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1-Page Film School

David Fincher – PANIC ROOM 1-Page Film School

On 04, Oct 2014 | 2 Comments | In 1-Page Film School, David Fincher, Production | By vashi

With the release of GONE GIRL this weekend, many filmmakers and film fans want to learn more about David Fincher and his filmmaking style. His precision, artistry and impeccable style of storytelling is the result of decades of fine-tuning the filmmaking craft. He started his career at Industrial LIght and Magic (ILM) in 1983 and worked on Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Enjoy my 1-Page Film School on PANIC ROOM.

Title image from PANIC ROOM

The floating title sequence of PANIC ROOM (2002)

(NOTE: for educational purposes only)

PANIC ROOM was released in 2002. Following Se7en and Fight Club, Fincher chose this one location thriller to tackle as his next project. Some quick facts:

– Jodie Foster replaced Nicole Kidman after 18 days of shooting.
– A young Kristen Stewart replaced Hayden Panetierre as the daughter.
– The principal photography lasted 145 days.
– The 4-storey brownstone set was built in 15 weeks at a cost of $6 million.
– The film was shot in chronological order with the exception of 2 scenes.
– Howard Shore wrote the score after completing The Lord of the Rings (2001).
– DP Darius Khondji left the film after 6 weeks. Conrad W. Hall replaced him.
– David Koepp was paid $4 million for the screenplay.
– The opening credit sequence took one year to complete.

Seems like a tumultuous turn of events were needed to complete the film.
It stands as a tense, stylistic thriller that is razor tight and meticulously made.


Here’s the 60-minute documentary “Shooting Panic Room” where you can watch Fincher and his team in action. (5 videos)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5



To delve deeper into the production and all aspects of the film…you can listen to the commentary by David Fincher.






David Koepp spec script that sold for $4 million.


You can read David Koepp’s screenplay for PANIC ROOM here.



One last nugget is the title sequence from PANIC ROOM courtesy of the amazing website Art of the Title.

panic room title sequence

PANIC ROOM title sequence via




The Dark Cinematography of David Fincher


Until next time…


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  1. Incredibly interesting info, as always Vashi! Many thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing. David Fincher is really one of the best directors of our time.
    Just found this video the other day
    Which sums it up extremly good.

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