Michael Fassbender stars as a troubled assassin in the upcoming thriller, which is based on the French graphic novel by Alexis Nolent. It was adapted by screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, who previously worked with Fincher on Seven.
While the film’s score is composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Fincher explained at the Venice Film Festival how The Smiths also came to feature heavily on the soundtrack.
“The Smiths were a post-production addition because I knew I wanted to use ‘How Soon Is Now?’ and I love the idea of that song specifically as a tool for assuaging his anxiety,” Fincher said (via IndieWire). “I liked it as a meditation tape, I thought it was amusing and funny.”
He added: “I don’t think that there’s a library of music by recording artists that have as much sardonic nature and wit simultaneously [as The Smiths], and we don’t get an awful lot of access to who this guy is. I thought through this mixtape it would be amusing, that that would be our window into him.”
Fincher previously collaborated with Reznor and Ross on the soundtracks for The Social Network, 2011’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl and Mank.
The Killer marks Fassbender’s first role since 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix, after the actor took up auto racing in 2017. He’s also set to star in Taika Waititi’s upcoming film Next Goal Wins later this year.
Fincher, however, doesn’t see this as a “comeback” for Fassbender. “As far as I’m concerned he hasn’t been around much because he has a whole other career,” the director added. “We had to slot this movie into his driving. We felt lucky to get him, we wanted him, and had we not been able to fit into his window between racing seasons, we probably wouldn’t have made the movie.”
The Killer is set for release in select cinemas on October 28, before it arrives on Netflix from November 10.