Date of Birth: August 28, 1962
"I don't know how much movies should entertain. To me I'm always interested in movies that scare.Â The thing I love about Jaws is that I've never gone swimming in the ocean again."
It was seeing The Empire Strikes Back that made David Fincher want to make movies. This experience changed the Oregon-born youngster's life, so to get some experience, he started working at an animation company loading cameras.
Â At 18, Fincher asked his neighbor George Lucas if he could have a job at his special effects company Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Lucas gave him a job and he stayed for four years. During his stint at ILM, he had the opportunity to work on Return of the Jedi (1983) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
In 1985, he left ILM to direct the documentary The Beat of the Live Drum. Based on the strength of it, he went on to make TV commercials, his first of which was for The American Cancer Society. He has also directed many music videos for musicians such as Aerosmith, Madonna and The Rolling Stones, six of which have made the MTV's Top 100 list.
Fincher made his directorial debut in the movies with Alien3 (1992), which was then the highest budgeted picture by a first time director. Unfortunately the film was not a pleasant experience for Fincher, having had a difficult time with the people at 20th Century Fox, who built sets without a finished script and made production a nightmare. While it received an Oscar nomination for special effects, the film was not well received by critics or movie goers. Depressed and disillusioned, Fincher retreated back into the world of commercial and music video directing.
Fate finally came knocking on Fincher's door with Andrew Kevin Walker's screenplay for a grisly detective story titled Se7en (1995). About a serial killer creating his own portrait of the seven deadly sins, Se7en got Fincher the critical acclaim that he needed to really launch his film career. Catapulted partially by Brad Pitt's star power, the movie rocketed past the $100 million mark, granting Fincher great position for future work in Hollywood. It is revered as Fincher's best work and remains a cult favorite.
In 1997, Fincher released his third film The Game, which followed a wealthy man through some extraordinary circumstances after he is giving a mysterious birthday present by his estranged brother. Starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, The Game furthered Fincher's success with critical and box office approval. Fincher quickly became a top pick for Hollywood studios, and with a visual style unlike any other in Hollywood, Fincher quickly became a favorite director among film buffs everywhere.
In Fight Club (1999) Fincher worked with Brad Pitt again and also cast Edward Norton. Focusing on a couple of guys who beat each other up and subsequently start a club to do so with others, Fight Club drew much controversy for its violent content and "anti-social" characters, and was short-lived in theaters. However, his movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), also starring Pitt, met with great critical acclaim and in addition to being nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, Fincher himself received a nomination for Best Director. In 2011, he found success again, this time with The Social Network, winning a Golden Globe for Best Director.
His next film was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, but it was Gone Girl (2014) starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike that was his next to receive critical acclaim. It was a huge box office hit and received nominations from the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs, although the only wins were from small associations and film festivals.
Fincher took a detour onto the small screen when he directed several episodes of the series Mindhunter in 2017 and 2019. His next feature film, Mank (2020), has a limited release in theaters before debuting on Netflix. In 2021, it received the most nominations at 10 at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Fincher. It also received five Golden Globe nominations and six BAFTA nominations. The AFI Awards have already honored it with the Movie of the Year award.
Next up, he's scheduled to direct The Killer, starring Michael Fassbender.
Fincher has one daughter, Felix, from his previous marriage to Donya Fiorentino.
Gone Girl (2014)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
The Social Network (2010)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Panic Room (2002)
Fight Club (1999)
The Game (1997)
Aerosmith: Big Ones You Can Look at (1994)
The Beat of the Live Drum (1985)