Spoiler alert: if you haven’t yet picked up Gillian Flynn’s best-selling thriller Gone Girl, you might want to flip to the next page. The novel, which tells the story of a romance turned sour, is now set for the big screen with Reece Witherspoon on board as the producer. Flynn, a 41-year-old mother of one, reveals all.
The ending of Gone Girl has been very polarising; it’s also not a Hollywood resolution. Has anyone suggested tweaking it for the film?
So far, that’s not in the plans. It’s a long road until we get there. I didn’t know how it was going to end. But I did like the idea of this strange symbiosis that these two people had created because they are both addicted to the gamesmanship of their marriage and also because they did complete each other, even if it was in an incredibly toxic way. [Laughs]
You hadn’t been married long yourself when you first thought about Gone Girl’s Amy and Nick.
Yeah, that’s true. We may have just been engaged.
It seems like a very sober look at marriage from someone new to the institution.
[Laughs] At the time, I didn’t think about how absolutely unromantic a vision I was writing. I think it was because I wasn’t someone who had necessarily always thought that I’d end up married. So I thought about it a lot. It was like, I’m getting married – what does this mean? It was a very writerly, navel-gazing thing. I’d spent a lot of time with my previous two books thinking about people who were tormented in this aloneness, and I was eager to look at what it meant when you join yourself to someone for life.
The acknowledgments are very gushing toward your husband. Do you feel you have to make clear he is not Nick?
[Laughs] I was incredibly grateful that I had a husband who got it, that he was very confident in our marriage. If I had a spouse I had to reassure, the book wouldn’t have been written. I would have doubted myself and stopped writing it.
You’ve said you want to counter the woman-as-victim motif of thrillers; you want to write about the violence of women.
Women are just as violently minded as men are, but with men it’s taken for granted. It’s something to get out of the system or something to be put up with or dealt with, whereas with women, it’s still considered a very surprising thing. And that’s because of this constantly enraging notion that women are supposed to be natural nurturers, we’re naturally good.
Are you fascinated with murder?
Yes, I always have been. I had a normal, middle-class childhood, so I felt safe to roam over there. I write about dark things that happen in a domestic setting because that, to me, is much scarier than the unknown. When I was little, I liked scary movies. My dad was a film professor, so he would take me to wildly inappropriate movies. [Laughs] I was obsessed with Psycho.
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