David Fincher’s reign as the Shonda Rhimes of HBO might end even before it begins following news of budgetary troubles on his in-development series Utopia, one of Fincher’s two HBO series now reportedly in peril. Deadline reported that Utopia, Fincher’s adaptation of a British drama about a mysterious graphic novel that foretells cataclysmic events, may run aground due to disagreements about the show’s budget.
Fincher had begun solidifying a team of his most trusted collaborators to work on Utopia, including Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn (hired to write every episode, while Fincher directs them all) and Rooney Mara of Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fincher, who likes to be deeply involved at every stage of his projects, won’t make moves on his other HBO project, Videosynchrazy (a.k.a. Video Synchronicity), until Utopia is in motion. Videosynchrazy, a comedy about the golden age of music video production, is rumored to be the Fincher series with the greatest likelihood of making it to air.
News of Utopia’s woes broke as HBO was presenting its wares at the Television Critics Association’s Press Tour, and the network’s president of programming Michael Lombardo told reporters he was hoping to salvage the series. Lombardo said Videosynchrazy is also among the network’s priorities despite the two-month production halt, which was prompted by issues with the scripts for the third and fourth episodes.
“David’s attention at that point—he is someone who likes to be hands on, on everything—got diverted by another project [HBO’s Utopia],” Lombardo told THR. “[He’s] not good at letting us go ahead and do what we needed to do on Videosynchrazy while he was working on Utopia. I texted with him today, we’re going to turn our attention soon back to Videosynchrazy and figure out the path forward. But I fully expect we’re going to be able to finish that up.”