Tyler Perry didn’t know David Fincher or his work before signing on to ‘Gone Girl’

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Of all the weird and wonderful casting choices for Gone Girl, I still think the weirdest choice was Ben Affleck. But the second weirdest choice was Tyler Perry, who plays Nick’s defense attorney. Tyler has a new interview with Yahoo where he discusses how he came into a movie solely as an actor (he’s not producer/writer/director/Madea). As it turns out, Tyler Perry didn’t even know director David Fincher. Perry didn’t know Fincher personally, nor did he know Fincher’s work. That’s weird, right? But Perry says he got along great with Ben Affleck, so… okay.

Ben Affleck and Tyler Perry bonded on the set of Gone Girl the old fashioned way – through sing-a-longs. Perry, who plays celebrity lawyer Tanner Bolt in the upcoming adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 best-seller, tells New York Magazine that Affleck had a tendency to burst into ’80s tunes in between takes. Impressed with his co-star’s encyclopedic song knowledge, Perry decided to put it to the test.

“One day, I was like, I’m just going to see how wild he can get. So I started singing [Bette Midler’s] ‘The Rose,’ and he could do it!” Perry reveals. How did director David Fincher, who runs a famously tight ship, react to his cast belting Bette? According to Perry, “he was singing along, too!”

Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl promises to be full of surprises – and Perry’s involvement got the ball rolling when he signed on. The entertainment mogul behind the Madea franchise rarely appears in films he doesn’t direct, write, or produce himself. When he agreed to play Gone Girl’s charismatic defense attorney, Perry wasn’t familiar with the film’s inspiration or its A-list director (whose films include The Social Network and Fight Club). “I probably would have walked away from it. If I had known who David Fincher was, and his body of work, or if I’d known the book was so popular, I would have said, No,” he admits. “And my agent knew that! He didn’t tell me until after I signed on!”

Though wary about playing a character from a beloved book, which he describes as “a lot of pressure,” Perry had fun making the film. In particular, he recalls a scene in which he had to lob gummy bears at Affleck’s head during multiple takes. (The jelly beans of the book were deemed “too hard” to throw at a movie star’s face.) “Listen – the man walks around with packs of Jolly Ranchers in his pockets,” Perry says of Affleck. “He loves them! So gummy bears – he’s a happy camper. I just made sure that as I was throwing them, it was off to the left, because I was worried about hitting him in the eye.”

As for perfectionist director Fincher, Perry says he was “always smiling” – except for one time when a crew member’s phone rang during filming. To preserve the on-set harmony, Perry stepped in.

“I could see (Fincher’s) eyes turning, and before he could say anything, I said it was my phone,” Perry says. “What’s he going to do? I’m bigger than him!”

[From Yahoo]

My take on Perry’s comments is that of course he had seen some of Fincher’s films before but had never put together the name “David Fincher” with his films. I guess? It’s sort of left in the air. I wonder how Fincher felt directing Tyler Perry. I hope someone asks Fincher that during the film’s promotion. As for Tyler and Ben getting along… who knew Ben could sing all the 1970s & 80s classics? While it doesn’t seem like that Ben and Tyler would “bro out,” they probably liked each other and it was a growth experience for both of them.

During the Emmys telecast, a new trailer for Gone Girl dropped. You can see a bit of Tyler in here but what really excites me is Nick talking to Amy’s ex-boyfriend and they’re asking each other, “Did you do it?” Yay, a part of the book I remember.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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82 Responses to “Tyler Perry didn’t know David Fincher or his work before signing on to ‘Gone Girl’”

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  1. Toniko says:

    Yeah, don’t believe him for a second. Hollywood filmmaker and AMPAS directing branch member (i know, shocking!) doesn’t know who David Fincher is?

    • It is what it is says:

      +10

    • Jenns says:

      Exactly. His comments are total BS. Unless he doesn’t like Fincher, which is possible because Fincher can be a pain in the a**, and he is being passive aggressive.

    • Talie says:

      If he is a member of the Director’s branch, his comments are downright embarrassing for the Academy.

    • V4Real says:

      It’s kind of hard to believe that he doesn’t know the director who made Jake Gyllenhaal cry on the set of Zodiac because of doing the same takes over and over, that’s him right. Or the same man that said RDJ was pissed at him on that same film for not giving them many breaks during filming so RDJ pissed in bottles and left them where David would find them. I heard this man is a pain in the ass to work for so maybe Tyler was just pretending not to know him.

      • T.C. says:

        @V4real,

        I don’t think those Fincher stories are common knowledge. I don’t even remember them. What is common knowledge is Fincher’s three famous movies: Fight Club, The Social Network and Seven. The Oscar race between The King’s Speech and TSN is recent history and covered by every media outlet and newspaper. Yes in Atlanta too where Perry lives. You can’t call yourself a director and not know about famous people in your field. It makes Perry look ignorant.

  2. Abbott says:

    I don’t get how one can be a multi-hyphenated entertainment mogul and not know David Fincher and/or his work. Sounds like Madea doesn’t like letting someone else have creative control. Tyler Perry presents David Fincher’s Dial Madea for Murder?

  3. L says:

    Perry is full of it. 80% of those stories that all actors give in press interviews are calculated by managers and pr staff to send out a certain message. Perry’s is that he’s to indie for the mainstream.

    Total bs.

    • Sullivan says:

      Yep. Even the heroic phone story doesn’t ring true.

    • Jen says:

      Except Tyler Perry’s image is nowhere near “indie”? He’s known for making ridiculous moralizing movies that people inexplicably eat up. He’s also successful as hell, and saying he doesn’t know who another successful and lauded director is when you’re an entertainment mogul does nothing but send the message that he’s dumb as hell.

      • L says:

        Also the whole “if I knew the book was that popular I never would have signed on!” THAT’s his BS line about not wanting to do ‘mainstream’ projects. I have no idea why he would try to cultivate that image.

      • NKN says:

        Preach. My sentiments exactly. If he didn’t know who Fincher was, it makes him look even more idiotic.

      • Sally says:

        Eh, I believe it. Perry’s head is so far up his own butt, he probably isn’t aware of too many other people.

      • jaye says:

        @L and NKN…he may have said that because of his experience playing Alex Cross in that James Patterson adaptation. I don’t remember what the name of it was, but I don’t think it was well received.

  4. Sarah says:

    That seems like a weird, passive aggressive statement to make about someone who hired you for a job.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      Totally. And so many exclamation points in the interview!!!!! He’s so thrilled!!!! Something’s not right. Trailer looked good, though, and I’d still totally hit the Batfleck, even if just out of Pearl Harbor/Chasing Amy nostalgia.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      This!!!

  5. Jen2 says:

    A regular person on the street might not know Fincher. Many directors are not household names. But Mr. “Fight Club”, with multiple Oscar nominations is not known to this guy? Perry is an industry person, who has probably watched the Oscar telecast in the past few years, so to say he has never heard of Fincher is ridiculous. And Finch does not suffer fools lightly, so he might want to be prepared for a tense press tour with Fincher.

  6. Sarah says:

    Maybe Tyler realized he prefers being in charge, but you’d think that being in the drivers seat so often he’d know better than to act like he never heard of his director.

  7. Loopy says:

    Personally i don’t rate him as an actor and the fact that no matter what role he does i can only ever see Madea. He completely ruined Alex Cross for me and seeing him in romantic leads just makes me shudder.

    • Clever hand says:

      +1000

    • Kali says:

      Oh man, I had just managed to block out that he was in the Alex Cross movie. That kills me being able to re-read the books for at least another 3-6 months 😝

    • starrywonder says:

      Yeah. I have no idea to this day what anyone was thinking casting him as a rebooted Alex Cross. They need to get Idris over here stat to resuscitate that movie series.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        I’d watch Idris re-paint a house. Cast him in everything, please. Have you seen his reality show, King of Speed?

    • feebee says:

      He was the reason I didn’t bother with the movie. I like Starrywonder’s Idris idea.

  8. MrsBPitt says:

    I call BS on Tyler Perry not knowing who Fincher is…his work has been nominated for Academy Awards…what guy doesn’t know the iconic “Fight Club” movie…This dude is lying or he is doesn’t know much about his own industry….I’m sure TP and Benny got along great…Ben seems like a guys guy!!

  9. pwal says:

    Makes all the sense in the world. The theory is in order to make good movies, you have to watch good movies-paying attention to the writing, direction, editing, set design, etc.

    Tyler Perry’s movies are crap… need I say more?

  10. Chris says:

    “Who knew that Ben could sing all the 1970s and 80s classics?”

    To tell you the truth it’s not something I have ever or would ever have thought about.

    • feebee says:

      Too true! But now that I have I don’t think is strange at all that a man of his age would be able belt out 70s and 80s classics. I think it’s stranger for Perry to wonder how “wild” Ben would get and then select ‘The Rose’ to find out… I probably would have tested him with Guns n Roses.

  11. eliza says:

    I think the choice of him as Tanner Bolt was a huge mistake. I totally saw Samuel Jackson as Tanner.

    As for his Fincher comment, I believe him, because he is so far up his own butt he has no time to know who anyone else is.

    • Esmom says:

      Lol, yes, I said almost the exact same thing above, I should have read further down before commenting. :)

  12. Merritt says:

    I’m still pissed they cast Tyler Perry in “Gone Girl”. I can’t stand him. His hatred of women of color is so clear in all of his films.

  13. feebee says:

    I also find it too strange that he didn’t know who Fincher was. He can’t have been so deep in his Madea bubble that that is possible surely. So if it’s not the case it’s a bizarre thing to say.

    As for the casting for this movie Ben Affleck is the least weird for me. The character is a complex, good on the outside, bit of an asshole on the inside, who sort of stumbled into the marriage and now is like a fish on a hook. I mean he wouldn’t have been my first choice but Tyler Perry (who doesn’t have any similarities to the character he’s playing as book written) wouldn’t have been on my radar at all! Nor would NPH for the ex-boyfriend. I was picturing someone who looked like Nick Kroll. Actually I was picturing Nick Kroll. But apparently they’ve “Adapted”, emphasis on the capital A, the book for the screen so the creative license sounds like it will be running strong whilst staying true to the bones of the story. It will be interesting.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:

      My main problem with Ben’s casting is that he’s older than Rosamund and he’s “menacing”( tall,muscular) contrary to his character in the book.The fact that his character is younger than his wife is a big part of her insecurity

  14. Adrien says:

    It feels weird reading Tyler Perry without the word “presents” following his name.

  15. Kim1 says:

    Tyler doesn’t have to lie about not knowing Fincher or not seeing any of his films.If Fincher said he didn’t know TP or wasnt familiar with his work would you assume he is lying? Would you call Fincher passive aggressive or a liar? I doubt it

    • Abbott says:

      You’re right, I wouldn’t call Fincher a liar probably because Tyler Perry’s films and shows have the entertainment value of a mop and I would believe anyone who says they hadn’t seen any of his s__t.

    • V4Real says:

      I see your point. What if Speilberg said he didn’t know John Singleton, should we be shocked.? People do assume if you’re in that business you must know everyone’swork which is not always the case. David has directed some good films but he’s not a name that gets thrown around a lot.

      • don't kill me i'm french says:

        ?? Seriously?

      • Jen says:

        “David has directed some good films but he’s not a name that gets thrown around a lot.”

        uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what?

      • V4Real says:

        Um yeah, you heard right. Stop assuming that because you know him, everyone else does. R. Kelly is one of the biggest R&B singers of all time but there were people on C/B who had never heard of him. Oh and perhaps Lady Gaga was lying when she said she wasn’t aware of his legal issues as a pedophile. People assumed she knew about it because they’re in the same business.

        I said upthread that I find it hard to believe that Perry didn’t know him but Kim1 made a goid point. I stand by what I said. How often has David’ s name been thrown around lately before Gone Girl. It is possible to have seen a movie and not know who directed it or remember who directed it regardless of if you’re in the business or not. I never heard of David until after Zodiac was released and I saw Fight Club and Seven. I didn’t see the movie because of the director but because the film looked interesting and because of the actors in it.

      • Abbott says:

        Fincher’s name gets thrown around a lot, considering he’s been nominated for a couple Academy Awards and all. Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were talked about frequently and at length prior to his attachment to Gone Girl.

        He doesn’t have to be known by everyone; I get that. But Tyler Perry – a man who prides himself on being multi-talented film producer/writer/director/actor etc. should know who this film maker is. I don’t see how Perry can ever consider himself a leader of any sort in the entertainment industry and not know who his peers are (I’m being generous by calling them “peers”).

      • V4Real says:

        Wait, Perry prides himself on being all those things you just said and you know this how? Did he say this in an interview, do you know him personally? He considers himself a leader in the business, wow, did he actually say that?

        How can you say Tyler should know who this director is as if David is the almighty himself. Tyler and most of his films are based out of Atlanta and he doesn’t spend as much time as you think in Hollywood. I would understand if he said he didn’t know Steven Spielberg but I can’t find fault in him not knowing David. Tyler has only attended one Academy Awards ceremony. How do you even know if Tyler sees a lot of movies or watch TV. I’ve even heard actors say they don’t watch TV. Depp claims he doesn’t even watch his own movies. What if Tyler wasn’t interested in seeing any of the films you just mentioned. Not every person in the industry view other people projects just because it has been deemed a great piece of work by critics. Also people usually talk about the actors in the movie moreso than the director. When people think of Benjamin Buttom I bet Pitt comes to mind and not David.

        I recall Viggo Mortenson saying at one time he didn’t own a television and didn’t watch a lot of movies. It is possible he didn’t know who he was.

      • T.C. says:

        V4Real
        “What if Speilberg said he didn’t know John Singleton, should we be shocked.? ”

        Yes we should be shocked and Speilberg should be embarrassed. The only thing Singleton and Perry have in common is their skin color, please let’s not compare him to Tyler Perry.

        John Singleton is an Oscar nominated director and writer. He was both the youngest AND first African-American to ever be nominated for the directing award. Speilberg is a voting member of the directors branch of the academy, of course he knows Singleton.

        Perry is considered a hack and a joke of a director who never builds on his experience or received even a bit of education of film school. Admitting that he didn’t know who Fincher was only adds to the criticism that he doesn’t know what quality directing is all about. I would be shocked if any top director ever watched his films the same way I would be shocked if Meryl Streep watched the Twilight films.

    • eliza says:

      Yet here we are, people outside of the industry and we know who both men are. Hard for me to believe professionals in a small industry do not know who the other is!

      • runCMC says:

        I didn’t know his name, and I inhale media and celeb gossip like if it were cupcakes…

        There’s a LOT of amazing directors in the business. It’s completely possible to not know every one of them and their filmography.

      • eliza says:

        I find it hard to believe you inhale media and celeb gossip but never heard of Fincher especially with being a director who has seen lots of awards nominations and is frequently mentioned in stories about Brad Pitt. I also have a hard time that directors, who are busy ones within the industry would also not have an idea of who Fincher is. I get maybe not knowing some directors associated with smaller, independent films, but Fincher, who directed Benjamin Buttons, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network, 3 major films at the box office and at awards ceremonies the ladt few years, is an unknown commodity to another director. I do not believe that.

      • runCMC says:

        I’ve heard the name David Fincher and I’ve seen a lot of those movies,, but no, I didn’t connect those names together. You seem really personally offended that I have the audacity to not know how important this man is. I’m not his fan, although I liked Fight Club and The Social Network (and didn’t like Benjamin Button or the American adaptation of Girl With a Dragon Tattoo). There’s PLENTY of movies, directors, actors, etc etc that seem like common knowledge to you. Clearly we have different taste and no one is wrong in this situation. Well, except you a little big because you’re kind of being a jerk about it.

    • lisa says:

      i think the difference is that fincher has made so many quality films and even quality videos

      i never heard of perry until he cried on oprah and his movies look like the kind of stuffy you decline to watch on a plane

    • Jenns says:

      I don’t believe it because both are directors in Hollywood. We are talking about a small group of people. And in no way do I believe that either are not aware of each other and their work.

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      I know both names and I don’t direct anything. It’s silly to suggest active directors have no knowledge of each other’s work. Both directors are successful and well-known.

  16. Lucy2 says:

    What a strange thing to say about your director.
    I barely remember the lawyer character he’s playing, but the new commercial looks good.

  17. Tx says:

    I really wouldn’t be surprised either way.

    As an actor/producer/director/king-of-his-own-empire he may not have a lot of time to check out other peoples work unless he really wants to. Maybe Fight Club/Social Network isn’t up his alley. Maybe he is kinda in his own world.

    Then on the other hand, if we, the Celebitchy commenters, know who Fincher is, how the hell does Perry not?!

    • V4Real says:

      Oh I bet there are some C/B readers saying David who? Oh, I see, he directed that movie.

      • don't kill me i'm french says:

        Fight Clue and Seven are cult

      • V4Real says:

        My brother saw both movies and doesn’t know who David is. There are actually people who every now and then who will go see a movie because of the actors in it or because the film looks good and not because of the director.
        I know that maybe shocking to some of you but it does happens.

    • FingerBinger says:

      I think it’s just as Kaiser said he’s probably seen Fincher’s work but never associated the work with Fincher. Fincher has directed Madonna videos. He directed the Vogue video. There’s no doubt in mind that Tyler Perry hasn’t seen that video.

  18. kri says:

    To me, this is next-level shade so subtly done it’s almost thrown into relief. Come on, how can he not know who DF is?! B!itch, please. Perhaps if he had said “I never met him” or something….this is one of the oddest snippets I’ve read in a long time.

    • pru says:

      I wonder, why the shade? If he honestly didn’t know who Fincher was (which I doubt), I would think you would pretend you did, at least in public. There must be some tension between them.

  19. lisa says:

    i’ve never seen a tyler perry movie. maybe fincher never saw one either and this is how tyler gets back.

  20. And then there were none says:

    If it makes Fincher feel better, I can assure him not many people know who Tyler Perry is outside the U.S. (and the limited number of other countries that have the misfortune to screen his films). I’m in Australia and his name means nothing down here. His films are rarely released theatrically here (except for Alex Cross) & the only reason I’ve even heard of the guy is because I used to work in the film industry & read a lot of film websites/magazines. Of course I also read the hilariously bad Alex Cross reviews for a good laugh. More people here would have heard of David Fincher over Tyler Perry any day. He sounds like a douche by the way.

  21. Grant says:

    Tyler Perry isn’t a particularly good or skilled director or screenwriter. I’m not surprised that he hasn’t really stepped outside his bubble and exposed himself to the work of a legitimately talented director.

  22. Kim1 says:

    Well most of the people I know have never heard of David Fincher yet they know who Tyler Perry is,personally I have only seen one Fincher movie,Benjamin Button.
    Tyler is not a Hollywood Type,he films in Atlanta and lives there.He presented at the Oscars and left after his category.He doesnt attend parties or premieres unless he is involved at the project.
    This thread reminds of me Tia/ Charlize thread.Most people here dont realize there is a segment of the population where Tia is more known and more popular than Charlize

    • Latanga says:

      I agree with you. I don’t think that because you work in the same industry you HAVE to know who they are. I would also like to state that I do enjoy some Tyler Perry movies just for the laughs. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but at least give the man credit for pulling himself up and making his dream a reality.

  23. Jackson says:

    I don’t believe for a second that TP didn’t know who David Fincher was. Come on. No idea why he would want to paint himself looking so totally clueless.

  24. AlmondJoy says:

    Idk…just a few years ago Tyler Perry was homeless and living out of his car. He has a very short history in this business. It seems strange, but it’s possible that he didn’t know of Fincher.

    I consider myself a person that loves movies, but I’ve never heard his name before. According the comments above, I have seen 1 of his movies. To be fair though, the only director’s name that comes to mind is Steven Spielberg. I don’t know much about movie directors.

    • FingerBinger says:

      It’s been more then a few years since Perry was homeless living out of his car. I think hat was in the early 90′s. Tyler has been a fixture in Hollywood for many years. He’s been to the Oscars. He’s worked with people like Kathy Bates. He’s not totally ignorant of all things Hollywood.

      • AlmondJoy says:

        Really Finger? For some reason I was thinking he was still homeless in the early 2000s. And i totally forgot that he worked with Kathy Bates! The Family That Preys. Thanks for the correction.

      • FingerBinger says:

        He was homeless off and on in the 90′s. Then he hit the jackpot with Diary of a Mad Black Woman play which opened in 2001 or 2002. He was definitely making some money in the early 2000s

  25. Kim1 says:

    So Tyler talks about Fincher always smiling and about him singing along with Ben and Tyler. Was Tyler lying about those things as well? What is Tyler’s motive in lying about being unfamiliar with Fincher? If anything his ignorance about Fincher makes him look bad.
    I just checked boxoffice numbers Tyler directed his first film in 2006 and his films have made more than Fincher’s films.Fincher has made only ten films in his career, only five since Tyler became a filmmaker.Tyler is not a student of film.I have never heard Tyler mention a favorite director or even a favorite film.He has been in a bubble, writing , directing, acting and producing all his films.That’s why most of his work is mediocre he has no checks and balances.
    I watch his show The Haves and The Have Nots and it is clear he needs a writing staff rather than writing all the scripts alone.

  26. Lydia says:

    Fincher also cast one of the naked girls from the Blurred Lines video as Andy. That plus Tyler Perry in major supporting roles makes me wonder if they don’t have many lines in the film. There is some seriously questionable casting in this film.

  27. Ivy says:

    I have no idea who Tyler Perry is (but I do know David Fincher)…

  28. Mikeyangel says:

    I have heard of David Fincher but don’t remember him. I will now:) I find it strange Tyler Perry would say he didn’t know him, but I don’t think he is lying. Seems like he didn’t enjoy working with Fincher. I enjoy Tyler Perry films and I knew who he was. I know he gets a lot of slack for them, but I always enjoy them. I follow celebrity gossip close too, particularly this site and like I said David Fincher didn’t ring in my register even though I have probably seen and enjoyed all of his films.