Director David Fincher has found his next film project and this is one he’s been trying to get made since the late 90s after he made The Game. The film will star Gary Oldman and it will tell the story of Herman Mankiewicz, the newspaper man-turned-screenwriter who is best known for collaborating with Orson Welles on the classic film Citizen Kane.
The film will be called Mank, which was the nickname for Mankiewicz, and it’s being produced by Netflix. Oldman will be taking on the role of the screenwriter who is said to have had an “outsized influence in the Golden Age of Hollywood.”
The script for the film was written by Jack Fincher, David’s dad. He was also a newspaper man, and the filmmaker will shoot the film in black and white so that it has that classic Hollywood vibe. Here are some details on Mankiewicz and this story thanks to THR:
Mankiewicz was a reporter and a critic in the 1920s as well as a member of New York City’s famed literary club, the Algonquin Round Table. By the late 1920s, however, he was recruited by Paramount to come to Hollywood and work in the movie business that was transitioning to talkies. He even talked fellow journalists into joining the screenwriting ranks, famously writing to Ben Hecht, “Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots.”
Mankiewicz worked on numerous now-classic films such as Wizard of Oz, Pride of the Yankees and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes but it was Kane that caused controversy that dogged him until his death. Both Mankiewicz and Welles worked on the script but Mankiewicz accused the filmmaker of trying to push him out of the limelight, even saying Welles offered to pay him off in exchange for sole credit.
Mankiewicz’s supporters (which were many, as the prickly Welles alienated as much as he attracted) cheered and chanted “Mank, Mank, Mank” when Kane won the Oscar for best original screenplay, with both receiving the trophy (even as neither of them attended the ceremony).
This will be Fincher’s first movie since 2014’s Gone Girl. I’m a huge fan of Fincher and his film work, so I’m happy to see him jump on board a new project after World War Z 2 ended up being cancelled. Mank will be a great project for him to work on and I’m looking forward to seeing how this story plays out.
While we wait for the film, enjoy this Drunk History version of the story!