Good interview! Includes handsome photos.Click here to read it.Here's what it says about Button.
His new movie draws heavily on his new techniques. People have talked for years about making The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald story about a man who's born as a seventy-year-old baby and ages backward. But technology lagged behind the demands of the story line. Fincher thinks he's got it now. Instead of using different actors for Benjamin Button and asking the audience to make the mental leap, he will be played at almost every age by Brad Pitt, with his head put onto other actors' bodies. Fincher plays a demo scene, and it's a little freaky and utterly believable. A man sits at a table tapping a spoon, and then the head changes. Same scene, same body, but a new head, flawlessly switched. When Benjamin is aged and decrepit--or young and decrepit, in this case--the role will be played by a smaller actor. The same scene will be reshot with Pitt playing Benjamin. The movements of both actors' faces will be tracked, with Pitt's replacing the original. That's the plan at least. "I sure hope we're right," he says. "Or it's going to be terrible."
After a morning spent laying out the geometry of every shot for Benjamin Button, Fincher's picking minor rolls and body doubles, watching audition tapes, and flipping through a pile of head shots, checking resumes on the backs. "This girl played Giggling Coed?" he says. "I can't believe this is Giggling Coed."
"I know," Laray Mayfield says. "Amazing, right?" She's worked for Fincher for twenty years, since starting as his assistant.
"Is he too handsome?" Fincher says, holding up another glossy photo. "I'm just worried that he's a little modelly. We'll just scruff him up and make him look as bad as he's ever looked."
The last one was too cute, this one too well fed.
"He needs to be gaunt," Fincher says. "He's gotta get gaunt."
"I told him that, and he's lost thirty pounds," Mayfield says. "But I told him to keep going."
In the hallway, Fincher eyes a wall of head shots, many of them elderly actors for the nursing-home scenes. "Are these people robust and healthy?" he says. "I just don't want to get into any tragic continuity issues."
"Well, it's a possibility. God is certainly going to be on our side if we make it without that happening," Mayfield says. "We're dealing with these people at the most vulnerable time of their lives. But this guy's a firecracker. And he drives. All these people still drive and travel."
He nods, satisfied that his actors won't be dying on set. On the way back to his office, Bob Wagner, his assistant director, intercepts him with pictures of blind people circa 1900, answering an earlier query about when the blind started wearing dark glasses. "It doesn't matter how much you do your homework," says Max Daly, the researcher who fields these requests. "He's really good at finding the one detail that was missed. He knows more than anybody."