Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball, The Social Network) has written a short Vanity Fair piece about the personality and temperament of David Fincher, director of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and, of course, The Social Network. Here are the portions that I like the most, in my own order and with edits:
“For three months leading up to the Oscars we’d been going head-to-head with the eventual Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, and six hours after David lost [the Best Director Oscar] to that film’s director, Tom Hooper, he sent me an e-mail with his unused acceptance speech attached. It began, “We’ve finally answered the question, ‘Apples or oranges?'”
“Off the top of my head I can think of 10 people who cared more than David did when his name wasn’t called. I don’t want to give Academy members the wrong idea — he respects the Academy and its highest honor — he just doesn’t cry over spilt milk. David doesn’t cry over anything. My guess is that his single biggest reason for wanting to win was to avoid having people offer condolences for not winning.”
“David Fincher in a bad mood isn’t easy to discern from David Fincher in a good mood. Fincher tired is the same as Fincher energized. There’s never anything about his demeanor that asks you to ask, ‘What’s wrong?’ This might be what people mean when they talk about strength. Also focus.
“David has great patience with people who aren’t as gifted as he is. What he can’t abide are people who don’t work as hard as he does. And he won’t work with people who don’t care as much as he does. Everyone who works in Hollywood has two personalities: their real one and the one assigned to them by rumor. The rumor about David is that he’s gruff, harsh, and difficult to work with. The truth about David is that he’s warm, honest, and an exceptionally generous collaborator. He’s fine with the rumor.”