On Sept. 26, we were on the red carpet for the world premiere of Fox’s latest film “Gone Girl,” which kicked off the New York Film Festival presented by the Film Society Of Lincoln Center. The evening was presented by Italian fashion house Gucci, which dressed both the film’s star Ben Affleck and director David Fincher. Affleck wore a Made to Measure midnight blue peak lapel two button Marseille suit with a teal dress shirt, navy tie and black leather laceups. Fincher wore a Gucci black notch lapel two button Signoria suit with a white dress shirt, navy tie and brown leather laceups.
They were joined by cast members Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Lisa Banes, David Clennon, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Lola Kirke, Scoot McNairy, Missi Pyle, Emily Ratajkowski, Sela Ward, and Casey Wilson. The film’s writer Gillian Flynn, composer Trent Reznor, producers Reese Witherspoon, Ceán Chaffin, Leslie Dixon, and Bruna Papandrea were also spotted.
David Fincher’s film version of Gillian Flynn’s phenomenally successful best seller (adapted by the author) is one wild cinematic ride, a perfectly cast and intensely compressed portrait of a recession-era marriage contained within a devastating depiction of celebrity/media culture, shifting gears as smoothly as a Maserati 250F. At once a grand panoramic vision of middle America, a uniquely disturbing exploration of the fault lines in a marriage, and a comedy that starts pitch black and only gets blacker. Ben Affleck graciously stopped for reporters on the red carpet, read what he told us about playing Nick Dunne:
How did you prepare for this role?
Ben Affleck: I prepared by working with David, talking to Gillian, and my understanding is that I had to do two things. One, I had to try to be accessible and honest in the performance and two, I also had to really be careful about … figuring how much we give away, what we don’t, how we allow the audience to think of him. Is he somebody that we make judgements about? Is he somebody that we like? Even when we find out he may have done something wrong, do we understand why? So it was a tricky balancing act that I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to pull off without David, who is nothing if not detail-oriented.
Are your experiences with the media similar to the challenges your character faces when he has to deal with the media firestorm?
Ben Affleck: It’s a little different. I definitely have a lot of experience with the press and I’ve been doing this as an actor now for a while, so I’ve sort of seen a lot of different sides of it. This particular satire … is about the cable media, the way it finds sensationalism and it uses that for sanctimony and it kind of creates a story if it’s not there and how every American can reel off the names of the last ten killers that were famous like Amanda Knox, Scott Peterson and the list goes on and a part of our culture has kind of become addicted to that and it doesn’t give you answers, but it does say, why are we so into this? We’re always turning on the TV and it’s the same twenty seconds of the story over and over again.
Speak about returning to acting post “Argo.”
Ben Affleck: You know I’ve gotten to a point where … I don’t want to act unless it’s a director I really respect – that I can learn from as a director, who David absolutely is. It was like a master class for me and also who I trust completely and both of those were there with David. So it was a really nice relief where they would say cut and I could go back to my trailer and if the whole thing fell down, I was like “Ok, you deal with it.” It was nice to take that off my plate and a joy to work with David.
What did you learn from David that you can apply to yourself as a director?
Ben Affleck: I learned a ton from David. The central thing was – and I think this applies to anything you do – you come up against resistance in any job you hear, “You don’t do that, can’t ask that question, you can’t go to that thing, don’t say that, don’t go too far, don’t demand that stuff.” The truth is that David just doesn’t give a f—. He’s like, “no this is what we’re doing” and it turns that if you insist on what you want enough, it can happen … If you just demand that that’s how you’re going to shoot it or that’s how you’re gonna do your job, the people who said no to you go “Oh ok, I guess you can.” It amazed me because I have always been sort of polite and if people say, “No it costs too much money, you can’t do it in the movie,” I go “Ok, that’s too bad, let’s try something else.” So from now on, I’m not taking no for answer.
Writer Gillian Flynn said that she pictured a lot of couples breaking up after this movie. What is the best worst date movie in your opinion?
Ben Affleck: I guess “Fatal Attraction,” right? You get your rabbit boiled and somebody gets shot at the end. If we should be so lucky by the way to do that much business. The last movie that I can think of where the conversations I had afterwards were this divided in terms of men and women was “Chasing Amy” and that was a long time ago and we’ve come a long way actually since then in terms of what does it mean to be a lesbian, bisexual so on and so forth, so it’s been rare for me and it’s nice to have one to actually talk about, instead of being like “that thing really blew up, didn’t it? Yeah it sure did, it exploded. Thanks folks.” You know?
We heard Jennifer read the book, did she convince you to take the role?
Ben Affleck: She had read the book, but there was never any doubt! And she’s friends with Reese, they’re very good friends and the kids hang out and stuff, but there was never any question once I knew David was doing it … I would have done the phone book with David.
“Gone Girl” hits theaters Oct. 3. The New York Film Festival is presented by Royal Bank of Canada, Jaeger-LeCoultre, American Airlines, The New York Times, HBO, Stella Artois, The Kobal Collection, Variety, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Row NYC Hotel, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Stay tuned for more of our coverage.