Books Do It Better: ‘Gone Girl’ Trailer Talk

Rarely does a trailer get a book so. right.

My usual M.O. when I finish reading a book that is going to be a film (or already is one) is to close the book, compose my thoughts, and run to my computer. I need to know as soon as possible if the images that are in my head are the same ones that are coming to the big screen. Usually I am met with frustration and anger and cries of, “Did they even read the book?” while shaking my fists to the sky.

With Gone Girl I was never worried because like Allstate I knew the film was in good hands. It’s being directed by David Fincher. Fincher, my favorite director, the man who brought us Fight Club and The Social Network and another phenomenal book-to-film adaptation The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But I didn’t realize how not worried I had to be until I finished the book Saturday at 3:30 am (in a record of 14.5 hours for me) and then watched the trailer. Everything is spot on.

Gone Girl is a psychological thriller to the highest degree. As I was reading I kept growing more and more excited, not only for the
story, but because of how I could see what Fincher was going to do with the material. Fincher works best in shades of grey (literally and figuratively). His characters are morally ambiguous, usually in retaliation to society or their environments or a combination of the two. What better man to direct a film featuring downright unlikeable characters who manipulate your emotions every chance they get and where nothing is quite as it seems? A film about what knowing someone truly means and about the crazy things love does to us? In my mind, no one.

The casting is pretty spot on with Ben ‘Batffleck’ Affleck and Rosamund Pike in the lead roles of Nick and Amy Dunne. Both look the part, but also have the acting ability to pull off the rolls. I loved Pike in The World’s End, but already in the trailer alone she appears much differently than she did in that film.Her voice over narration is eerie and vulnerable, but with an undercurrent of something more sinister. I love Ben and I think he is perfect for the role of Nick who is described in the books as the working class kid who “looks like the rich-boy villain in an 80’s teen movie.” Both Nick and Ben are likable guys who you sometimes just want to punch. But never has a trailer nailed a moment from a book so perfectly as the quick flash to Ben as Nick attempting to smile at the press conference. Throughout the book many references are to the fact that because he’s so good looking, Nick doesn’t smile often so when he tries it comes off awkward and creepy. Just how Ben plays it. That’s when I knew this movie would be perfect and actually John Bender fist pumped in my living room.

The only thing I was surprised to see was the casting of Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry as Desi and Tanner Bolt respectively. Both actors are not at all how I pictured the characters and I’m hoping NPH can shed his likable persona for this character. Otherwise I can’t wait to see everyone else. I particularly like the looks of Carrie Coon as Margo and Kim Dickens as Detective Booney.

I know that a trailer does not necessarily have to indicated how good a film is going to be, believe me I’ve been let down before (I’m looking at you Where the Wild Things Are), but I just have so much hope for and faith in this film and its director. The only thing that makes me nervous is the fact that they are changing the ending as to not spoil the book for anyone. Flynn herself is the one wrote the screenplay and made the changes, but to me it seems like a disservice to have a book end differently than you intended it and the way it was read and loved/loathed by millions. Believe me, if you haven’t read it, it’s a hell of an ending. But don’t take my word for it, read the book before the film comes out. There’s really no other way to do it.

Final Thoughts

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are doing the music. Score! (Pun intended)
  • If you like Gone Girl then read the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. Each book features a character who played a small part in the previous one and all work for the fictional Dublin Murder Squad. She is one of my favorite current authors and her books have great twists and real fleshed out characters. The 5th book in the series, The Secret Place, comes out today!

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