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Critical Mass: Does David Fincher deliver the chills of 'Gone Girl' to the screen?

“Marriage is hard work,” says Amy Dunne in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

The longer one has been married, the greater one understands the meaning behind the phrase “honeymoon period.” In David Fincher’s adaptation of Flynn’s bestseller, the magical romance between Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) has hit the wall five years in. They fall in love in New York City, but when they both lose their magazine jobs and his mother falls ill in Missouri, they move to his hometown and quickly drift apart. How far apart? Nick may have murdered her.

When Amy goes missing on the day of the fifth anniversary, Nick is the primary suspect. The local cops can’t believe all the evidence against him, and any sympathy he initially gets from the news media vanishes once some of his secrets come to light.

Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay, worked hard to translate the he-said/she-said storytelling, and Fincher wrings the most out of the film’s twists and turns—even though millions of readers already know when to expect them. “I can’t guarantee that the film’s ending will work for everyone (it was always my one nit to pick with Flynn’s novel),” writes EW‘s Chris Nashawaty. “But I will say this: Anyone who loved Gone Girl the book will walk out of Gone Girl the movie with a sick grin on their face.”

Read more from EW’s review, as well as a roundup of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY

Who's that 'Gone Girl'? A chat with Rosamund Pike

Everyone who read Gillian Flynn’s runaway 2012 bestseller Gone Girl quickly had a vision of Amy Dunne in their head. Hollywood was no different: The beautiful blonde who’d been the model for her parents’ popular children’s books, Amazing Amy, who disappeared on the morning of her fifth wedding anniversary, leading to a media frenzy that focused suspicions of foul play on her husband, Nick, could’ve been Reese Witherspoon or Charlize Theron or Emily Blunt. Chances are you didn’t immediately picture Rosamund Pike.

But when the lights come on in the theater after David Fincher’s Gone Girl, don’t expect to hear much second-guessing. Instead, expect some version of, “Who. Was. That?”

Pike so perfectly taps into Flynn’s complex main character, who narrates much of the film, that it’s suddenly difficult to imagine anyone else. And while Pike has been acting in major Hollywood films for more than a decade, Gone Girl might be the first time many casual moviegoers connect the name with a face. Then, working backwards, some may remember her from Jack Reacher, from her role as a vacant party girl in An Education, from playing Ryan Gosling’s new boss in Fracture, from her beautiful reserve as the eldest Bennet daughter in Pride & Prejudice, and from her big-screen debut as a 22-year old in Pierce Brosnan’s last James Bond film, Die Another Day. Clearly, Pike is hardly some overnight success.

“Rosamund was someone that I had seen in four or five different movies over 10 years, and I never got a bead on her,” Fincher said at the New York Film Festival premiere. “I never got a sense of who she was. And I pride myself on being able to watch actors and sort of know instinctively what their utility belt is, and I don’t have that with Rosamund. I didn’t know what she was building off of. There was an opacity there and it was interesting.”

The only child of two British opera singers, Pike graduated from Oxford and acted in theater before segueing into British television, where she was spotted by Bond producers and cast as a Bond Girl named Miranda Frost. (You might remember her fight scene with Halle Berry.) She’s never stopped working, but Fincher was the first major filmmaker to entrust her with a leading role in a big Hollywood production.

With Oscar buzzing growing, Pike might now be elevated to that top rung of actresses whose names will be bandied about the next time a great literary female character is adapted to the screen. She’s already booked her next big project, however, and it’s not a film. She’s expecting her second child with husband Robie Uniacke this November.

Pike spoke to EW about her career, playing Amy Dunne, and the experience of working with David Fincher. READ FULL STORY

'Gone Girl' premiere: Why David Fincher cast Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

“We’re trusting you, obviously, not to, you know, quote us,” said Rosamund Pike with a smile, after her Gone Girl director David Fincher interrupted for the third time to prevent any mention of spoilers from his adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s twisty best-seller. Nevermind that this was during a Q&A after the audience had already seen the much-anticipated film, which opened the New York Film Festival on Friday night. If you’ve read the book, you know the big surprises, but Fincher, who’s put heads in boxes and helped bring Tyler Durden to life on screen, prefers to keep a few things hush-hush until the film opens in theaters on Oct. 3.

Flynn, a former Entertainment Weekly writer, adapted her novel about a five-year marriage gone bad and the media circus that erupts when charming Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is suspected of murdering his missing wife, Amy (Pike). “The entire time when it was about to be purchased for a film, I was like, ‘Only I can adapt it. It has to be me. It has to be me. It has to be me,” said Flynn. “And then they were like, ‘It’s you.’ And I was like, ‘No, no! That seems like a little too much to take on.’ But once I started getting into it, I realized the important thing was to not be slavishly devoted to every plot line but to make sure that it ultimately felt like the book. I was very concerned with the tone and keeping the kind of dark heart of it.” READ FULL STORY

Watch when Amy met Nick in a new 'Gone Girl' clip

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Amy and Nick didn’t always have it so bad.

A new clip from Gone Girl shows the first meeting of the somewhat doomed couple. Amy (Rosamund Pike) might be coyly evasive, but Nick (Ben Affleck) is perfectly persistent, and up to the task of matching her wit. It’s almost cute, but, of course David Fincher’s tinted gaze and the knowledge that things, eventually, go very, very wrong when Amy eventually goes missing just makes the whole encounter ever so creepy.

Take a look below.

READ FULL STORY

Ben Affleck says tabloid scrutiny helped 'Gone Girl' performance

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Ben Affleck looks distinctly ill at ease.

Portraying Nick Dunne—a man attempting to put out the dragnet for his missing-and-presumed dead wife Amy (played by British actress Rosamund Pike)—during a key scene in the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling crime thriller Gone Girl, Affleck has swapped his usual movie star luster for, well, flop sweat. In a sequence that was screened by director David Fincher exclusively for an EW cover story hitting newsstands Friday, Affleck’s Dunne faces a candlelight vigil for Amy crawling with TV cameras, police detectives, and somber neighbors in the sequence, and he appears less like a grief-stricken husband than a shifty dude trying to seem grief-stricken.

“I may not behave the way the cameras want me to,” Affleck tells a crowd that already views him as the prime suspect. “If you need to mock somebody, mock me. But please don’t turn this investigation into a circus.”

“Where’s your wife, Nick?” responded a voice from the darkness. “What did you do to your wife?!”

Affleck, of course, knows the searing glare of the spotlight all too well, having comprised, along with J-Lo, the celebrity entity “Bennifer.” To hear him tell it, portraying a guy who’s being hounded by the press and second-guessed by a judgmental public hardly required extensive prep.

“It wasn’t something I had to do a lot of research for,” Affleck says with a weary smirk. “I knew what it was like to have the tabloid world paying attention to me and ascribing negative motivations to whatever I might be engaging in. I knew what it was to be cast in a soap opera I had no control over.”

According to Fincher, Affleck’s intimate familiarity with being misunderstood by the Fourth Estate— moreover, with “what it’s like to be hunted”—factored heavily in his casting.

“We knew we needed somebody who was charming and could be seductive, who could be a ladies man, a guy’s guy, a frat boy,” Fincher says. “But most important, [someone] who had the wits and experience of knowing that situation. The gift of having Ben Affleck is that this is a guy who knows. He knows what a lose-lose situation is and understands what’s funny about it, however sad.”

'Gone Girl' to open New York Film Festival

Gone Girl, David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling mystery thriller, will open the 52nd New York Film Festival, as first reported by Variety.

The movie stars Ben Affleck as a man who may have killed his missing wife (Rosamund Pike) after they retreat to his hometown in Missouri, following professional setbacks in New York City. Former EW TV critic Flynn wrote the screenplay, and the cast also includes Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Patrick Fugit, and Casey Wilson. READ FULL STORY

Batman gets top billing in Superman's sequel, 'Dawn of Justice'

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Age before beauty.

At least that’s part of the thinking at Warner Bros. when it comes to its Man of Steel sequel, which includes Ben Affleck as Batman. The studio announced today that the 2016 blockbuster will be officially titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The subtitle, “Dawn of Justice,” is a not so subtle nod at the Justice League movie that Warner Bros. and DC Comics already have on the calendar for 2018. (Or maybe it’s a sly reference to director Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead…) READ FULL STORY

Zack Snyder tweets picture of Ben Affleck's Batman costume

Just one day after tweeting an image of the new Batmobile, Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder has posted a new image from the set of his upcoming Man of Steel sequel/Batman reboot/Justice League pilot/Aquaman sidequel. The photo shows a shadowy image of the new Batman costume, as worn by a human being who appears to be Ben Affleck. I say “appears to be” because the only exposed body part you can really see is the chin — although local Affleck scholar Jeff Labrecque insists that it is definitely Affleck chin: READ FULL STORY

'Batman vs. Superman' delays Ben Affleck's 'Live By Night'

Even superheroes only have so many hours in a day.

Ben Affleck’s commitment to Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman — in which he’s playing the Caped Crusader — has forced a delay in the actor-director’s Prohibition-set crime drama Live by Night. Warner Bros., the studio behind both films, moved the superhero flick from summer 2015 to May 6, 2016, causing the subsequent push-back of Affleck’s next directorial venture. Live By Night, which was slated for a Dec. 25, 2015, release, will now hit theaters Oct. 7, 2016. READ FULL STORY

Ben Affleck fights for his innocence in the first official 'Gone Girl' trailer -- VIDEO

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The beautiful, brilliant, and “amazing” Amy Elliott Dunne is gone and all accusatory eyes are laser-focused on her too-handsome husband, Nick. It’s a cruel but inevitable outcome when your wife happens to go missing on your fifth wedding anniversary.

In Gone Girl, we’re left to put together the intricate pieces of the mysterious disappearance. Is Amy (Rosamund Pike) dead? Is Nick (Ben Affleck) innocent? Is it that simple? Or is it pointless to speculate since we already know that author Gillian Flynn tossed out her own third act for something completely new?

The first official trailer doesn’t tell us much (would we even want it to?). But, no one creates a thick cloud of anxiety quite like David Fincher.

Check it out after the jump. READ FULL STORY

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