“I’m going to be lazy or bored”: Luca Guadagnino’s Method to Shoot Zendaya’s Challengers is Completely Different From David Flincher’s Grueling Gone Girl Process

Luca Guadagnino chose a more relaxed shooting style for Zendaya's Challengers, a method that David Fincher would likely not endorse.

"I’m going to be lazy or bored": Luca Guadagnino's Method to Shoot Zendaya's Challengers is Completely Different From David Flincher's Grueling Gone Girl Process

SUMMARY

  • Luca Guadagnino subtly criticized directors who push actors to their extreme limits, taking up to 90 takes per scene in pursuit of perfection.
  • Instead, Guadagnino director prefers to capture the perfect moment in just one or two takes before moving on to the next scene.
  • He believes that although they are in the business of making films, it's the reality they must uphold, and the pursuit of perfection often ruins that perception.
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Luca Guadagnino, director of Challengers, took a less intense approach to shooting the new Zendaya movie, a method that David Fincher or Stanley Kubrick might not have approved of. Fincher, renowned for his exhaustive number of takes per scene, received a subtle jab when Guadagnino expressed his disdain for such a method, deeming it torture for the actors.

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A still from Challengers
A still from Challengers

How Luca Guadagnino Shot Zendaya’s Challengers

The highly anticipated Zendaya movie, Challengers, has finally hit the screens and is surely the talk of the town. Ever since its teaser was released, audiences have eagerly anticipated seeing Zendaya in this new avatar.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, director Luca Guadagnino shared insights into his filmmaking process for the movie. He said,

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“I hate pushing,-If it’s great, why do you have to torture people?–It’s exciting when you observe performance,–I will quit the moment in which I know that I’m going to be lazy or bored or I don’t have this energy of seeing performance happening — which, by the way, doesn’t need to take 90 takes. I think this movie is an average of one or two.”

Luca Guadagnino on the set of Bones and All
Luca Guadagnino on the set of Bones and All (Credit MGM Studios)

That’s when he subtly criticized directors who push actors to their extreme limits, taking up to 90 takes per scene in pursuit of perfection. Instead, this director prefers to capture the perfect moment in just one or two takes before moving on to the next scene.

He trusts the actors to interpret the scene in a way that feels right for their character, enjoying the magic as it unfolds naturally in front of the camera. He then went on to elaborate stating,

“Sometimes when I talk to my production designer and they show me something, I say, That’s something that belongs to ‘cinema,’; we shouldn’t do that. We should do something that belongs to the reality we’re describing,–The lead aspect of cinema must be performance, it must be character. If you put your imagery in front of the performers, then the movie becomes kind of stilted and a bit rigid.”

He believes that although they are in the business of making films, it’s the reality they must uphold, and the pursuit of perfection often ruins that perception. He believes there should always be something raw about each take that grounds them and connects them with the audience.

David Fincher’s Intense Approach to Shooting Movies

However, unfortunately, not every director shares this perspective. Many opt for multiple takes per scene, aiming to select the one that they believe best suits the film. One notable example is David Fincher, renowned for shooting as many as 99 takes for a single scene.

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This was evident during the filming of The Social Network, where Rooney Mara had to redo a scene an astounding 99 times. Similarly, on the set of Fincher’s later film Gone Girl, each scene averaged around 50 takes.

Fincher once revealed to the New York Times why he does so, as he stated,

“I hate earnestness in performance,–Usually by Take 17 the earnestness is gone.”

Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

While shooting each scene 50 times may seem excessive, it undeniably contributed to the film’s polished finish. As Jake Gyllenhaal once in 2007 told The New York Times,

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“David knows what he wants, and he’s very clear about what he wants, and he’s very, very, very smart,–But sometimes we’d do a lot of takes, and he’d turn, and he would say, because he had a computer there, ‘Delete the last ten takes.’ And as an actor that’s very hard to hear.”

One drawback of this method is that the extended shooting days and increased expenses can often outweigh the benefits of achieving a perfect result in the end. It may indeed feel like torture for the actors. However, there’s no denying Fincher’s ability to deliver cinematic masterpieces celebrated by everyone, setting records that seem unbreakable.

Challengers is now playing in theaters.

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Written by Sampurna Banerjee

Articles Published: 948

Sampurna Banerjee, an ardent enthusiast of pop culture and movies, pours her passion into her role as a writer for FandomWire. With a penchant for Marvel, DC, and sitcoms, she has contributed over 400 articles, staying up-to-date to the entertainment industry's latest buzz. Moreover, she's penned over 300 articles for Animated Times and shared her work across several Instagram pages. Currently she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Calcutta University.