Netflix Film dropped images from David Fincher’s upcoming film (to be released in October), Mank. The cast is, as we can now confirm, Gary Oldman as Mank (Herman J. Mankiewicz), Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies, Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst, Lily Collins as Rita Alexander (Mank’s assistant), Arliss Howard as Louis B. Mayer.
Filmed in heartbreakingly beautiful black and white (winning cinematography and production design, maybe costumes walking in the door) by Erik Messerschmidt, with the rest of the Fincher crew on deck – music by the great Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, edited by the great Kirk Baxter, costumes by the great Trish Summerville. The script is written by Fincher’s late father Jack. And the man of the hour himself, the one the only David Fincher, one of the greatest American directors still working in the industry.
The Mank screenplay has been kicking around online and so many already know the basic story – it is about that time Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz collaborated on a screenplay that turned out to be Citizen Kane. Welles was just a wee lad of 24 but he had already taken the film industry by storm after his War of the Worlds hoax on radio. Welles was known then as a boy genius and for years he was the person who took sole credit for Citizen Kane.
There is an ongoing debate among cinephiles about who actually wrote Citizen Kane, considering Mankiewicz is the guy who actually hung out with Marion Davies and Hearst. Thus, only he could have really written in any way about the two of them. Most of the best films are, I think, collaborations of separate writers and directors who bring their wealth of experience and knowledge and talent to the work. A singular writer/director is a slightly limiting experience, with a few notable exceptions.
Thus, many writer/directors see Kane as the high water mark. Could they do what Orson Welles did? The truth is that Welles had help. Here are a few early images from Mank.