David Fincher’s upcoming feature “Mank” doesn’t just tell the story of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz attempting to finish the script for “Citizen Kane” in 1930s Hollywood, it lives and breathes as a film straight out of the 1930s itself. Producer Eric Roth said as much in June when he teased the film, saying, “It’s an incredible piece. He did a black-and-white ’30s movie. It looks like a ’30s movie and feels like one.” The 1930s essence of “Mank” is on full display in the official trailer, embedded below.
Netflix’s brief synopsis for “Mank” reads: “1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane for ‘Orson Welles.’”
Fincher’s return to moviemaking after 2014’s “Gone Girl” is headlined by Gary Oldman, recent Oscar winner for “Darkest Hour. “Mank” marks a rare opportunity for Oldman to appear natural on screen and not have to act through any extreme makeup or prosthetics. In an interview last month, Oldman revealed that part of the project terrified him.
“I thought, ‘Oh, fucking hell!’,” Oldman said, revealing some nerves he had over playing a real-life figure without help from hair and makeup. “I can’t remember the last time I did that. I’ve always got something! I was thinking, ‘I don’t know about that.’ I don’t look anything like Mank.”
Oldman continued, “There’s a similarity with [Tom Burke as] Welles and Amanda Seyfried kind of looks like [film star and Hearst’s lover] Marion Davies, and you’ve got this pale make-up on Charles Dance, so he resembles [William Randolph] Hearst. But I didn’t have anything I could anchor to. Then, once we started, I thought, ‘Yeah, Dave was right.’ No tricks. No nothing. Just: here it is. I’ve embraced it.”
The “Mank” supporting cast includes Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies, Charles Dance as William Randolph Hearst, Tom Pelphrey as Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and Lily Collins as Mank’s secretary Rita Alexander.
The film has already gotten at least one major rave courtesy of Aaron Sorkin, Fincher’s “Social Network” screenwriter and a fellow Oscar contender this year for Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Sorkin recently said that “Mank” is “so freaking good,” adding, “David has directed this movie just magnificently. It’s breathtaking even by David Fincher standards.”
“Mank” will begin streaming December 4 on Netflix following a limited theatrical release in November. Watch the official trailer for the Fincher-directed drama below.