David Fincher was in a typically misanthropic mood during a conversational discussion with Steven Soderbergh Thursday night at the Tribeca Festival. The directors have been friends since Soderbergh’s independent career began more than thirty years ago, while Fincher became a Hollywood enfant terrible with “Alien 3.”
“I hate reality, but it keeps seeping out,” Fincher told his friend, who moderated the conversation at Spring Studios in Manhattan, noting that he’s “a regret-brewing entity” who loves rehearsal but, he said, ” I don’t know I don’t like shooting. Later, when an audience member asked him for advice on how to get an independent film out into the world, Fincher referred to Soderbergh and said, “I’m a slave. Essentially I’m going to beg for a huge amount of money,” noting that the prodigy “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” might be more apt to answer the question.
But a bit of news to emerge from the conversation that should please ’90s Fincher fans is that the director – now set on Netflix with ‘Love, Death, and Robots’ and the films ‘Mank’ and the upcoming ‘The Killer’ – is working on a 4K remaster of his 1995 serial killer noir ‘Seven’.
It’s likely an unpleasant experience for the director, who said he never looks back on his old job. (“I’m not brave.”) Fincher discussed the specific challenges of polishing his moody urban nightmare with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as idealistic and hardened detectives, respectively, who hunt down a killer who modeled his killings on the Seven Sins capital.
“We’re shooting ‘Seven’ right now, and we’re going back and doing it in 4K from the original negative, and we’ve scanned it, upsampled it, done all the due diligence, and there’s a lot of shit that needs to be fixed,” Fincher said. “Because there’s a lot we can now add because of high dynamic range. You know, streaming media is a very different thing than a 35mm negative film in terms of what it can actually hold. So there’s, you know, a lot of blown windows that we have to go back and ghost in some cityscape out there.
The perfectionist Fincher said that while the problems may not be apparent, “on a 100-inch screen, you look at it and go, ‘What the fuck, did they just have money for the white cardboard out there?’ So that’s the print kind of thing. It just gets blown away by being there. And now you’re looking at it, going, ‘I can see, you know, 500 units of what the fuck.'”
At a time when Steven Spielberg is regretting taking the guns off ‘ET’ for the film’s 20th anniversary re-release, and a racial epithet censored from ‘The French Connection’ on streaming services, Fincher said said he is “fundamentally against the idea of changing what (‘Seven’) is.”
“You can fix, you know, three percent, five percent. If something is egregious, it needs to be addressed. But, you know, I’m not going to take all the guns out of people’s hands and replace them with flashlights,” she said.
“David has a laser pointer and he’s locked into the shot and you’re like, ‘I want that part of the wall to be a quarter of an inch darker,'” Soderbergh said. “I went out and lay down on a couch in the foyer because of what torture it is to see him.”
Fincher’s “The Killer,” starring Michael Fassbender as a murderer turned thief, is expected to hit Netflix this fall.