Per Rolling Stone, David Fincher first became interested in the comics in 2007 — the same year he brought “Zodiac” to the big screen. The rights were quickly scooped up and a draft manifested, but work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” got in the way of development.
In 2015, fresh off the heels of the Oscar-nominated “Gone Girl,” comic writer Alexis Nolent followed up with Fincher, curious to know if the director would want to revisit the idea of an adaptation. Fincher obliged, asking Nolent to cook up a draft. “I asked him to do a pass at it, partially because I wanted to understand what he was going for with the graphic novels,” Fincher told Rolling Stone. Afterward, Nolent’s version of the script went to Andrew Walker, Fincher’s “Seven” writer. Walker wasn’t interested in that version and wanted to dig deeper into the comics and some of his own personal interests. “So I went back to the comics, I read Camus’ ‘The Stranger,’ I looked at some research on Nietzsche from when I’d done a polish on ‘Fight Club,'” the screenwriter told the outlet.
While “The Killer” adaptation does take creative liberties from the source material, it still features a nihilistic monologue-heavy protagonist and extremely practical setpieces, which is probably why some think it’s a true crime story brought to life. While speaking at the Venice Film Festival (via Variety), Fincher discussed how he hopes the project terrifies its audience, saying “My hope is that someone will see this film and get very nervous about the person behind them in line at Home Depot.”