By the time he made his feature film directorial debut in 1992 with Alien³, David Fincher had already secured a reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the music video industry.
Starting with 1984’s “Bop ‘Til You Drop” by Rick Springfield, the 23-year-old director collaborated with several of music’s biggest acts at the time including The Outfield, Foreigner, Sting, Steve Winwood, Jody Watley, Paula Abdul and Don Henley.It was the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards that solidified his reputation, when his video for Madonna’s “Express Yourself” won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Direction.
The following year Fincher was the toast of the MTV Video Music Awards, receiving three of the four nominations for Best Direction, winning for Madonna’s “Vogue.” His video for Don Henley’s “The End of The Innocence” earned Best Male Video.
Despite his success in the music video industry and having worked with Aerosmith, Roy Orbison and George Michael, Fincher decided to turned his focus to directing feature films.
His first studio feature, the sequel Alien³, received a negative reaction. Fincher made one more video, “Love is Strong” for the Rolling Stones, before tackling the film that would prove to be his formal entrée into Hollywood, 1995’s Se7en starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey.
Fincher has since become one of cinema’s most well-respected directors and looking at his music video work, one can see many of the visual trademarks that later found themselves in his feature work including low angles, swooping crane shots and fast tracking shots. The director is also fond of a gritty, industrial looking setting and has an affinity for deep chiaroscuro (composition defined by bold, strong contrasts between light and dark). His films have included Fight Club, The Game, Panic Room, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the upcoming Gone Girl.
There have been several brief returns to the music video arena including “6th Avenue Heartache” by The Wallflowers (1996), “Judith” by A Perfect Circle in 2000 and Nine Inch Nails’ “Only” in 2005. Last year Fincher directed “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake (with whom Fincher had previously worked with on the film The Social Network) and Jay-Z.