Romanek Talks Fincher

In a recent interview, promoting his new and very beautifully shot movie Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek talks about David Fincher, their starting out as directors together and Fincher's way of working with studios.

Romanek's work in commercials and music videos may be equally iconic as Fincher's achievements. His breaking into the realms of feature films doesn't seem to evolve quite on the same level as Fincher's -- with only two and a half movies to his credit.

Apart from talking about his new film, starring The Social Network actor Andrew Garfield and last year's Academy sweetheart Carey Mulligan (»An Education«), Romanek talks about David Fincher's and his beginnings at Propaganda Films:

"I guess I was in the right place at the right time along with a bunch of other guys. (...) It’s like there was this exciting sense. David Fincher the other day was saying it was like “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” It was just this moment, particularly at Propaganda and Satellite Films, where you really felt you were part of something going on in the zeitgeist. And people were culturally, on a global scale, they were paying attention to what you were doing. So if you were making this thing, it would be serviced to 17 countries the next day. Back then, it’s only 10 years ago or something, they didn’t really do movies day-and-date globally. And TV commercials were usually pretty regional. But music videos, if you made a music video, it went out to 22 countries the day you finished the master. That’s pretty heady stuff. And to young people, by and large, who are going to have an effect on the culture.

And it was very exciting because I had an office. Spike Jonze had an office next to me, and David Fincher was down the hall, and David Lynch was walking around, and Michel Gondry would come over from France to do a video. And we’d all be at the coffee shop at Propaganda talking shop. It was pretty f--king cool."

[David Fincher] is not the cowboy that people think he is.

– Mark Romanek

In the second part of the interview Romanek talks a lot of production and financing, his experience on prepping »Wolfman«, for example, and again cites Fincher for having devised a much more efficient way of producing movies than the traditional studio model:

I would love to make a big film. But I didn’t have the clout and the leverage to make it and organize the production how I would do it. Because there are much, much more efficient ways to make a bigger move than the way the studios make them. That’s what David Fincher does. He’s earned the right to say, “You give me the money and let me put together the production, my producer and my people. And I will do it efficiently and put all the money on the screen.” He’s not the cowboy that people think he is. He works with the studio and they’re involved. It’s not like, “I’ll see you at the premiere.” But he gets to organize it as he wants to as a production to facilitate what he wants to get on the screen, not what suits the studio’s comfort level.

It's great to see these two masters still hanging out much and staying in contact (as evidenced by a couple of iPhone snaps recently, here and here), and most of all showing so much creative, artistic and professional respect for one another.

Unlike the Cameron vs. Canton issue.

Thanks to Christophe for this amazing contribution.
Here is the interview, in two parts:

Slashfilm: Interview with Mark Romanek, Part I
Slashfilm: Interview with Mark Romanek, Part II


  1. Must have been an incredible work experience, with all that talent around. Wasn't Michael Bay also in the early Propaganda crew? Wow, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Mark Romanek, David Fincher, those guys really changed the business.

  2. Check it out;

  3. God, I hate Gondry and his quirky style! And why does he have to repeat it on every fucking commercial and film he's doing?

  4. Uhm, his latest doesn't look anything like the stuff he's done before. What's wrong with you?