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David Fincher, Robert Towne to co-write Chinatown prequel series pilot for Netflix

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https://ew.com/tv/2019/11/18/david-fincher-robert-towne-chinatown-prequel-pilot-netflix/

David Fincher is acquiring more real estate at Netflix.

The filmmaker and frequent Mindhunter director has closed a deal to co-write a pilot script for a prequel to the iconic 1974 film Chinatown, EW has confirmed. Fincher will collaborate on the script with Robert Towne, who penned the original film. Deadline first reported the news.

The prequel series would reportedly focus on a young Jake Gittes, the hardboiled private eye played by Jack Nicholson in the film, as he investigates cases in Los Angeles. The project is in the very early stages of development; it has not yet been confirmed whether Fincher will direct the pilot. (Netflix did not respond to EW’s request for comment.)

Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski and produced by the late Robert Evans, follows Gittes as he looks into a complex case involving land deals and the L.A. water supply (it’s much more intriguing than it sounds), leading him down a sinister rabbit hole. As one might gather from his filmography, Fincher is a huge fan of the film; he even recorded a commentary track with Towne for its DVD release.

Fincher first collaborated with Netflix on House of Cards before executive-producing Mindhunter and the animated anthology series Love, Death & Robots. He is also directing the film Mank, a biopic starring Gary Oldman as Citizen Kane co-writer Herman Mankiewicz, for the streaming service, based on a screenplay by Fincher’s late father.

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Ah yes, I can see the new ending now...

"Forget it Jake, it's Olvera Street."

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

Ah yes, I can see the new ending now...

"Forget it Jake, it's Olvera Street."

"Forget it, Jake. It's the prequel to Roman Polanski's Academy Award winning film Chinatown."

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I wonder how this will compare to the upcoming Perry Mason prequel series from HBO. Matthew Rhys (The Americans) stars as Mason, a WWI veteran and low-rent Los Angeles defense lawyer circa 1932 (at least that was the case in the original synopsis I read). Featuring Chris Chalk as Paul Drake, and Juliet Rylance as Della Street. Also featuring Tatiana Maslany, Shea Whigham and John Lithgow. Due sometime in 2020.

Rhys as Perry Mason, in the only publicity shot released thus far.

perrymason.jpg?w=600

Chris Chalk, who will play Paul Drake.

new-tv-roles-chris-chalk.jpg?w=620

Juliet Rylance, cast as Della Street.

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The question is who are they going to find to play the young Jake Gittes? Whoever they find are going to have some really big shoes to fill, Jack Nicholson was legendary in tha trole.

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6 minutes ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

The question is who are they going to find to play the young Jake Gittes? Whoever they find are going to have some really big shoes to fill, Jack Nicholson was legendary in tha trole.

Yeah, and James Hong as Faye Dunaway's butler was no slouch EITHER, ya know Beth! ;)

(...but yeah, as Jake Gittes, I think I can see Bradley Cooper or maybe Ryan Gosling in the part)

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I love James Hong, he brings a quiet dignity to any role I've seen him in.

Nay to Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling as Jake though.  Neither man has of yet to impress me in any film they've been in.

If only Christian Slater were still young....if you've ever seen him in HEATHERS, you know he has Jack's persona down pat.

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1 minute ago, Bethluvsfilms said:

I love James Hong, he brings a quiet dignity to any role I've seen him in.

Nay to Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling as Jake though.  Neither man has of yet to impress me in any film they've been in.

If only Christian Slater were still young....if you've ever seen him in HEATHERS, you know he has Jack's persona down pat.

Yeah, and not only has Slater got Jack's "persona" down pat, but I've always thought he must have watched so many of Nicholson's movies while growing up that he's even tried to SOUND like him in anything he's ever done.

(...so ahead, close your eyes while watching a movie with Slater in it, and then tell be he's doesn't sound JUST like Jack...you can't, can ya!) ;)

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Slater admitted that he was doing a bad Nicholson impression in Heathers. I thought he was godawful in that, and couldn't stand him for years. My opinion's softened a bit over the years, but I tend not to despise actors as much as I used to in general. I still can't recall anything that I was overly fond of Slater in, and any film would have been improved with someone else being cast in his role. 

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23 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Slater admitted that he was doing a bad Nicholson impression in Heathers. I thought he was godawful in that, and couldn't stand him for years. My opinion's softened a bit over the years, but I tend not to despise actors as much as I used to in general. I still can't recall anything that I was overly fond of Slater in, and any film would have been improved with someone else being cast in his role. 

So then Lawrence, I take it you're onboard with my Bradley Cooper or Ryan Goslin suggestions as Jake Gittes?  ;)

(…or might you have some other younger actor in mind here?)

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2 minutes ago, Dargo said:

So then Lawrence, I take it you're onboard with my Bradley Cooper or Ryan Goslin suggestions as Jake Gittes?  ;)

(…or might you have some other younger actor in mind here?)

I could have seen Gosling in the role, but I doubt either he or Cooper will do a TV show. Although the perception of doing TV being "beneath" a movie star seems to be a thing of the past, I still can't see either doing it.

I can't think of any actors that fit the role, but Nicholson is one of my two or three favorite actors, and Chinatown is among my favorite movies, so I may be overly judgmental of anyone or anything involved.

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Oh, and I'll mention that Nicholson was 36/37 when Chinatown was filmed, while Gosling is 39 and Cooper is 44, so if this new thing is supposed to be a prequel to Chinatown, they may be looking for much younger actors.

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10 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Oh, and I'll mention that Nicholson was 36/37 when Chinatown was filmed, while Gosling is 39 and Cooper is 44, so if this new thing is supposed to be a prequel to Chinatown, they may be looking for much younger actors.

Yeah, I also thought of this was I googled Cooper and Gosling and just before posting my suggestions of them.

However, I would say that even with this being a prequel, and with the thought that a prequel doesn't necessarily mean its story having to take place all that many years before the timeline of the original, perhaps just a year or two prior, I then went ahead and posted their names and even though both are just a few years older than Jack was when he filmed Chinatown.

(...I mean, I don't think Gosling in particular even has any lines on his face as of yet, does he?!)

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Just thought of another actor who might be right for that part of Jake Gittes here...and although this being another case of MAYBE being a little too old for the part in a prequel.

The other day I went to the local cinema and watched the newly released Ford v Ferrari flick (well done, btw...enjoyed it a lot), and the actor who I thought excellently played a real smarmy fast-talking Ford executive was Josh Lucas. Him, but yeah, probably because this is fresh in my mind.

And with the Gittes character being fairly smarmy (remember the bad off-color joke he tells early on in his office when he doesn't know Dunaway is in the room?) and fast-talking (unless there's a knife's blade being stuck up his nose), well, and even though Google says Lucas is a now at the "ripe old age" of 48, I think he could be believable in the part.

(...he sounds a lot like a cross between Jack and Peter Coyote, wouldn't ya say?)

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4 hours ago, Dargo said:

So then Lawrence, I take it you're onboard with my Bradley Cooper or Ryan Goslin suggestions as Jake Gittes?  ;)

(…or might you have some other younger actor in mind here?)

I agree with you on the Gosling suggestion. He was good in the Blade Runner movie.

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11 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I wonder how this will compare to the upcoming Perry Mason prequel series from HBO.

Could be, but sounds more like Paramount trying to get into the Warner game, and make "Prequel/reboot franchises" out of all the 70's/80's iconic property titles that audiences know, in lieu of new unloved 10's movies.  This would be their "Doctor Sleep" and "Blade Runner 2049".

Their "Summer Nights" Grease-prequel project in the works might also lead one to that conclusion.  Let's see, we should be getting Matthew Broderick as grown-up dad Ferris Beuller any minute now...I don't know, I'm just placing bets.

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Hollywood shaking that flour sack to get just a little more flour. The Two Jakes failed. Why would a prequel be any better? As for Mason, I'm happy watching reruns and Warren Williams' films. Too bad Robert Downey Jr can't play Mason as was planned. That might have been interesting.

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