It turns out that occasionally books – as opposed to graphic novels, Twitter feeds, YouTube video diaries and board games – still inspire movies. Gillian Flynn's best seller Gone Girl is the story of a seemingly perfect American marriage that starts to quickly fall to pieces when the wife simply disappears and her husband does a less than perfect job of convincing people that he didn't bump her off. The novel is alternately written from the perspective of both Amy and Nick Dunne, who prove to be unreliable narrators, and it's ended up with director David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network), who has become more keenly attuned to story, alongside his visual prowess, in recent releases.
Fincher is looking to cast Nick first, and is currently in discussions with Ben Affleck, whose own recent performances (Argo, To the Wonder) have favoured a recessive quality that has banished most memories of Armageddon. Affleck has finished one acting job, the gambling thriller Runner Runner with Justin Timberlake (Trouble with the Curve), and if he does Gone Girl it will be his final performance for another filmmaker before making his next movie. Affleck is going back to Boston and crime author Dennis Lehane, whose books have been adapted by Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) and Clint Eastwood (Mystic River), for the 1920s set Live by Night, which documents the misadventures of a police captain's son whose criminal enterprises quickly escalate and include romancing a gangster's mistress.
Cruz boards Spanish sequel
Spanish director Fernando Trueba and Penelope Cruz are reuniting for a sequel to their 1998 collaboration, The Girl of Your Dreams (pictured), which told the story of a Spanish film crew shooting a musical being forced to work in a Nazi Germany studio during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Cruz's songstress, Macarena Granada, found herself the subject of affection for Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels and the 15 years since that production allows for a similar fictional leap. In La reina de Espana the setting will be 1950s Spain, just as Hollywood productions arrive in the country. Cruz also has a small role in Pedro Almodovar's forthcoming comedy, I'm So Excited, and is one of many people – along with Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Cruz's partner Javier Bardem – doing bad things to Michael Fassbender's lawyer in Ridley Scott's The Counselor later this year.
Direct Another Day
Sam Mendes changed his mind: The English filmmaker (American Beauty, Jarhead), who did close to as good a job as possible within the fairly tight confines of a Bond film with last year's Skyfall, has agreed to direct the 24th official James Bond after previously backing out the door and politely shaking his head. Daniel Craig, who lobbied for Mendes, will be back as 007, which means that once John Logan writes the screenplay the traditional search for a Bond villain can get underway. This column humbly suggests George Clooney, Nicolas Cage (with an accent and fake teeth) or a super group of former Bond villains featuring Christopher Lee (The Man with the Golden Gun), Christopher Walken (A View to a Kill), Sean Bean (GoldenEye) and Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale).