David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ Has a Different Third Act Than the Book

Published 1 year ago by

gone girl movie ben affleck1 David Finchers Gone Girl Has a Different Third Act Than the Book

Gone Girl isn’t generating the levels of anticipation that are nowadays generally reserved for Marvel/DC superhero tentpoles, blockbuster sequels and/or controversial remake/reboots, but David Fincher’s adaptation of author Gillian Flynn’s best-selling crime/mystery novel is already generating buzz as a potential contender in next year’s awards season.

Oscar-winner (and new Batman) Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher) headline Gone Girl as a longtime couple, who get an uncomfortable spotlight shined on their troubled marriage when the latter vanishes and the former is the prime suspect believed responsible. Flynn’s source material is a neo-noir influenced examination of marital strife through the lens of crime genre tropes, so it’s certainly in the wheelhouse of the man who’s given us films like Se7en and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

One aspect of Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo adaptation (read our review) that played out well with fans of the late Stieg Larsson’s source material was that it remained fairly loyal to the structure of the original novel; that is, despite the book being a dense work constructed in a fashion that doesn’t necessarily lend itself readily to a film narrative with three clean acts (see: the extensive post-climax action). However, in the case of Gone Girl, Fincher has taken a different approach – and with Flynn’s compliance, no less.

In fact, in an interview with EW (hat tip The Film Stage and Collider), Flynn revealed that her adapted script for Gone Girl completely redesigns the third act of her original novel:

“There was something thrilling about taking this piece of work that I’d spent about two years painstakingly putting together with all its eight million LEGO pieces and take a hammer to it and bash it apart and reassemble it into a movie… Ben [Affleck] was so shocked by it. He would say, ‘This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.’”

Check out the creepy Gone Girl magazine cover for the latest issue of EW (as was shot by Fincher):


gone girl movie cover David Finchers Gone Girl Has a Different Third Act Than the Book

Speaking personally, I’ve heard back from a number of people who’ve read Flynn’s original Gone Girl novel and claim that the third act revelations and final resolution aren’t as satisfying as the tight-knit proceedings that come before – unsurprisingly so, since that’s a pretty common complaint for entries in the mystery genre (read: the payoff isn’t on par with the build-up).

It’s possible that Flynn agrees and that’s her reason for giving a complete overhaul to the final third of the original Gone Girl story in her adapted script. After all, authors rarely get the chance to significantly tweak, improve and/or refashion their own published work for another medium by their hand – with rare exceptions, like when Stephen Chbosky adapted his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower (to use a recent example) – so Flynn might’ve leapt at the opportunity.

… Or maybe she just realized that her novel would need to be revamped to work as a film, like when Fincher and screenwriter Eric Roth took F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and ran wild in the movie. Either way, this is an intriguing bit of information, especially because it means that even those who’ve read Gone Girl won’t know exactly what’s coming when things get really real in Fincher’s movie.

For more on Gone Girl, be sure and pick up the latest issue of EW.


Gone Girl opens in theaters on October 3rd, 2014.

Source: EW [via The Film Stage and Collider]

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Gone girl
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  1. I didn’t have any problems with the ending when I read the book but I’m happy to hear and now even more excited for the movie now that I know there will be surprises for fans who have read the book.
    Without giving spoilers I just think the ending for the book wouldn’t work for a film. Unless there will be voiceovers used the ending as it is on the page would just leave too many fans questioning what just happened. That’s not saying I’m the type of fan who needs answers for everything or have everything explained but for this story in particular a different ending may be the right way to go.

  2. Is the Cover Considered a spoiler ?
    As for me,I do not know if she would be dead in the end or not !
    But looking at the cover takes a lot of the Mystery away I guess !

    • But I still Like that Cover !!

    • @ ios

      Don’t worry, the cover isn’t a spoiler.

  3. I did not like the ending, at all. Actually, I thought the story was just OK. I found myself skipping through the book. It kind of dragged along, for me. Unless the changes result in an entire new ending, I have no interest. I would like to say why I did not like the ending, but that would give away the story…
    This will be a TV/DVR watch for me.

    • I didn’t know it was a book till recently so needless to say I didn’t read it, but looking at the only the trailer I guessed the ending of the novel. this will definitely be a TV or redbox watch for me as well

  4. I personally did not see any difference in the book and the movie.