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EW's PrizeFighter analyzes the Best Actress race, brought to you by Reese Witherspoon

Thank goodness for Reese ­Witherspoon.

Despite a recent surge in strong roles for women (e.g., Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Jennifer ­Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook), Hollywood really dropped the ball when it came to showcasing interesting roles for actresses in 2014. If it weren’t for Witherspoon’s newfound strength as a producer, two of this year’s likely ­nominees wouldn’t exist—and the Best Actress race would look even more dire than it currently does.

Witherspoon herself is one of the primary contenders, of course, for her portrayal of a novice hiker looking for redemption in the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild (which the actress produced). But she also optioned and developed the box office hit Gone Girl, which should land a nomination for Rosamund Pike, playing the iciest (and scariest) wife in modern ­cinema. Neither of them is the front­runner, however. READ FULL STORY

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

Amy Dunne of 'Gone Girl' has a creepy Pinterest account

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Before Amy Dunne, the protagonist of Gillian Flynn’s novel and the upcoming film Gone Girl, went missing, she was apparently really into Pinterest. At least, that’s what a new bit of viral marketing would have us believe.

Yesterday, an account associated with the movie tweeted: “Discover who Amy Dunne was before she went missing through the pins she’s left behind at .”

READ FULL STORY

'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

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

'Gone Girl': Watch the first footage -- VIDEO

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Yes, it’s the whole teaser-for-a-teaser thing! Entertainment Tonight will premiere the first Gone Girl trailer next week, and the sneak peek posted online Friday features the very first footage to hit the Web.

In the 19-second promo, we hear Ben Affleck’s Nick Dunne say some pretty powerful lines (“I did not kill my wife. I am not a murderer”) and witness a physical confrontation between Dunne and his not-yet-gone wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike).

Check it out below, and catch the full trailer on Monday’s ET. READ FULL STORY

Ben Affleck on what to expect from David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' -- EXCLUSIVE

As a director, Ben Affleck is three-for-three, a perfect batting average that includes Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and a Best Picture Oscar for his last film, Argo. But he’s not above picking up pointers from his own directors. To that end, Affleck is in the midst of what might be considered a Ph.D. filmmaking class on the set of Gone Girl, David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel about a woman who goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary. “I truly kind of show up with a notepad,” says Affleck, who plays Nick Dunne, the husband who is suspected of his wife’s murder. “He’s the only director I’ve worked with who I felt like could do everyone else’s job as well, if not better, than they could; who is able to articulate exactly what he was thinking; and who understands the technical side of the work as much as the creative side, which is to say, a lot. I’ve learned more from David in a day or two than I have most movies I’ve spent 80 days on.” READ FULL STORY

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