Neil Patrick Harris Makes Us Squirm in Gone Girl
By Alex Panisch
In the last couple of years, Neil Patrick Harris has demonstrated his considerable range to the viewing public. He’s not just Doogie Howser, M.D., or Barney Stinson, the lovable ladies man. He’s a Broadway song-and-dance man at the Tony’s, an East German transwoman in Hedwig, a gun-toting lady stealer in A Million Ways to Die in the West and now, in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller Gone Girl, an unsettling mystery man who creeps into Nick Dunne's (Ben Affleck) life after his wife disappears.
The role and filming experience is definitely different from his nine years on How I Met Your Mother. Because of Fincher's intense precision, shooting was a lot more structured than anything else Harris has done.
"We had to rehearse the sex scene with David, like every inch of it — ‘Then you put your mouth on his dick here, and then this number of thrusts, and then you ejaculate,’ ” recalls Harris in the April cover story. “It was weird because we’re technically breaking down the sex scene. He wanted it to be almost robotic, that we know exactly where we are, position-wise, where everything goes. And yet, through all of that, the whole ‘I’m gay’ element was never even thought about.”
Oof, a far cry from Barney indeed. It's hard to believe that we’re watching a Harris so bereft of charm, warmth, and mirth on screen.