Just because Netflix spent the past few years developing one of the largest creative sandboxes doesn’t mean that everyone who plays in it always necessarily get along. Case in point? Director David Fincher (Seven) and Marvel Studios; and whether or not Marvel Studios’ impact on Hollywood has been a positive one.
During an interview with Yellow King Film Boy to promote his new Netflix series Mindhunter, the Oscar-nominated Fincher spoke about how the streaming service is offering a creative outlet that he feels is lacking in the current Hollywood movie studio system. For him, it’s about having more artistic options available beyond working for Marvel Studios:
“Look, there’s a very large talent pool of people who are- don’t feel there’s much for them in terms of sustenance working for Marvel. And I think that if we can make a playground for them that is thoughtful, adult, interesting, complex, challenging stories and figure out ways to pull them into it, there’s a chance at something that isn’t lassoed and hogtied by three acts. And there’s something else that doesn’t have to be 22-minute half hour or have a cliffhanger. I think it is an exciting time.”
It’s a debate that ‘s been growing as Marvel Studios continues expanding its programming influence with film franchises such as The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy; and television/streaming series such as The Gifted and Marvel’s The Punisher. Some see Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige as creating a version of the old school studio systems where projects are created more as a collaborative effort meant to maintain a common aesthetic flowing through each film/series. Directors such as James Gunn and The Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe Russo) have thrived in this “shared universe” creative environment, which many credit as being the formula for Marvel Studios’ successes with the fanbase.
Others look to the collaborative effort and “shared aesthetic” as a sign of Marvel’s (and Hollywood’s) long-term problem. From an artistic standpoint, Marvel Studios’ films have been facing backlash accusations of becoming bland and “cookie cutter” versions of each other; pointing to a film like Captain America: Civil War and wondering what makes it different from any other Avengers film. Critics also point to directors Alan Taylor and Edgar Wright as two examples of how even though “The Marvel Method” might be giving fans what they want, they’re crippling the artistic vision of creators with proven track records and depriving fans of a project’s full potential.
Fincher directed the first two episodes and executive produces Mindhunter, which takes place in 1979 and focuses on FBI Special Agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) during the early days of the FBI’s serial killer profiling unit. The partners interview imprisoned serial killers in order to better understand how they think and operate, which they then apply to solving open cases. But as the agents delve deeper into the minds of the most criminally insane, those around them worry if they can find their way back. And even if they do…can they ever be the same?
Mindhunter also stars Anna Torv (Fringe) and Hannah Gross (Unless), with Fincher sharing the directing chair with Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna), Tobias Lindholm (A War, A Hijacking) and Andrew Douglas (The Amityville Horror). Fincher, Joshua Donen (Gone Girl), Charlize Theron (Girlboss, Hatfields & McCoys) and Cean Chaffin (Fight Club) are serving as executive producers.