David Fincher Explains Why Disney's '20,000 Leagues' Remake Sank

Spoiler: It wasn't him
AP Images

If you’ve ever wondered what sank David Fincher’s version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the director has finally opened up about the metaphorical torpedo responsible: the studio system.

Fincher first boarded the planned Disney project in early 2010, following the departure of original director McG. At one point thought to be a Brad Pitt vehicle, the project faltered when the actor passed and it moved through a number of rumored replacements (including Daniel Craig and Channing Tatum) before Fincher himself withdrew last year, choosing instead to make the movie version of Gillian Flynn's critically acclaimed novel Gone Girl.

“It became very hard to appease the anxieties of Disney’s corporate culture with the list of names that allowed everyone to sleep at night,” he explained during an interview with British movie magazine Little White Lies (scanned and posted online at the BradPittOnline Tumblr). “I just wanted to make sure I had the skill-sets I could turn the movie over to. Not worrying about whether they’re big in Japan.”

He went on to say that “movies are different things to different people,” saying that, to him, “they’re a great touchstone to who we were and what [we were] on about at any given time.” That, he said, contrasts with the movie business as it exists today. “The movie business is paid for by Big Macs. By movies as product. Movie studios use that term ‘product’ all the time. Product? You mean you have a lot of stories? No, we have a lot of product.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Fincher touched on this theme while complaining about spoiler culture, calling it “the bane of our existence when we’re making movies.” Increasingly, he argued, “people have some bizarre idea that they need to see exactly what happens in the movie and the five best jokes [in a preview]. I love to see movies without knowing anything about them.”

Gone Girl opens Oct. 3. Fincher would prefer we didn't say anything else about it.