Why did Gone Girl filmmaker David Fincher describe his male lead, Ben Affleck, as “unprofessional?” On social media, audio from the director’s commentary has been making the rounds, with the assumption being that Fincher clashed with Affleck during production. However, the context implies that the alleged Gone Girl feud has been misrepresented.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel, Gone Girl released theatrically in 2014. Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a teacher who’s accused of murdering his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne (Rosamund Pike), a socialite known for inspiring her parents’ popular children’s book series, Amazing Amy. As the investigation intensifies, Nick realizes that Amy seems to be playing a wicked game that frames him for her murder. Overwhelmed by the constant media coverage, at one point in the film, Nick attempts to remain inconspicuous in order to avoid further suspicion.
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Fincher’s “unprofessional” remark stems from a Gone Girl moment that during an airport scene. Nick puts on a baseball cap and hopes that people won’t recognize him from the news, and Fincher recalls that he wanted Affleck to wear a New York Yankees cap, but Affleck refused. According to the Gone Girl director, the problem relates to Affleck “being from Boston” and “not being very professional as an actor.” Fincher then reveals that production was shut down for four days as his team negotiated with the actor’s agent, Patrick Whitesell. “I thought it was entirely unprofessional,” Fincher states. Affleck ultimately wore a New York Mets cap for the Gone Girl sequence.
Affleck discussed the incident during a 2014 interview with The New York Times. He describes the baseball cap beef as “a legitimate fight,” and that he refused to wear a Yankees cap because of the pop culture implications given his reputation as a proud Boston native and an avid Red Sox fan. According to Affleck, he told Fincher, “I just can’t. I can’t wear it because it’s going to become a thing [and] I will never hear the end of it.” In addition, Affleck describes the subsequent negotiations as “very Switzerland.”
Even though the baseball cap argument appears to be legitimate, it seems that Fincher was merely hoping to provoke Affleck. For one, the name of a Major League Baseball team isn’t crucial to the scene, as Nick isn’t trying to avoid sports talk at the airport, but rather hoping to avoid being identified as a murder suspect. Over the years, Affleck has been more than candid about his love for Boston, so Fincher’s “unprofessional” statement about Affleck could be a matter of him trolling the public while comedically taking a subtle jab at his Gone Girl actor.
It’s also worth noting that Fincher once said he would be “suspicious” of Affleck if he were his wife, if only because of the actor’s “real gift at being able to insinuate a [fake phone] conversation.” With Gone Girl, Affleck and Fincher’s comments essentially connect to the film’s premise: media manipulation and half-truths are spun for self-serving reasons – or in the case of the baseball cap conflict, simple enigmatic trolling.
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