Netflix officially unveiled its renovations of the historic Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, hosting an opening night screening of David Fincher’s The Killer to showcase the new venue.
The streamer purchased the Egyptian in May 2020, investing three years of renovations to open just in time to showcase its awards season films. The theater will also remain the home of the American Cinematheque, with the art organization planning to independently program movies Friday through Sunday and Netflix using the venue for screenings, premieres and special events Monday through Thursday.
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The Killer, which stars Michael Fassbender as an assassin on an international hunt for retribution, was the first of those special events ahead of its release on the streamer on Friday. Following the screening, Fincher and sound designer Ren Klyce took part in a Q&A, where Fincher explained the appeal of a film that is heavily set inside the had of Fassbender’s character and required a lot of voiceover.
“I liked the idea of it seems like if you were this dedicated to one specific POV, that we could do without a lot of backstory, a lot of gabbing about where this guy came from or where the people in the story [came from],” Fincher said, adding, “The way the audience understands the V.O., the existence of any V.O. is this is the truth, right? Why would he be unreliable to himself? And yet most of the people I know are lying to themselves, so I just thought that was kind of an interesting way in.”
The director also explained that he found the hardest part of making The Killer to be fine-tuning the script to where the film was “art house enough to be interesting and enough of a fastball that you can kind of say, ‘We think there’ll be an audience for this’; finding the balance where it was mean enough to interest me and tame enough to be on a streaming service,” he said to laughs from the crowd.
The movie is based on French comic books of the same name, and Fincher teased he may not be done with this world: “We have very interesting ideas for the future.” He also noted that with repeated killings showcased onscreen, he and writer Andrew Kevin Walker had to decide how to make each situation distinct and interesting.
“It’s basically the same thing, you’re taking somebody out to the woodshed who’s not coming back, and how are they going to make a case for themselves [to live]? That may not be enough drama to hang a whole movie on, but out of belligerence, I convinced Andy that it was,” Fincher joked. “He came back with some writing that seems to say, ‘Yeah, if we keep it in this kind of realm and stay this focused on these elements this could be mistaken for a story.'”
He also discussed the use of modern technology in the film, including Fassbender’s character ordering items off of Amazon to assist with his attacks.
“It’s not a screed on technology — I understand how James Bond gets through the world, he has bazillions of dollars behind him and an entire security infrastructure to help him at every turn. Our guy’s a little different, he’s flying coach, and he’s putting his entire wardrobe together as he walks through an airport,” he said. “It wasn’t so much about like ‘Fuck Jeff Bezos,’ it was like can you avail yourself of the technology that would make this easier?”
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