Students of the United Kingdom’s National Film and Television School got the surprise of a lifetime when David Fincher showed up on video chat to give a masterclass in filmmaking. The “Zodiac” and “Gone Girl” director famously does not partake in many press appearances or public events, which means his video masterclass was a rare opportunity to get face time with the filmmaker. The United Kingdom went into lockdown this week in an attempt to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Fincher’s masterclass was broadcast online through Zoom to 450 quarantined film students.
“It's been a tough week so we wanted to do something to lift the spirits of the National Film and Television School students,” the school’s director Jon Wardle said in a statement. “So this afternoon 450 students sat down for a masterclass via Zoom with THE David Fincher. David is a legend.”
Fincher is currently at work on “Mank,” a biographical drama starring Gary Oldman as Oscar-winning “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. “Mank” is Fincher’s first feature directorial effort since 2014’s “Gone Girl.” The director worked on the Netflix serial killer drama series “Mindhunter” in the interim, both as an executive producer and the director of several episodes across the show’s two seasons. Fincher’s return to moviemaking is a big get for Netflix, which for now is still planning to release the film in 2020. Fincher also serves as a producer on Netflix’s animated anthology series “Love, Death, & Robots.”
Netflix shut down filming on all of its projects this month in the midst of the pandemic, but Fincher had already wrapped principal photography. The director’s longtime location manager William Doyle said in December that filming was past the halfway point at the time. “Mank” is written by Fincher’s late father and follows Mankiewicz as he struggles to overcome addiction and finish the “Citizen Kane” script. Doyle assured Fincher fans that “Mank” would be “not just a biopic about” the legendary writer. No official release date has been set.
A Masterclass with the one and only directing legend David Fincher has 100% lifted the spirits of @NFTSFilmTV students! A huge thank you to David for being so generous with his time and knowledge today 🙌 https://t.co/E7QxKRlASC
— National Film and Television School @NFTSFilmTV March 24, 2020
“Succession” is one of HBO’s most acclaimed drama series and an Emmy frontrunner in 2020, and its popularity has been bolstered in part by its addicting opening credits sequence. The 90-second sequence is set to Nicholas Britell’s Emmy-winning original theme music and cuts together footage of the New York City skyline with home video footage of the Roy family. The grainy home videos remind viewers about the privilege and isolation of the Roy family at the start of each episode. It turns out this now-classic opening credits sequence owes a lot of credit David Fincher, who crafted virtually the same sequence to open his 1997 mystery thriller “The Game.” Both openings have been embedded in videos below.
An eagle-eyed Reddit user recently noticed the similarities between the “Succession” and “The Game” opening credits and brought it to the attention of viewers. Fincher’s 1997 movie begins with grainy home video footage that fills in the backstory of protagonist Nicholas Van Orton, played in the film by Michael Douglas. The clips show Nicholas as a child and his father at the latter’s 48th birthday party, the event where Nicholas’ father committed suicide. The editing, courtesy of James Haygood, cuts the father out of the home videos later in the sequence to reflect his death, similar to how the “Succession” credits removes the faces of the Roy parents to show their disconnection from their children.
“The Game” opened in between Fincher’s “Seven” and “Panic Room” and remains one of the director’s most underrated directorial efforts. Out of all of Fincher’s films, “The Game” is the one that gets talked about the least despite strong reviews and box office nearly $110 million on a $70 million production budget. Anticipation for “The Game” was high since Fincher was coming off “Seven,” so many at the time saw the film as a step down for the director. The plot follows Douglas’ Nicholas after he accepts an offer to compete in a life-changing game, but the game ends up destroying Nicholas’ sense of what’s real and what’s fake. The supporting cast includes Sean Penn, James Rebhorn, Deborah Kara Unger, and Carroll Baker.
Watch the openings of “Succession” and “The Game” in the videos below. It’s only a matter of time before a Fincher fan sets “The Game” opening to Britell’s “Succession” score.
There’s something magical about onscreen chemistry. It’s not easy to fake, and poor chemistry between two leads who are supposedly drawn to each other can badly sink an otherwise great premise. So when something comes along that appears to give off genuine sparks between its two main characters, it’s like watching fireworks explode across the screen.
Such is the case with Run, HBO’s smart, funny, and sexy dark comedy series that lives and dies by the chemistry of its leads. As a former college couple reunited after years apart, Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson are electric, and incredibly convincing. It’s easy to get swept up in their journey together, because we genuinely buy their attraction to one another.
Ruby Richardson Wever and Billy Johnson Gleeson are currently living very different lives. Ruby is married with two kids, living a suburban Californian existence that has her drifting from Target shopping runs to yoga classes. Billy is a successful self-help guru, having published two books in the midst of touring engagements that have him offering advice that he’s probably not qualified to give. These two seem as if they inhabit completely different galaxies, but back in college – 17 years ago – they were a couple. And they made a promise: If either one of them ever texted the word “RUN” to the other, and the other person replied with the same word, they would drop everything, run away from their lives, meet up at Grand Central Station, and travel across America together.
Run wastes no time getting to that point. Rub receives a “RUN” text from Billy one day seemingly out of the blue, and it unmoors her. She’s panicked, nervous, but also excited. And after the slightest hesitation, she sends a “RUN” text back. And then she’s off like lightning, hopping a plane from Los Angeles to New York, boarding a train, and finding Billy waiting for her.
They haven’t seen each other in years, but the attraction between the two is rekindled immediately. In fact, it probably never went away. It’s clear from the jump that Ruby and Billy find each other damn near irresistible, and that’s where that chemistry comes in. The way Wever and Gleeson play off each other is natural, honest, and downright sexy. The sexual tension is at a fever pitch when they reunite, full of scenes where they’re standing incredibly close to each other, their breathing heavy, their eyes roaming. To be blunt, it’s hot stuff.
But Run is about more than rekindled romance. A lot more. The less said the better, but it’s a given that this reunion doesn’t go exactly as planned. As their train barrels across the country, Ruby and Billy start to learn that as strong as their attraction to one another may be, leaving...