Papa Vinyard here, now here's a little somethin' for ya...
We thought that David Fincher was ready to sign on to direct the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic on one condition: that he be allowed to cast Christian Bale as the eponymous tech legend. Well, it seems there was another condition, and it seems that Sony is unwilling to pay Fincher's $10 million asking price, as well as fulfilling the other amenities he requested as part of his deal to helm the flick.
This is being attributed to Sony's disappointment at the reception given to the studio's last collaboration with Fincher, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, for which the director landed a similar deal, and led to semi-disappointing results. THR quotes a source as saying Fincher's demands are "ridiculous," and "You’re not doing TRANSFORMERS here. You’re not doing CAPTAIN AMERICA. This is quality — it’s not screaming commerciality. He should be rewarded in success but not up front.”
But this is TRANSFORMERS or CAPTAIN AMERICA, in that it is a studio trying to use a pre-established brand to get their movie off the ground, the brand here being "Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher." The last collaboration between the two, THE SOCIAL NETWORK didn't quite match the grosses of DRAGON TATTOO, but it had less than half the film's budget, spend far less on marketing, and has a much better reputation with moviegoers and critics combined (as well as winning three Academy Awards vs. TATTOO's one). Fincher knows they want him for this, and he knows he can play hardball, so if he doesn't care about the project enough to lower his asking price, it looks like Sony doesn't need him badly enough to comply with his demands.
I don't see this as any sort of tragedy. Sure, the film may have been awesome, but does the world really need another Aaron Sorkin/David Fincher tech-related biopic? While I adore THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and love Fincher's contributions to that film, it isn't really the best venue for his visual style, and I can bet a good number of directors out there can do justice to Sorkin's script and make a solid film out of it. Plus, Fincher's got plenty to do, including his remake of Channel 4's UTOPIA and his duties on HOUSE OF CARDS, so it's not like he's chomping at the bit for more work right now.
If Sony wants the marketing push and quality assurance that hiring Fincher gives them, then they should nut up and give the man his money like he's Donald Westlake's Parker gunning down their men. This news getting out already makes his passion for this project publicly questionable, but even the studio can't deny that "FINCHER. SORKIN. JOBS" would look great on a movie poster. If they want an all-but-assured box-office turnout, as well as possible Academy recognition, $10 million and relinquished creative control seems like reasonable things to part with.
We'll see how this shakes up, but I'd imagine Sony is trying to get Bennett Miller on the phone as we speak...