Former Rep. Stephen Fincher to begin statewide listening tour as he weighs U.S. Senate run

Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tennessee, says he's beginning a statewide listening tour of Tennessee on Monday that will take him from Mountain City to Memphis in a move toward a possible run for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Republican Bob Corker. The weeklong trip by the former West Tennessee congressman from Frog Jump comes after U.S Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, announced her U.S. Senate candidacy on Thursday, leading some observers to wonder whether her entry might stop other Republicans from entering.  More: Sen. Bob Corker will not seek re-election next year Fincher's statewide tour — which will move from the east part of the state to his home-turf in the west — is a sign that the GOP field for next year's Tennessee U.S. Senate race in might not be settled.“I don’t really identify myself as a former congressman. I’m a farmer, a small businessman, and a part of a gospel singing ministry started by my grandmother over sixty years ago," Fincher said in a statement. "We need leaders who truly care about the people they represent, and caring starts with listening, so that’s what I’m doing for the next week." More: Does Marsha Blackburn's entry into the Senate race clear the GOP field? Fincher, who served six years from 2010 to 2016 representing Tennessee's 8th Congressional District, said he plans to travel to multiple counties a day to meet with Tennesseans. He said he will make a decision on entering the race within the new few weeks. He had initially said he hoped to have a decision by Sept. 29. Fincher's federal campaign committee currently has a balance of $2.3 million, which would give him a sizable warchest to launch a Senate run. Blackburn's federal political action committee had $3.1 million on hand.   More: Former Congressman Stephen Fincher mulling bid to replace Senator Corker, Continue Reading

U.S. Rep. Fincher not seeking re-election

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher will not run for re-election this fall, he announced on Monday.“I have decided not to seek re-election to the 8th Congressional District seat this year," Fincher, R-Frog Jump, said in a written statement. “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the people of West Tennessee, but I never intended to become a career politician. The last six years have been the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am honored to have been given the chance to serve. I will be returning to Frog Jump and my family and business."Fincher, 43, is a gospel singer from Crockett County and grew up on his family's farm. He is regarded as a stout conservative. He represents Tennessee's 8th District, which includes much of West Tennessee, including Madison County and portions of Shelby County. Fincher is finishing his third term in the House, and won his 2014 re-election bid with over 70 percent of the vote.Fincher had been a leader in the congressional effort to revive the Export-Import Bank in 2015 despite opposition from top GOP leaders and its tea party wing. The bank allowed the companies to borrow money from the federal government for equipment orders from overseas. In helping the Export-Import Bank renew its charter, Fincher took on GOP leaders such as Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, though then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered quiet encouragement.Fincher is a member of the 2010 GOP class that stormed Washington, taking back control of Congress just two years after President Barack Obama was elected.Fincher's district is considered a safe seat for Republicans in November's elections. Obama lost the district's vote in both his 2008 and 2012 races by 2-1 margins.Fincher took over the seat after longtime Democratic Rep. John Tanner retired.According to USA TODAY, Fincher's fundraising reports don't tell of a Continue Reading

Rep. Fincher won’t seek re-election; Kelsey to run

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., announced Monday he would not seek re-election.Hours after Fincher's announcement, state Sen. Brian Kelsey confirmed he will enter the race.Jessica Carter, Fincher's chief of staff, sent a prepared statement from Fincher Monday afternoon.“I have decided not to seek re-election to the 8th Congressional District seat this year," Fincher said in the statement. “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the people of West Tennessee, but I never intended to become a career politician. The last six years have been the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am honored to have been given the chance to serve.The Memphis Commercial Appeal first reported Fincher's decision. The 42-year-old native of Frog Jump, a small community in West Tennessee's Crockett County, didn't provide a specific reason in his statement as to why he won't run again.Fincher was first elected in 2010, a wave election that saw districts across the country send Republicans to Congress.Kelsey, R-Germantown, tweeted Monday afternoon that he was entering the race.In a brief statement sent Monday afternoon, Kelsey described why he wanted to run for a seat in the U.S. House."Yes, I am running for Congress. I want to shake things up in Washington the way I shook things up to get results in Nashville," Kelsey said in the emailed statement.Kelsey, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has served in the state Senate since 2009. He served in the state House of Representatives from 2004 to 2009.The Jackson Sun is also reporting perennial candidate George Flinn and former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff will enter the race.Most recently, Fincher's been a leader in the congressional effort to revive the Export-Import Bank. Supporters argue the bank provides necessary loans and loan guarantees to help foreign customers buy U.S. goods and services, USA TODAY reported in October.Opponents, chiefly Republicans, say the bank provides Continue Reading

David Fincher exits as director of ‘Cleopatra,’ starring Angelina Jolie: report

The curse of Cleopatra continues. "The Social Network" director David Fincher is no longer attached to the Angelina Jolie vehicle about the legendary Egyptian queen, Vulture reported. Since producer Scott Rudin broke the news in June 2010 that he was developing a movie adaptation of Stacy Schiff's biography, "Cleopatra: A Life," Fincher is the latest in a line of high-profile directing royalty — including James Cameron and Paul Greengrass — to circled the project but ultimately drop out. In an interview with MTV News last December, Fincher extolled the Sony project: "That's something I would love to do with Angie," he said. "It's something that was brought to me that you have to take seriously. "What is it about this character that has purchased this place in our history and imagination that is relatable today?" Just how relatable the character is may be a matter of debate. The infamous 1963 "Cleopatra" is a history lesson for Hollywood for all the wrong reasons. At the time its $44 million budget was an all-time record for Hollywood, all but ensuring that 20th Century Fox wouldn't come close to breaking even, and is best remembered for the steamy off-screen romance between stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. David Fincher has apparently left 'Cleopatra,' despite his previous excitement over the project. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images) Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

David Fincher’s ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ takes  a cold approach to adapting Stieg Larsson’s novel

There’s an inkling of David Fincher’s past in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Like “Seven” and “Zodiac,” this eagerly anticipated thriller involves a serial killer, an investigation and unsavory goings-on. Cut the seediness and Nordic ennui, though, and this cold-case mystery based on the late Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller is a common pop-cult commodity. Fincher does do something unexpected with his version of the story (an earlier version was filmed several years ago in Larsson’s native Sweden), and it’s shocking: He gives in to its mimicry of an Agatha Christie parlor game. Only instead of Miss Marple, the old-gal crime-solver with piercing blue eyes, we get Lisbeth Salander, pierced goth-girl investigator with raccoon eyes. Yet if the reptilian Lisbeth weren’t played by Rooney Mara in a performance that both repels and attracts, Fincher's film, with its chilly esthetics, would seem as calculated as a Michael Crichton thriller of the ’90s. But Mara keeps us entranced even when we want to look away. Lisbeth, as millions of readers know, is the troubled victim-avenger hired by a security firm to research Mikael Blomkvist (a taut Daniel Craig), a crusading journalist investigating a decades-old murder. Elderly Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) claims he’s being taunted by the killer of his beloved niece Harriet, whose disappearance in the 1960s, Vanger believes, is linked to one of his family members (which include Stellan Skarsgard as the oiliest one). Blomkvist calls Lisbeth, an expert hacker, for help. The duo chip away at old photographs and dusty letters to discover a serial murderer who may still be on the Vanger's hard-to-reach island — and may still be busy with female victims. The build-up to their snooping and sexual partnership is excruciating, for several reasons: Along the way, there’s horrific abuse and rape, a dull backstory Continue Reading

DGA Award nominations: Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and David Fincher among those honored

LOS ANGELES — “Hugo” filmmaker Martin Scorsese and “Midnight in Paris” creator Woody Allen were among nominees Monday for top filmmaking honors from the Directors Guild of America. Also nominated for the 64th annual Directors Guild honors were David Fincher for the thriller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”; Michel Hazanavicius for the silent film “The Artist”; and Alexander Payne for the family drama “The Descendants.” The only first-time contender among the nominees, French filmmaker Hazanavicius could emerge as a front-runner for “The Artist,” his black-and-white throwback to early Hollywood that has been a favorite at earlier Hollywood honors. Scorsese now has nine Directors Guild nominations and is a past feature-film winner for 2006’s “The Departed,” as well as a TV drama winner a year ago for an episode of “Boardwalk Empire.” The family film “Hugo” was a departure for Scorsese, known for dark crime tales, and the movie also was his first shot in 3-D. Allen has been nominated five times and won for 1977’s “Annie Hall.” He had not been nominated since his 1989 “Crimes and Misdemeanors” but has been on a critical and commercial resurgence for the romantic fantasy “Midnight in Paris,” his biggest hit in decades. This was the third nomination for Fincher, who also was in the running a year ago for “The Social Network.” Payne was nominated one time previously, for 2004’s “Sideways.” Missing out on a nomination was three-time Directors Guild winner Steven Spielberg for “War Horse.” Also left out was Terrence Malick for “The Tree of Life,” an epic family drama that won top honors at the Cannes Film Festival but was a love-it-or-hate-it title among critics and fans. The Directors Guild field is one of Hollywood’s most accurate Continue Reading

Oscars 2011 predictions: ‘King’s Speech’ for best picture; David Fincher may win best director

The Best Director field for this Sunday's 83rd annual Academy Awards has got grit (the Coen brothers for "True Grit"), muscle (David O. Russell for "The Fighter") and elegant genre twists (Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan"). But David Fincher's ability to turn the cerebral connections of "The Social Network" into a visual map of friends, enemies and loneliness will bring him the Oscar.Tom Hooper coaxed "The King's Speech" to a success story, but Fincher — who's morphed from video director to enfant terrible to provocateur to supreme visual craftsman — has become shorthand in Hollywood for 21st-century genius.However ... a classical style will rule the "Best Picture" day. Of the films mentioned above — plus "127 Hours," "Winter's Bone," "The Kids Are All Right," "Inception" and "Toy Story 3" — it's notable how "The King's Speech" hits several Academy cylinders at once: Anglophiles, royal-watchers, buddy-film fans and underdog enthusiasts all fit in that film's court. Add the not-insignificant fact that it is ultimately about a kind of showmanship — which all of Hollywood can connect with — and you have a regal mix. "The Social Network" has overcome a lot to get to this point, but unless a voting glitch reboots things, bet a crown on King George VI. Joe NeumaierWith 10 competitors, you'd think we'd have a tighter race for Best Picture. But most candidates will have to find solace elsewhere. "Toy Story 3" can revel in its Animated Feature trophy, "True Grit" is likely to grab a Cinematography award, "Inception" should snare a Visual Effects acknowledgment, and "The Fighter" will represent with a Supporting Actor and/or Supporting Actress win. "Black Swan's" best chance lies with Natalie Portman, who is probably preparing her Best Actress speech right now.As for "The Kids Are All Right," either Annette Bening will dash Portman's dreams or her film will finish an also-ran.  That's not to say indies can't rule the day — "The Continue Reading

David Fincher in talks with Columbia Pictures to direct film about Facebook

Columbia Pictures is "in advanced talks" with director David Fincher to spearhead a film about the origins of Facebook, according to Variety. The film, provisionally titled "The Social Network," will detail the rise of Facebook from its creation in 2004 by then-Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg, to the ubiquitous social networking site that it is today. The script, written by "The West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin, is based on Ben Mezrich’s upcoming book, "The Accidental Billionaires," set to be released later this summer. The project is being produced by Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and actor Kevin Spacey, according to Variety. Fincher’s previous directorial work includes "Panic Room," "Fight Club," "Zodiac," and most recently "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." While the project is still in preliminary stages of development, early casting searches are reportedly already underway, according to CNET News. Michael Cera of "Superbad" fame, and Shia LaBeouf from "Transformers" are atop a list of young actors being considered to play the role of Zuckerberg, an industry source told CNET News. Meanwhile, rumors circulating about the plot of Mezrich’s upcoming book suggest that Zuckerberg will be portrayed in a negative light, something that clearly has the Facebook empire ill at ease. Officials from the social networking giant have refused to comment publicly about the book, and have warned employees not to speak to anyone connected to the film’s development, as reported by CNET News. The movie is set to begin production later this year, according to Variety. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Justin Timberlake to star in Facebook movie directed by David Fincher

LOS ANGELES - Pop star Justin Timberlake has landed a role in an upcoming movie about the meteoric rise of social networking Web site Facebook, it was reported Wednesday.Timberlake, 28, will play Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker in the film, titled "The Social Network," which is to be directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Fincher, according to Variety.Timberlake’s movie career has included a voice role in the "Shrek" animated blockbusters as well as "The Open Road" and "Alpha Dog."Jesse Eisenberg, whose films include "Adventureland" and "The Hunting Party," is slated to play Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Variety reported.Variety said the Facebook movie would focus on the evolution of the Web site from its creation in 2004 by student Zuckerberg into a global phenomenon with more than 200 million members. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Exclusive: Former Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher enters Tennessee U.S. Senate race

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher is entering next year’s U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, a move that pits him against one of his former GOP congressional colleagues in the election to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker.Fincher, a seventh-generation cotton farmer from tiny Frog Jump in West Tennessee — who bypassed college to continue the family business — announced his bid in an interview with the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee.Fincher, who represented Tennessee's 8th Congressional District from 2011 to 2017, cast himself as a “citizen legislator” — not a “career politician” — who sings in a family gospel group each weekend and understands everyday Tennesseans. ► More: Sen. Bob Corker will not seek re-election next year ► More: U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn launches Senate bid He said he’s running to help push President Donald Trump’s agenda and shake up a “do-nothing Congress.”“We’re going to get in this race, and we’re going to get in it to win it, and go up there and try to get something done,” the 44-year-old Fincher said. “Let’s stand up with the president on his policies.“From what people are telling us, they’re just tired of the status quo career politician, and it’s time we — to take an old saying from the farm — plow and turn over Congress and put some new growth up there. I think that’s what people want, so that’s what we’re going to try to do.” Fincher looks to exploit opioid issue against BlackburnAlso seeking the GOP nomination in the 2018 U.S. Senate election are U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, whom Fincher served alongside in Congress, and conservative activist Andy Ogles, former head of the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee. Perennial candidate Larry Crim is also running.On the Democratic side, former Continue Reading