Gone Girl: What’s Changed In The Film From The Book?

It’s the number one question that fans of ‘Gone Girl’ the book want to know about ‘Gone Girl’ the film: what’s changed between page and screen?

We asked the cast and writer to find out, watch the video above for their responses. Beware of minor plot spoilers.

Author Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay for the film, told Yahoo Movies two thirds of her 500-word novel had to be chopped for sake of brevity, but that the resulting 149-minute film remains true to the “tone and the spirit” of the book.

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“The choices I made [in adapting the book] are very respectful of the book, because I love the book,” the author says, perhaps unsurprisingly.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl

Early reports suggested that Flynn had drastically rewritten the final third of the story, but the author rejects that notion, as does the film’s leading man Ben Affleck, who both see the adjustments to the ending as a refinement rather than a sea change.

“There were things that were compressed and things that were altered particularly the ending,” explains the actor who plays Nick Dunne, “But there was a sense that - fundamentally - the ending had been changed, but I don’t think that’s the case.”

“But, you know, you’ve got a book that would be six hours if you were to adapt the whole thing, so you have to compress. Because it was Gillian, it’s all in keeping with the tone and nature of the book.”

Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn

Above: Author Gillian Flynn at the NYFF premiere of ‘Gone Girl’

One area of the book that seems to have had the most “compression” are the scenes that play out at a seedy motel, including one memorable set piece involving catfish rustling. Flynn was quite ruthless when it came to killing her darlings too, with the mother of Desi Collings, Amy’s mysterious ex played by Neil Patrick Harris, completely excised from the film, along with Tanner Bolt’s wife Betsy, and Amy’s former schoolfriend Hilary Handy.

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Another character that didn’t make the cut was Rebecca, an ambitious young vlogger that helps turn around the public perception of Nick Dunne with a drunken interview that goes viral. Other characters that loom larger in the book, but only play a small part in the film include Nick’s mistress Andie (Emily Ratakowski making her screen debut), Nick’s sick father, and Amy’s worried parents Marybeth and Rand Elliott.

Rosamund Pike, who plays the Amazing Amy, describes the paring down of the tome as a “deforestation”.

Gone Girl Book Cover
Gone Girl Book Cover

“The DNA of the book has been totally preserved. The character of the film, is 100% what people have read,” says Pike who has been earning rave reviews for her performance in the David Fincher adaptation.

“Basically, the fabric, the thing that drives the book, the sort of morally-corrupt unforgettable feeling that you get from reading the book, that’s in the movie.”

If there’s a cinematic equivalent of a page-turner, then David Fincher’s adaptation is certainly that. It clips along at breakneck pace, never outstaying its 149-minute runtime, and it even manages to throw in a few new surprises for the fans of the book too. So what’s changed from the book? Dare we suggest it got even better?

‘Gone Girl’ is in cinemas nationwide from 2 October.

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Image credit: 20th Century Fox/Phoenix