I'm going to be frank. If you haven't seen "Gone Girl," you have no business reading this article. Even if you've read the book, but haven't seen the movie, don't read this. Go see it. Then come back and read.
FINAL SPOILER WARNING
Since you've definitely seen "Gone Girl," I can imagine that you'd like to know the story behind that scene. You know, the one where, to escape from Desi (Neil Patrick Harris), Amy (Rosamund Pike) cuts his throat, mid-coitus, with a box cutter. That scene.
As gruesome as the scene was to watch unfold, on set it was a carefully planned and professionally executed (excuse the pun) by director David Fincher, the cast and crew.
"I remember thinking of brilliantly planned it was," Pike said when we spoke with her during the "Gone Girl" press day. "There were lots of moving parts. It involved a major reset of the set and the actors after every time we ran through it."
The crew shot just that scene for two full days, completely resetting the actors and the set after every take, and since Fincher is known for his love of multiple takes, that meant a lot of blood removal.
"It was like a military operation. The room, basically after every take, had to be completely reset," Pike said. "It was like one load of furniture went out, and another load of furniture came in. We went out and came back as recreated, pristine new people."
With that many technical — to borrow Pike's phrase — movie parts, the actors needed to be precise with their end of the equation. As Harris explained, it came down to small but deliberate choices.
"You're talking about lots of takes, and you're talking about lots of specificity with not only your emotions, but your movements and where your arms go, or how long something lasts," he said. "We were in it for a couple full days. You had to be focused and respectful."
By Harris' count, he took 37 showers while working to get the scene just right. That's also the number of showers you'll want to take after watching it.