Scribes Step Down From "Black Hole"

Screenwriters Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, of "Stardust", "Pulp Fiction" and "Killing Zoe" fame, most recently collaborated for the screenplay of Bob Zemeckis' "Beowulf". For the adaptation of Charles Burns' graphic novel "Black Hole" the two were brought in to smack out the script under the project's previous helmer, Alexandre Aja -- and now confirmed they have stepped down when David Fincher took over.

In an interview with MTV Neil Gaiman admits the decision to depart from the further development of the film, which Gaiman and Avary had been working on for two years already, was mostly due to creative (or shall we say technical?) differences between Fincher and the writers.

"David explained his process consisted of having over ten drafts, done over and over, and Roger and I were sort of asked if we wanted to, if we were interested in doing that. And we definitely weren’t."

Two things I find vigorously interesting about this statement -- apart from my opinion that it can only be half true, which I will explain later.

First off, it's great to finally learn something about Fincher's development process. That he works with his writers on many drafts of the story, over and over, in order to get it right. Having "more than ten", to be honest, is not that much. Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga of "Babel", "21 Grams" and "Amores Perros" (who also wrote the "Powder Keg" short-film of the BMW "The Hire" series, produced by Fincher) once explained, his process consisted of writing as many as 70 drafts of a script. With starting every new draft from a blank page! Of course "more than ten" might also mean "more than 50".

Secondly I find it both interesting and suspicious that Gaiman's statement circles solely around "the process" -- as opposed to creative and personal considerations, such as, did they agree on the perspective and the main themes they wanted to explore; did they feel like they could work well as a creative team and deliver a film they themselves would love to see. And frankly this is the point I find rather implausible: For writers to step down from a project because they didn't want to write the drafts it needed? I don't believe that is the only, let alone the primary reason for their decision: Gaiman and Avary are both pros. They should be as free as barely anyone to choose what they do and don't want to write, and that decision should boil down to their personal interest in the story and the creative team, and if they feel they can bring something to the project ... and not be about technicalities of the process. Not wanting to write a certain number of drafts? That should get you fired in Hollywood and elsewhere quicker than you can apologize!

Anyhow, even if it may sound so, I am not bashing on the writers here. Much rather I am suspecting there were more substantial creative and or personal differences between the three, that informed this decision. And that Gaiman might not want to speak up about.

David, if you're still looking for a replacement -- I'll write a thousand drafts to be able to work with you!

Tell me what you guys think of this news. Here's the original source:
MTV: Neil Gaiman Escapes "Black Hole"


  1. i will write the script for only $20,000

  2. sell-out! if there's one thing we dont need its discount screenwriters..hehe

  3. I'll do it for free. And I'm a credible person, as you can tell from my anonymous name.

  4. it's hollywood. there's probably more going on beneath the surface then gaiman let us know.

    avary had a quarrel with tarantino over some work they did together most notably he not being credited in true romance.

    gaiman, as far as i know and up until this point is all ok in the hollywood book. not the he is satisfied with, but it seems people are satisfied with him.

    i hope they hire an even better writer to do the job. gaiman and avary are great, but they're not the best.

  5. Fincherfanatic, I slept with your girlfriend, but I want to stay anonymous, for obvious reasons.

  6. Hello Mr. Fincher!

    I am a big fan of yours!
    Can you tell me how to become a big director like you?
    Thank you.

    My E-Mail address is

  7. Anonymous

    I had a threesome with your mother and your girlfriend and I am damn proud of it. You're mom has a bit of a problem with her teeth but you know how it goes.

    Anyways come back here and shit talk some more, I' sure you have absofuckinglutely nothing else better to do with your life.

    take care and say hi to you mother for me.

    As for Tom

    If you want to be a big shot director go out and shoot something then show it to people.

    Say hi to your mother for me too



    As much as I enjoy the verbal skirmishes, please do mind an overall respectful tone or at least refrain from explicit language and personal offensivesness.

    I want to be able to allow all your comments to keep an interesting and diverse discussion and exchange of opinion going.

    If you want to argue with someone, get creative language-wise and stay as moderate as your temper allows.


  9. That's a bit harsh kevin, 'innit? Tom just wanted to know something. You're not that different.

  10. @ Tom

    Certainly the right way to become a big director like David Fincher is doing pretty much what he has done: Shoot, shoot, shoot stuff. Music videos, commercials, short films, feature films. With every project you direct you (should) learn, and thus with every project you should get better.

    Also, I believe it's important to watch as many movies as you can and analyze them: How are the scenes lit, shot, edited; what's the perspective, the lense and the movement of the camera; how are the scenes staged. Your personal taste will dictate which works of which directors you like and through analyzing and learning what they have done and WHY they have done it in a certain way, you will first learn the language of film, then -- once you get comfortable with that -- attain your own style.

    Finally, if you want to be a director as big as Fincher you must prove a good hand in choosing the right material (screenplays, stories) and find the right tone and thematic angle to tackle them.

    Because what made Fincher big? -- The oddity but brilliance of movies like SE7EN, THE GAME, FIGHT CLUB and ZODIAC.

    Good luck to you... and everyone else with the same goal. -- We'll always need great movies!

  11. @ Brent

    It seem that Tom is being more than a little bit cheeky.

    That doesn't read to me like a serious question but a sarcastic jab at Fincherfanatic and the participants of this blog.

    Like his inablity to recognize that this blog isn't affilated personally with David Fincher.

    "Can you tell me how to become a big director like you?"

    I doubt Fincher walks around saying "I'm a big shot director, I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread" that seem like an attitude more appropriately attributed to Bret Rattner.

    Maybe I am wrong. Maybe "Tom" is seriously asking that question. I think it's a question a seven year old would ask but maybe he is seven.

    To be honest my reply was sincere. if you want to be a big director go make some movies and show them to people.

    There's no magic trick involved. If you have talent people will see and people will want to work with you.

    the point of showing your work is to do that-get people interested in working with you.

    "Say hi your mother for me too" was in fact meant to be a kiss off to him, because I don't read his question as serious and it's entirely possible that I am wrong.