FanCasting: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

As a big book lover I often love to direct or imagine what a novel might look like if it's made into a movie. Starting a new series called FanCasting, I'm doing just that: building an imaginary dream world of the setting, characters, and style I hope to see made with a film adaptation.

2012 mystery novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn gripped readers and critics with its story of a missing woman's case; a novel voiced by the nearly-perfect wife Amy Elliot Dunne who disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary, and the unhappy, number one suspect husband Nick Dunne. Who did you imagine as Amy, Nick, or some of the supporting characters?




A full review of the novel can be found on GoodReads, where during my reading I tried to keep my expectations at bay. However, there were two people I couldn't stop thinking about who were actually cast in the lead roles. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were so easily pictured on my own as Nick and Amy; a married couple buried by broken dreams and a tarnished marriage in a failing economy.

For the first half of the novel, sympathy builds towards Amy as Nick seems to be living out just another day in Missouri, appearing unemotional and stoic. She is pictured from old diary entries as an unappreciated and abused housewife with a husband who only used her for her looks and wealth. As the timeline rotates towards the second half of the novel, we begin to see the clearer picture of who Amy and Nick really are. One is revealed to be a flaming psychopath, while the other not-so-much. Their intricate, almost crazy knowledge of each other's behavior and patterns is what practically makes their wedding rings acts more like nooses.

Since the novel is broken into two narratives, I struggled the most with having sympathy or even really caring towards Nick. Moved by dumb decisions and really blind ambiguity to his wife's disappearance, most of my curiosity was fueled by the brilliantly mysterious and even more untrustworthy Amy. With Affleck and Pike portraying these characters I believe they will each give performances that make you question their motives, emotional neuroses, and give more to care about than what was presented in the book.

Plenty of skeletons come out of both Nick and Amy's closet, as it happens in every mystery/suspense novel, and there are a lot of interesting background characters that make up this small nowhere town. These were some of the actors I had in mind while reading the novel.

On Nick's behalf, we have an abusive elderly father suffering from Alzheimer's (Bruce Dern), his frank and vibrant sister Margo (Maggie Gyllenhaal), one of Nick's college students Andie (Nina Dobrev), and a top-notch lawyer who comes to Nick's defense Tanner Bolt (Idris Elba).

On Amy's behalf we have obsessive ex-boyfriends and high school best friends Desi (Timothy Olyphant) and Holly (Carla Gugino), a neighbor who claims to be Amy's best friend Noelle Hawthorne (Lyndsy Fonseca), and Amy's parents who built their book empire series Amazing Amy on their daughter's shoulders (Chris Cooper and Melissa Leo).

Except for the main actors, other characters I imagined are not exactly how I pictured them as cast in the movie.  Neil Patrick Harris as Amy's creepy ex-boyfriend surprised me equally as much as Tyler Perry was cast as Nick's lawyer, whose reputation has been built on guaranteeing other convicted husbands to innocent fates. I can't judge performances on things I haven't seen before, and Harris looks justifiably leery in the trailer - so he may prove me wrong.

The acclaimed director of such films as Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher, is no stranger to gripping audiences in suspense, toying with unreliable narrators, and creating grisly, cliff-hanging dramas. Gone Girl is psychologically, a page-turner. As much as the novel is a Who Dun It, what really drives the book is the broken shards of the character's marriage, the manipulative media machine, and a web of revenge and deceit.

It's truly perfect that Fincher took on this project. His films often center around morally-questionable and complex characters struggling within a violent, morbid setting; sometimes the former are even more unpredictable and gruesome than the latter. Rarely do we know who to trust and he never journeys audiences into happy endings; something that intrigues and unnerves movie goers. These are all characteristics that Fincher is popularly known for, and will no doubt utilize in the movie set for theatrical release in October 2014.

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