Gone Girl scored with both audiences and critics this weekend, pulling in over $37 million at the US box office while earning an 87% approval rating on Rotten Tomato. Why? I can’t deny the draw of possible Ben Affleck/Batpeen (it looks brooding, doesn’t it?), but it’s more likely that Gone Girl‘s success was born from a mix of Oscar buzz, abundant marketing, dark subject matter, and the interest sparked by director David Fincher’s marquee name and writer Gillian Flynn’s words. Both from her novel and the screenplay that she also penned. Now, HBO’s Utopia is hoping to bank on some of those same assets to build HBO’s next great drama.
Gone Girl, the new movie directed by David Fincher and adapted by Gillian Flynn from her best-selling novel of the same name, has just arrived in theaters, but the pair already have another project in the works. The two are collaborating on a remake of Utopia, the critically acclaimed British conspiracy thriller series created by Dennis Kelly, for HBO.
The series, which received a series order in February, is going to have something in common with fellow HBO series True Detective — in its first year, at least, it’s going to have a single writer and a single director. Fincher told the Guardian earlier this week that he’s planning to direct all of the episodes. Flynn has confirmed to BuzzFeed News that she’s writing all the episodes.
Obviously, David Fincher and Gillian Flynn’s pre-existing working relationship bodes well for this collaboration about a mysterious graphic novel, but it has to be a little strange for Flynn to be adapting someone else’s work this time around.
Fincher said, “I don’t want a big writers room, I want a voice,” Flynn said, adding that Kelly, the creator of the original Utopia, “could not have been more gracious” about her giving the remake her own spin. “I was worried, when I sent him the outline, that he was going to be like, my baby, what have you done?!” Instead, she says, he told her to “keep what works for it and get rid of what doesn’t — otherwise what’s the point of redoing it?”
Gillian Flynn’s name was linked to the Utopia adaptation back in February, but the absence of other “voices” is a new development and it’s quite a vote of confidence for Flynn. Unlike David Fincher, who produces and directed the first two episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards (another UK adaptation), Flynn comes to Utopia with no experience working on the production side of television. She was a TV critic at Entertainment Weekly for a time, though, so I’m sure she’ll get a real kick out of jealous critics like myself who will savage her work with one hand whilst caressing their tightly bound and unwanted manuscripts with the other. Mine is called The Desolation of the Embittered House Painter, by the way.
As of right now, there is no firm date set for when I’ll get to judge Flynn’s work.