In a hotel room on one of October’s last sunny days, Fincher spoke to GQ all about The Killer, his feelings about AI, and why one of his (many) canned projects would’ve been “a lot” like The Last of Us.
GQ: I saw Fight Club last night.
David Fincher: I haven’t seen it in 20 years. And I don’t want to.
Do you have an aversion to watching your old movies?
No— yes. It’s like looking at your grade school pictures, or something. “Yeah, I was there.”
For The Killer, you grabbed Michael Fassbender in the racing off-season, right?
Yeah, you have to. I don’t know that it was difficult. I think we had to rush a couple of things, because we had a five-and-a-half month window, and it was an 80-day schedule because there was a lot of travel. So it was a question of the Venn diagram of when he’s available, when we can get the production together, and when it’s not hurricane season.
Did Erik [Messerschmidt, cinematographer on The Killer] then know that he was going to shoot Ferrari?
No. [Laughs.] I honestly can’t remember if they ever talked about it, maybe at some point.
Why The Smiths for Killer’s meditation tape?
I always knew that I wanted to use “How Soon is Now?” because I love the guitar. And I love the idea of somebody going, “what Johnny Marr is doing here is my meditation.” I just thought it was amusing. But originally, we had an entire soundtrack that was Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, full-on pre-goth. It was really cool, and really interesting, but you kept asking yourself, “Is he a music critic?”
But as we went along, you would find out that a song’s publishing was split amongst two or three different parties who are no longer speaking, and blah, blah, blah. And every time a song would drop out, we would replace it with The Smiths. “This Charming Man,” and so on. Every single time it was The Smiths, it was both sardonic, and raw. Trent [Reznor] was a big part of this: we kept thinking, what do we want to say about this guy?