Asked about the movie’s reported changes — which include a potentially different ending — the best-selling author attempted to douse some of those flames in a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, saying vaguely that “those reports have been greatly exaggerated!”
Flynn went on to explain that “the script has to be different from the book in some ways” — in part because of the change in medium. “You have to find a way to externalize all those internal thoughts and you have to do more with less room and you just don’t have room for everything,” she said of writing for the big screen.
“But the mood, tone and spirit of the book are very much intact,” assured Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay.
“I’ve been very involved in the film and loved it,” she said of her experience working with director David Fincher, before dissecting the differences between writing for screen versus print. “Screenwriting definitely works different parts of your brain than writing a novel. I do love that with novels, you can really sprawl out – it feels quite decadent. With screenwriting, you have to justify every choice. It’s a nice discipline, but definitely not decadent.”
Gone Girl stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. The film hits theaters Oct. 3.
The Hollywood Reporter rounds up five other highlights from the AMA:
1. Flynn watched all of Fincher’s films in preparation
Flynn broke down her approach to her first screenplay, which included a lot of movie-watching. “Since my director was David Fincher, I read all the screenplays and rewatched all the movies — that was not bad homework. I also watched movie adaptations I really respected, like The Talented Mr. Ripley,” she said of her process. “Then I went to town with my book. I read it one last time; I listened to it on audio so it could wake up my brain in a different way, and then I didn’t look at it again — except to grab certain lines of dialogue — so I could let it become a movie.”
2. She’s working on at least two more novels (and one of them’s YA!)
After much of 2013 was spent writing the Gone Girl script, Flynn revealed that she’s just now finally starting to dive into her next adult novel. “It is a big, sprawling American folkloric tale of murder,” she previewed. The author is also heading into YA territory, with a planned book for the teen/young adult set. Though details were scarce, Flynn promised one thing: “No vampires.”
3. She builds in plot points last
Flynn made the admission when asked about her favorite genres (thrillers, naturally). “I do think at some point I’d do a non-thriller, non-mystery. It might actually be easier: Plotting is the least of my strong suits, and thrillers take a lot of plot – I usually build that in afterwards,” she said.
4. She thinks Sharp Objects is the easiest book of hers to adapt
Out of her three-book arsenal, Flynn believes Sharp Objects would be the simplest to bring to the big screen. “I think of the three books, it would actually be the easiest to translate to film and could be wildly creepy.” Funnily enough, it’s the one book, already optioned, that has yet to move forward into production. (Dark Places stars Charlize Theron and hits theaters Sept. 4.)
5. She wrote many Nick/Amy scenes that went unused
Because Gone Girl relies on two completely unreliable narrators, Nick and Amy Dunne, Flynn knew she had to make them “believable” characters, so she created iPod playlists and Netflix queues. “I wrote scenes of them in childhood from other people’s points of view: A scene of Amy in high school, written from her friend’s POV, or Nick’s kindergarten teacher writing about parent-teacher conference night,” she said. “Stuff I knew I’d never use, but would help me flesh them out.” But one of those bits managed to stay: “Amy’s Cool Girl speech started as a writing exercise, but that one I liked so much I kept it for the book.”