David Fincher’s ‘Chinatown’ Prequel Reportedly Back in Development at Netflix

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A prequel series to Roman Polanski’s 1974 mystery film ‘Chinatown’ is reportedly back in active development at Netflix. The limited series revolves around a young J. J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson’s protagonist in the original film) as he “plies his business in a town where the wealthy and corruption involve areas like land, oil, and gangs.” David Fincher, along with Josh Donen, is teaming up with Robert Towne, the Academy Award-winning writer who penned the 1974 film, to executive produce the series. Towne also wrote the prequel. It is unconfirmed whether Fincher is involved in the writing of the show despite reportedly closing a deal to co-write the same back in 2019.

Netflix hasn’t yet revealed whether Fincher will direct the episodes of the prequel as well. “Robert Towne and I are trying to break a limited series that is sort of a prequel to ‘Chinatown’ — Jake Gittes’ time in Chinatown with Lou Escobar,” Fincher told Aaron Sorkin while discussing ‘Mank’ on Director’s Guild of America’s ‘The Director’s Cut.’ There aren’t any official updates concerning the cast of the series despite Henry Cavill being rumored to be in talks to join the same.

Fincher and Netflix are regular collaborators. The streaming giant’s partnership with the filmmaker started with ‘House of Cards,’ which was executive produced and co-directed by the director. He also executive produced and co-directed ‘Mindhunter,’ one of the most acclaimed shows released by the streaming platform, and the anthology series ‘Love, Death & Robots.’ Netflix co-produced and released the director’s ‘Mank’ as well. Fincher’s latest film ‘The Killer,’ starring Michael Fassbender, is scheduled to be released on Netflix on November 10, 2023, after its premiere at the 2023 Venice International Film Festival.

Towne won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for ‘Chinatown.’ He was also nominated for Academy Awards for writing ‘The Last Detail,’ Warren Beatty-starrer ‘Shampoo,’ and ‘Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan.’ Towne wrote/co-wrote the first two ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, Tom Cruise-starrer ‘Days of Thunder,’ ‘Chinatown’ sequel ‘The Two Jakes,’ Sydney Pollack’s ‘The Yakuza,’ etc. as well. His credits as a writer-director include Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek-starrer ‘Ask the Dust,’ ‘Without Limits,’ Mel Gibson-starrer ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ and ‘Personal Best.’

Donen, a frequent collaborator of Fincher, executive produced ‘Voir,’ ‘Love, Death & Robots,’ ‘Mindhunter,’ and ‘House of Cards’ with the filmmaker. His other credits include Sharon Stone-starrer ‘The Quick and the Dead,’ ‘The Great White Hype,’ ‘Armored,’ etc.

Read More: ‘Chinatown’: A Masterclass in Filmmaking