Directors are famously some of the most controlling, obsessive and detail-oriented people in Hollywood. With the exception of studio heads meddling in big pictures, they typically oversee the entire project from start to finish; this counts double if they’re writing too.
However, sometimes they let the reins loose a little and hand over responsibility to someone else. Either because they want to emulate another director’s style, are looking to collaborate or to suit a specific story purpose, they’ll hand over to a special guest director. This often gives the movie a slightly different visual flavour, though the technique is rarely used.
Assistant directors or another high ranking crew member will typically be in charge of simple pick up shots or establishing sequences with no dialogue or important action, but that’s not what we’re focusing on here.
Those types of shots are fairly straightforward, and rarely involve anything noteworthy.
Occasionally though, directors do hand over an important piece of the film to someone else. The fact it happens so rarely makes it all the more interesting, especially with many directors explaining the reasons behind their decisions as part of press tours, junkets and panels.
9. Checking Facebook - The Social Network
The Social Network’s director David Fincher is noted for his attention to detail, with many stars falling out with him over his Stanley Kubrick like obsession with filming take after take after take.
It’s a little strange then that he was willing to part with a scene in the Facebook drama.
The most famous example of Fincher’s repetition came during Fight Club, when he had a stuntman stand in for Ed Norton’s Narrator throw himself down a set of stairs eleven times; Fincher used the first take.
A less entertaining example of Fincher’s attention to detail occurred while filming Gone Girl. Ben Affleck put a filter on the camera designed to make it 5% darker, betting the crew that Fincher wouldn’t notice. Within seconds of looking into the lens though, Fincher asked why his camera was so dark.
Back to The Social Network though. He’d been so impressed with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin during production, that he decided to allow Sorkin to film the final shot. The film wasn’t shot in order, so it wasn’t the harrowing zoom out of Zuckerberg alone at his desk which Sorkin directed, but a minor scene involving extras checking Facebook, but still. Quite the gesture from Fincher.