Netflix on Thursday officially unveiled the renovation of the historic Egyptian theater, which hosted an opening night screening of David Fincher’s The murderer to show the new location.
The streamer acquired the Egyptian in May 2020 and invested three years of renovations to open just in time to showcase its award-winning seasonal films. The theater will also remain home to the American Cinematheque, with the arts organization planning to independently program films Friday through Sunday and Netflix using the location Monday through Thursday for screenings, premieres and special events.
The murderer, 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. After the screening, Fincher and sound designer Ren Klyce participated in a question-and-answer session, in which Fincher explained the appeal of a film that focuses heavily on Fassbender’s character and requires a lot of voiceover.
“I liked the idea that it seems like if you were so committed to one specific POV, we could do it without a lot of backstory, a lot of talk about where this guy came from or where the people in the story came from. ” said Fincher, adding: “The way the public understands the VO, the existence of any VO, is that this is the truth, right? Why would he be untrustworthy to himself? And yet most people I know lie to themselves, so I thought that was an interesting way in.”
The director also explained that he found it the most difficult part of making it The murderer to refine the script to where the film was ‘arthouse enough to be interesting and enough of a fastball that you can say, ‘We think there will 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 told the crowd.
The film is based on the French comic books of the same name, and Fincher teased that he may not be done with this world yet: “We have very interesting ideas for the future.” He also noted that with the repeated murders on screen, he and writer Andrew Kevin Walker had to decide how to make each situation distinctive and interesting.
“It’s basically the same thing: you take someone to the woodshed who doesn’t come back, and how are they going to stand up 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 something that seems to say, ‘Yes, if we keep it in this kind of domain and stay so focused on these elements, this could be mistaken for a story.’”
He also discussed the film’s use of modern technology, including Fassbender’s character ordering items from Amazon to aid in his seizures.
“It’s not a technology screed – I understand how James Bond gets through the world, he has billions of dollars behind him and a whole security infrastructure to help him at every turn.
Our guy is a little different, he flies as a coach and he puts together his entire wardrobe while walking through an airport,” he said. “It wasn’t so much about ‘Fuck Jeff Bezos,’ it was about, can you leverage the technology that would make this easier?”