscar-winning classic. 

David Fincher is arguably the biggest Chinatown fan out there -- just listen to him rave about the film on its 40th anniversary Blu-ray from 2016. Now, Fincher and screenwriter Robert Towne are teaming up for a prequel series based on Paramount Pictures' film noir about corruption, adultery, and incest in 1930s Los Angeles. 

Deadline was the first to break the news about the upcoming prequel series, which will have a pilot centered on the life of private investigator Jake Gittes (played by Jack Nicholson) as he struggles through the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles -- tackling cases involving LA's extra-shady one percent and corruption, as they all intersect around the city's natural resources and unique infrastructure. According to THR, Towne, who won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Chinatown, will reportedly collaborate on the pilot script with Fincher. This is kind of a big deal, as this will be the first TV show to potentially bear a "written by David Fincher" writing credit. 

Netflix declined to comment as of press time. 

Fincher's collaborator on Gone Girl and Netflix's House of Cards, Josh Donen, will serve as EP on the as-yet-untitled project should it go to series. What we don't know is if Fincher will direct the series -- but given the number of episodes he has directed on Netflix's Mindhunter, it's safe to assume the Gone Girl director will step behind the camera for this show. (Polanski will definitely not be directing. Because obviously.)

The noir classic famously follows Gittes efforts to uncover the truth behind what appears to be a "simple" adultery case that leads to a mystery involving Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power, politics, and one of the city's wealthiest and most dangerous individuals. 

Fincher hasn't directed a movie since 2014's hit film, Gone Girl. His next movie, Mank, will be for Netflix. The black-and-white movie stars Gary Oldman as screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz and it centers on the development of his most famous screenplay, Citizen Kane

It must be nice to be a guy like Fincher, who can afford to play in the world of one his favorite movies by exploring the events leading up to it. Prequels are very tried and played out, but there are exceptions to that rule -- and, hopefully, Fincher's Chinatown series will be among them. 

What is a movie that you love that you would like to make a prequel series for? Or explore more of? Tell us in the comments.      

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Netflix + Fincher + LA noire crime drama

Oh boy !

November 19, 2019 at 12:24AM


Please don’t! I love this movie, love Fincher’s movies too , but a prequel is just his way of saying let me get my hands all over someone else’s masterpiece. If that’s the case, they should make a prequel of the movie Se7en. I’m also curious how they will make a 1930’s Los Angeles, since most of Los Angeles is now gentrified and revamped. The old downtown and Echo Park LA is not what it used to be.

November 19, 2019 at 10:56AM


The film that literally no one asked for.

November 19, 2019 at 4:10PM