Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’ Explored


David Fincher is finally back in the director’s chair for Zodiac, a film that revolves around the Zodiac Killer, a man who murdered dozens of people and wrote weird notes to The San Francisco Chronicle throughout his killing spree, and now the paper is back on the case… so to say.

Today The Chronicle has posted two new articles regarding the killer and the film as they had a chance to visit the set and also revisit the whole ordeal from their perspective including sketch artist photos of the killer, letters sent to the paper, a shot from the film and a look at detectives David Toschi and William Armstrong who were the actual detectives investigating the case.

Fincher is the director of such films as Se7en and Fight Club if you needed some idea of where this one was going. This time around he has employed the talents of Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman and Mark Ruffalo as the lead detectives and reporters for the film, which just finished shooting in the Bay Area and will continue its production for 85 days on Los Angeles sets.

If you wanted an idea of what this killer was capable of check out this quote from one of the articles:

On Dec. 20, 1968, David Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16, pulled to the side of a road in Vallejo. An hour later, a man approached. He shot through their windows. They scrambled to get out. The guy shot Faraday point-blank in the head. Jensen, running away, was hit six times in the back.

The next year, on the Fourth of July, two teenagers, also in Vallejo, drove to an isolated area. The same man approached them and shot them repeatedly.

Thirty minutes later, he called the police. “I want to report a double murder,” he said. “I also killed those kids last year. Goodbye.”

What has made this killer so infamous, besides the unknown number of people he killed, is his taunting of the San Francisco Police Department via letters he would write to The Chronicle, taking credit for his murders, keeping a tally of his kills and threatening his next move. As the first article continues one of his letters is quoted saying:

“This is the Zodiac speaking. I am the murderer of the taxi driver over on Washington + Maple St last night, to prove this here is a blood stained piece of his shirt.”

“School children,” he added, “make nice targets, I think I might wipe out a school bus some morning.”

There are several more descriptions of the murders in that article, and if you click on the pic to the right you can read one of the actual letters sent to the paper.

The second article delves a bit deeper into the actual film production as it brings the world of 1978 back to life. While the article doesn’t really chat with Fincher or any of the cast it does have some good bits, check out a snippet below:

However, Fischer, Fincher and screenwriter Vanderbilt were adamant that as much of the filming as possible not only take place in the Bay Area, but in the exact locations where the Zodiac events took place.

For example, the crew shot at Lake Berryessa, but since the Zodiac killer’s attack there, almost all the site’s trees have died. Production designer Don Burt planted 24 new ones, flying the pin-oak trees in by helicopter, watching them dangle 200 feet below, some of them 45 feet tall and weighing 13,000 pounds.

Burt even used gravel and piping to syphon water from the lake to nourish the trees’ roots from an underground irrigation system he built. He also replanted 1,600 clumps of grass to match the original scenery.

To read the rest of both articles click on your choice below. Each article comes with pics so enjoy!

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Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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