Directing a “plum assignment” like a “Star Wars” film was simply too much for David Fincher. The “Seven” director said on the Empire Film Podcast that he did, at one point, talk to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy about the possibility of directing a film in the “Star Wars” saga but ultimately decided to pass.
“I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: Being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, ‘Alderaan? What the hell is this? Where everyone’s making fun,'” Fincher said. “But I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level. One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure.”
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Fincher went on to add the “The Empire Strikes Back” director Irvin Kershner was best positioned to direct the installment that went on to become a classic in the saga.
“I think [‘The Empire Strikes Back’ director Irvin Kershner] had the best job. He had a pretty great script and he had the middle story. He didn’t have to worry about where it started and he didn’t have to worry about where it ended. And he had the great reveal.”
Ultimately, it was the time committed to directing a “Star Wars” film that Fincher couldn’t get his head around. “You’d have to really clear your head, I think. You’d have to really be sure this is what you wanted to do because, either way, it’s two years of your life, 14 hours a day, seven days a week.”