On paper, David Fincher’s Mank is a movie about the making of Orson Welles’ 1941 classic, Citizen Kane. But, in reality, it’s much more than that – as our five-star review (opens in new tab) indicates.
It tells the story of Herman J. Mankiewicz: the ‘Mank’ of the title. A self-sabotaging screenwriter, he’s a genius wit and knows the industry inside out, but his heavy drinking and reckless gambling scupper his chances to get ahead. An opportunity comes calling when Welles offers him the opportunity to collaborate on a screenplay with the working title, American…
The movie – which is a 30-years-in-the-making passion project for Fight Club and The Social Network director Fincher – stars Oscar-winner Gary Oldman as Mank. You can take an exclusive look at Oldman in the film below, courtesy of our sister publication Total Film magazine (opens in new tab). Plus, a new look at Oldman behind the scenes shooting an old-school driving scene, and hanging about between takes with Fincher.
Even with a heavyweight like Fincher behind it, it’s hard to imagine a film like Mank getting made anywhere else than Netflix. A period film, shot in black-and-white, looking and sounding like it could’ve come from the ’30s: a textbook Hard Sell.
“Unless you’re making a tentpole movie that has a Happy Meal component to it, no one’s interested,” says Fincher, who was trying to drum up interest from studios as far back as 1997, as soon as his writer father Jack Fincher (a journalist and author) had finished the script.
Jack Fincher’s screenplay had been gathering dust for over two decades (Jack died in 2003), before an opportunity presented itself. David Fincher has a long-standing relationship with Netflix, having worked with the streaming giant on House of Cards, Love, Death & Robots and Mindhunter. When Fincher found himself in the position of not having the headspace for a third season of the latter, Netflix execs Cindy Holland and Ted Sarandos asked him what he wanted to do.
“I said, ‘I might want to make a movie,’” recalls Fincher, talking to Total Film (opens in new tab) for their latest cover feature. “‘I have this movie on the shelf that I’ve always wanted to make, but it might be too weird and inside baseball.’ So I sent it to them, and they were like, ‘We would make this movie.’
‘In mono and black-and-white?’
And I said, ‘OK!’”
Netflix’s offer came with a caveat, explains Fincher. “We were very lucky to have really, really incredible support from Netflix, with them saying, ‘Look, this is obviously not a four-quadrant movie. Just make sure it’s good.’”
Mank launches on Netflix on December 4. For much more from Fincher and his collaborators, pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film magazine (opens in new tab) when it hits shelves real and digital this Friday, November 13. Check out the new covers of Total Film below: the one on the right is on its way to subscribers right now:
You've read the five-star reviews, now get the inside story on Mank!Our exclusive look at David Fincher's movie headlines the new issue of Total Film. On newsstands this Friday – subscribers, your copy's in the post now! #Mank https://t.co/4SoYHC7erd pic.twitter.com/IqbL5pccwdNovember 9, 2020
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