“I never really thought about film festivals before,” he says. “I don’t think of myself as making festival pictures. I was shocked when they said they wanted the movie for competition. I thought it was a little too … lurid.”
Fincher says he initially offered Zodiac, his account of the serial killer who terrorised northern California in the 1960s and 70s, to Cannes for an out-of-competition screening, thinking that’s where they normally dump product they sneer at but want the stars to decorate the red carpet. But no: with his sixth feature film, Fincher was in. “I don’t know. It’s an odd choice. It doesn’t seem arty enough.”
Zodiac may or may not be arty, but it’s certainly artful. Fincher’s source material was a book written in the mid-1970s by Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist on the San Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper to which the Zodiac sent a number of his mocking, threatening letters. Mindful of his past form – in the shape of his second feature Seven, one of the best-known serial-killer thrillers of the 1990s – Fincher went out of his way to establish clear water between that undeniably lurid carve-em-up and his far more sober true-crime project.
“I knew people would think: why would you make another fucking serial killer movie? There’s plenty of reasons not to. When I sent it out, I just said, read this, tell me what you think. It’s not that Seven thing. We already did that.”
Read the rest of the interview here.