"Zodiac" surprises Graysmith

"Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, began doing his own legwork on the case after it had dragged on for years. He wrote the best-selling nonfiction books, "Zodiac" and "Zodiac Unmasked," about the maddening story.
Meeting Graysmith in person during his publicity tour for the movie, I was struck by how right Gyllenhaal had gotten him. Friendly and talkative, Graysmith nevertheless had a touch of the genial obsessive about him. We talked about his theories on the killer and his relationship with tough director David ("Seven") Fincher. Graysmith watched the filming, but he hadn't seen the movie yet - he promised his best friend, David Toschi, he'd wait to see it with him. Toschi investigated the case for years for the San Francisco Police Department.

Question: How did you get along with David Fincher?
Graysmith: I'll tell you the absolute truth, I think David Fincher's about the brightest guy I ever met. He just simply has the kind of mind where he would make a great detective. I never thought I'd see a director who would sit down and discuss the ethical questions about "Dirty Harry" and the thirst for blood by the public and what this case really means. Things that don't even end up in the movie. ... He had Inspector (David) Toschi come by, and Toschi's my best friend, he lives very close to me near Golden Gate Park. I've heard people asking questions for 10, 15 years, and Fincher asked questions nobody ever thought of. ... The movie's done, and they're still calling me with questions.
The thing about Fincher is he loves the technical, but unlike a lot of people that came out of MTV and commercials, it isn't soulless. He always has a passion for the thing.

Question: Fincher has a reputation as a taskmaster.
Graysmith: He could be caustic, and yet he's always polite. He's very polite on the set - it's like, "Shut up! ... please."
He does multiple takes. I had a friend of mine who had a line in the movie: "Jack, there's a call for you on line four." Did it 37 times.

Question: It seems as though you would relate to that, since the movie portrays you as following out your own obsession.
Graysmith: That's me. I'm one of these guys, I simply get hooked on something and I go nonstop. I like getting to know everything and you just keep doing it, and eventually you get it. ... I've got this little flat, and as I gradually work on books, it's like "The Pit and the Pendulum." One entire wall is boxes to the ceiling on "Zodiac." One entire wall is another book, and now I'm working on another one. And at night it's like global warming, you can hear the books and the papers shifting.

Question: When you were on the set, was it strange to see yourself, and people you knew, portrayed by actors?

Graysmith: Mark Ruffalo actually came to San Francisco and stayed with Inspector Toschi for a long time. Came back, he was Toschi. He had the hair, the mannerisms. He just re-created the entire character. But Jake (Gyllenhaal), when he sat with me, he told me things I never even realized. Somehow he knew I was a Boy Scout - I guess they have it in the movie, but I never said a word. He captured the deferential thing. He's got the same clothes I wore, he uses the same drawing board that I had at the paper. And then I didn't really grasp the obsession thing until I saw what they were doing with it. You sorta don't realize it, you know, that you're doing it.

Question: Was there concern about making a big movie in which the whodunit doesn't have a definitive answer?
Graysmith: Fincher said he wasn't doing this like "JFK," trying to convince the audience (about the guilt of the prime suspect). He doesn't care about convincing the audience. [...]
But if somebody we never heard of straggles in at intermission in the movie and confesses and proves it, heck, I'll write a last chapter." Source: www.Heraldnet.com/stories

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