Tyler Perry is appearing in David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s mega bestselling novel Gone Girl, and he recently spoke to Vulture about the role and said maybe the weirdest thing that ever happened. Honestly, it’s bizarre. But before we get to that, let’s go over some regular things he said.
Fincher offered him the role after seeing him in Alex Cross. The last act is different than the book's twist. He and Ben Affleck frequently led the cast and crew in sing-alongs. Affleck has a giant head. Literally.
“Would you believe that his head and my head are the same size? He's got the biggest head I've ever seen on a person. I mean, it's just ... My head is proportionate to my body. His is not. He's got a big head. And he knows it. He knows it. [Laughs.]”
Now we’re getting to the weird part. Vulture’s Jennifer Vineyard asked him if was aware of the hype surrounding the project before he signed on, and he said,
“I had no sense of that. If I had, I probably would have walked away from it. If I had known ... This is the honest-to-God's truth. If I had known who David Fincher was, and his body of work ... If I had known that the book was so popular, and so many people loved it ... Had I known all those things, I would have said no. And my agent knew that! So he didn't tell me any of those things! Not until after I had signed on to do it. And the reason I wouldn't have done it is because when things are that magical for people and they become very special for people, there's a lot of pressure for it to be what they want it to be.”
What?! Tyler Perry, successful, working director, didn’t have any idea who David Fincher was?! People can have different opinions of Fincher’s work, but he’s a pretty major, influential director. He’s kind of a big deal. And Perry didn’t know anything about him or his films? Well, surely Perry did a ton of research to figure out what he was getting into and showed up on set well-versed in Fincher’s work? NOPE! Because Vineyard asked him if he knew in advance that Fincher did a lot of takes, and he said,
“Nobody told me. The first time I found out he did that was on set. One of my first lines, on the first day, Ben goes, ‘Just want you to know, minimum, 30 takes.’ And the blood was draining from my face. I turned around and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah.’”
Wow. I mean, when I used to temp I would at least google the companies I was assigned to before I just showed up. I am not a man with Perry’s confidence or fame or wealth, though, so I guess it’s different for them. It shows a kind of stunning lack of curiosity, especially when coupled with the fact that he had never heard of the book either. It was “the biggest literary phenomenon of 2012,” a huge seller with almost across the board critical praise. Credit where credit’s due, though, once on set, he did seem to figure out that Fincher knew what he was doing.
“He is the master, man. He is just great. I loved working with him. I learned how to make a movie, number one. — I was just soaking everything up. I was paying attention to every move, every word, everything he was saying when he'd talk to the camera people, the DP — just the level of communication and director-speak was awesome. It makes me want to approach [my next project] with just a little more patience.”
I would love to see Perry take his next Madea movie in a more Fincherly direction. That would be a thing to behold.
Read the whole interview here.