It’s official: Se7en is being remastered in 4k by none other than David Fincher himself.
During a talk at the Tribeca Film Festival reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Fincher confirmed the long-suspected 4K remaster of Se7en is underway, but he’s “fundamentally against changing what the idea of the film is".
“You can fix, you know, three percent, five percent,” he explained. “If something’s egregious, it needs to be addressed. But, you know, I’m not gonna take all the guns out of people’s hands and replace them with flashlights.”
Famously, Steven Spielberg’s 4K E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial remaster for the film’s anniversary replaced police handguns with walkie-talkies. However, in recent years, Spielberg has admitted that he regrets the change.
“That was a mistake,” Spielberg said at the Time 100 summit earlier this year. “I never should have done that. E.T. is a product of its era. No film should be revised based on the lenses we now are, either voluntarily, or being forced to peer through.… I should have never messed with the archives of my own work, and I don’t recommend anyone do that.”
Thankfully, Fincher is taking a more subtle approach when it comes to Se7en. “We’re going back and doing it in 4K from the original negative and we overscan it, oversample it, doing all of the due diligence and there’s a lot of shit that needs to be fixed,” he explained.
“Because there’s a lot of stuff that we now can add because of high dynamic range. You know, streaming media is a very different thing than 35 mm motion picture negative in terms of what it can actually retain. So, there are, you know, a lot of blown-out windows that we have to kind of go back and ghost in a little bit of cityscape out there.”
One of Fincher’s pet peeves when it comes to the 4K version of Se7en is the amount of detail you can now see in the background. Although he admits the issues are largely unnoticeable, he added: “on a 100-inch screen, you’ll look at it and go, ‘What the f**k, they only had money for white cardboard out there?’ So, that’s the kind of stuff on print stock, it just gets blown out of being there. And now you’re looking at it, going ‘I can see, you know, 500 nits of what the fuck'.”
Director Steven Soderbergh was also at the event and offered a swift defense of his filmmaking friend. “David sees things that not a lot of people see,” he said. He went on to reveal how he had once watched Fincher working on a film.
“David’s got a laser pointer and it’s frozen on the shot and [he’s] like, ‘I want that part of the wall a quarter of a stock darker,' ” he recalled. “I walked out and laid down on a couch in the lobby because of what torture it is to see that.”
Let’s just hope that despite cleaning up the shots, Fincher manages to retain the grime and grittiness that made Se7en so great. Although the Se7en 4K remaster is on its way, there’s currently no release date set.
Want to read more about Se7en? Check out our list of the 12 best thrillers of all time and find out how Se7en influenced the making of Captain America: Civil War.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.