Tyler Perry Goes from Not Knowing Who David Fincher is to Praising Him and ‘Gone Girl’


Tyler Perry in Gone Girl
Tyler Perry in Gone Girl
Photo: 20th Century Fox

On Monday we learned from an interview with New York Magazine (via Vulture, though this time with a little bit of praise added to the quote.

“I had no sense of [how big the book was],” Perry said. “If I had, I probably would have walked away from it. If I had known … This is the honest-to-God’s truth. If I had known who David Fincher was, and his body of work … If I had known that the book was so popular, and so many people loved it … Had I known all those things, I would have said no. And my agent knew that! So he didn’t tell me any of those things! Not until after I had signed on to do it. And the reason I wouldn’t have done it is because when things are that magical for people and they become very special for people, there’s a lot of pressure for it to be what they want it to be.”

I’m trying hard not to be judgmental, but this, to me, says a lot about who Perry is as an “artist”. He’s afraid of the pressure and had he known how much pressure there would be associated with the project he would have turned it down. His thoughts on Fincher, however, while it still sounds like he had no clue who Fincher was before signing on, he did get a lesson really quickly in just how many takes Fincher likes to do, but he had nothing but kind words to say of his director:

Nobody told me [how many takes he does]. The first time I found out he did that was on set. One of my first lines, on the first day, [Ben Affleck] goes, “Just want you to know, minimum, 30 takes.” And the blood was draining from my face. I turned around and I was like, “Are you serious?” He was like, 
”Yeah, yeah, yeah.” But I’ll tell you what I found, what I found in it. I love studying people. And I realized that this man sees like no other person I’ve ever known. I think his own vision is hyper, so when he’s doing a take, he’s seeing everything on that screen all at once. I mean, it’s almost like some kind of alien. And until all those things line up, he’s not happy. But he is brilliant at getting the perfect shot. So once I realized that it’s not me, or it’s not Ben — it could be a napkin turned the wrong way, he’s just looking at every little detail in the scene — so once I realized that, I was ready to go with it. He is the master, man. He is just great. I loved working with him. I learned how to make a movie, number one. — I was just soaking everything up. I was paying attention to every move, every word, everything he was saying when he’d talk to the camera people, the DP — just the level of communication and director-speak was awesome. It makes me want to approach [my next project] with just a little more patience.

By the end of that quote Perry sounds like just about every other actor/director that works with a highly regarded filmmaker, soaking in all they can and hopefully using it for their future films. Of course he also mentions Fincher’s eye for detail, something that can’t be taught or even learned so I don’t expect Perry to suddenly start churning out masterpieces, but at the very least I hope he learned more than he did when he starred in Alex Cross for Rob Cohen.

Finally, Perry has seen a “rough cut” of the film, though he tells Vulture Fincher’s idea of a rough cut, “To me, it looked great,” he said. “I was beyond impressed, blown away. I laughed and I was moved and I just thought the performances were amazing. It’s incredible. He’s brilliant. It’s pretty awesome. He nailed it. I didn’t read the entire book, because I didn’t want to take in a lot of the backstory of the characters if it wasn’t in the script for the film. I didn’t want to have a lot of that in my head. But I think he nailed it, though.”

I wouldn’t expect him to say anything less, but along with this morning, Gone Girl and so many other films unseen, 2014 could still shape up to be an amazing year at the movies, even though summer was a bit of a letdown.

Gone Girl will open the New York Film Festival before hitting theaters on October 3.