Home Entertainment David Fincher Discusses The Unique Protagonist in ‘The Killer’: A Cinematic Assassin Beyond James Bond

David Fincher Discusses The Unique Protagonist in ‘The Killer’: A Cinematic Assassin Beyond James Bond

by William Linden

In recent years, especially during the Daniel Craig era, the James Bond series has grappled with a fundamental question about its iconic central character: Is James Bond merely a government-sanctioned assassin, a well-dressed hitman working for queen and country? Ultimately, the franchise has portrayed Bond as more than just a hired gun. He’s a super-spy, a detective, a loyal servant and protector of his nation. However, in David Fincher’s upcoming thriller, “The Killer,” we are introduced to a character who is the embodiment of a cold-blooded contract killer, and he doesn’t possess a license to kill. As Fincher puts it, “He’s not James Bond. Our guy flies coach.”

The enigmatic protagonist of “The Killer” approaches his assassinations with meticulous precision. But when one of his hits goes awry, his entire modus operandi is thrown into chaos. For David Fincher, a director known for delivering slick, stylish, and pulse-pounding thrills, focusing on such a cold and calculated character posed both a challenge and an opportunity. The source material for the film, a comic book by Matz and Luc Jacamon, provided the solution. “I thought the character’s nihilism was interesting because it was tied to his self-loathing,” Fincher explains. “Then I started thinking about this inner monologue. He has this whole thing he tells himself, which is a way of demeaning his prey so he can feel better about ostensibly being a serial killer for hire. I thought that could be interesting to navigate.”

The result is that, as ruthless as “The Killer” is, the audience is drawn into his world and psyche. Fincher describes the power of a voiceover in such a narrative: “I like the pact a voiceover makes with the viewer. Seeing life through the eyes – and scope – of an assassin puts the audience in an interesting position. Let’s see how far they’ll go.” In this context, even James Bond, the iconic British secret agent, wouldn’t stand a chance against the moral and psychological complexities that “The Killer” promises to explore.

In the November 2023 issue of Empire, you can read the full feature on “The Killer,” including an inside look at the making of the film with David Fincher, Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, and more. The issue, which is an epic David Fincher special, also delves into the director’s legendary filmography, with Fincher revisiting his most iconic shots. “The Killer” is set to hit cinemas on October 27th and will be available for streaming on Netflix from November 10th.

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