So I watched Alien 3 for the first time yesterday.
I’m terrible at writing out my opinions on movies so I’ll just say that I thought it showed a lot of potential with its opening (and for most of the first 1/3rd of the movie), but after that it pretty much just went downhill with occasional bumps up in quality. I don’t think it’s the absolute trainwreck that everyone/the internet led me to believe though. Weaver turns in a fine performance, the sets are great for the most part (way too many generic hallways), Elliot Goldenthal wrote a pretty unsettling score, and the basic ideas behind the movie are solid and show potential. It’s just a shame that it wasn’t able to live up to its potential due to a truly fucked-up production.
Which leads me to why I’m writing this. Thanks to the making-of docs, I know all about Fincher’s troubles with making the movie, but I wanted to see if there was anything online of him talking about his experience since he declined to participate in any of the special features for the re-release.
I managed to find this Q&A conducted while he was actually still filming:
Fincher: So what do you want to know about my movie?
Q: How you got involved, the production process, what happened in London. All that staff.
Fincher: Well, it’s weird, because when I got involved, it was, we have a movie to make. How do we solve these problems? How do we get this movie made? I’d love to just take the 50 million bucks and just fuckin’ start over again.
Q: That’s worth talking about. Maybe we can save some young director…….
Fincher: What would you say? There’s no way a first-time director can make a $50 million movie in this town with the fuckin’ recession on the eve of the millennium, you know, with the panic that exists in this business right now. There’s no way. You can’t do it, because in the end, if you can’t say, “I made Jaws, trust me,” why should they trust you? One time, (producer) David Giler, incredibly aggressive and pissed off on a conference call with Fox, said, “Why are you listening to him for, he’s a shoe salesman!”.
Q: Meaning your Nike commercial.
Fincher: Exactly. And it’s perfectly valid. What do I know? I’m a shoe salesman.
This is from the same article too, I just thought it was hilarious.
[Fox Executive Tom] Jacobson asks another question. Maybe he’s just making conversation. “The planet,” he says, “is that being done in camera?” Fincher shrugs, “we didn’t plan it that way. We haven’t found the right planet. We have location scouts out.”
This interview was done after Benjamin Button was released:
MS: At the risk of opening old wounds, what did you take from that experience that has subsequently helped you in your Hollywood career?
DF: It was a baptism by fire. I was very naive. For a number of years, I’d been around the kind of people who financed movies and the kind of people who are there to make the deals for movies. But I’d always had this naive idea that everybody wants to make movies as good as they can be, which is stupid. [audience laughs] So I learned on this movie that nobody really knows, so therefore no one has to care, so it’s always going to be your fault. I’d always thought, “Well, surely you don’t want to have the Twentieth Century Fox logo over a shitty movie.” And they were like, “Well, as long as it opens.” So I learned then just to be a belligerent asshole, which was really: “You have to get what you need to get out of it.” You have to fight for things you believe in, and you have to be smart about how you position it so that you don’t just become white noise. On that movie, I was the guy who was constantly the voice of “We need to do this better, we need to do this, this doesn’t make sense”. And pretty soon, it was like in Peanuts: WOP WOP WOP WOP WOP! They’d go, “He’s doing that again, he’s frothing at the mouth, he seems so passionate.” They didn’t care.
And finally, Fincher being interviewed right after Alien 3 opened:
David Fincher sighs again. Struggling with the alien has been a bloody and expensive learning experience. A $50m learning experience to be precise. ‘You know,’ he concludes, ‘if I make 10 shitty movies, I’ll deserve the flak and if I go on to make 10 great ones, this’ll probably be looked upon as my first bungled masterpiece.’
There’s much more at all of the links, I just thought some people might be interested in all this as much as I am.
poor davey wavey
i got mad respect for him putting up with all of the bullshit he did and producing what some people may consider a cinematic “failure” on his FIRST FILM but then STILL going on to make fight club and the girl with the dragon tattoo.
i got such a nerd boner for this man, like you don’t even know.
bless you, mr. fincher. if i ever go on to do a movie and it’s a trainwreck, i’ll look to you for guidance. (i’ll also try to not take on the third part of an already super famous series, but hey, you got spunk.)
alien 3, for what it’s worth, really isn’t that terrible. i agree with what is said above, that the first bit of it looks really promising…and then it just sort of peters off.
in other news
in like a week (or in my case, after i get back from bonnaroo)