When Entertainment Weekly approached Twentieth Century Fox about getting an exclusive inside look at the making of Gone Girl, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 smash best-selling novel due in theaters Oct. 3, the studio came back with a surprising reply: Director David Fincher was offering to shoot the cover himself. Not being crazy enough to turn down the Oscar-nominated provocateur who directed The Social Network, we said yes. Fincher dreamed up the image, which features Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne curled around his wife, Amy, played by Rosamund Pike. The result is an unsettling portrait of love gone demented.
Gone Girl autopsies the marriage of Nick and Amy, two out-of-work magazine writers whose marital bliss turns toxic after they leave New York City for the Midwest. When Amy vanishes on their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick becomes the prime suspect in her murder – though, technically, it’s unclear if she actually has been murdered. Maybe she’s just been kidnapped? And maybe Nick had nothing to do with it? For his part, Fincher remains unapologetic about his preference for unconventional characters. “I don’t know what ‘likable’ is. I know people who are doting parents, who give to charity, drive Priuses, all those things, who are insufferable a- -holes,” he says. “I like people who get s - - - done.”
Even if you’ve already read the novel, you may still be surprised by the movie’s curve balls. Fincher says that the lesson he learned from bringing Stieg Larsson’s hit novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to the screen in 2011 was that “we may have been too beholden to the source material.” And Flynn, a former EW writer who wrote the screenplay, wasn’t afraid to take a buzzsaw to her own novel. “There was something thrilling about taking this piece of work that I’d spent about two years painstakingly putting together with all its eight million LEGO pieces and take a hammer to it and bash it apart and reassemble it into a movie,” she says.
To read more about Gone Girl – as well as the rest of our 2014 Preview issue spotlighting 98 other hot new releases in movies, TV, music, and books – pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, which hits stands on Friday, Jan. 10.